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As world travelers and photographers, Henderson Productions joined forces with our friends from Poggio Amorelli B&B to explore culinary France.  Master Chef contestant Angela Perkins contacted chefs in five distinct regions and asked us to design and document the trip.   We knew it would be a journey for our senses: to see, taste, smell and touch France.   Above all else, we aimed to enjoy the adventure.  We are delighted to report those goals were met and more.   Along the way many chefs gave us permission to include their recipes to help you recreate some of our experiences.  We invite you to appreciate the bounty of their gifts.           Bon Appetit et Bon Voyage.

Chef Pattin at the Best Baquette shop in Provence

L Atelier Du Boulanger went on to win the national title

We had arranged through friends to meet a couple in Frejus for a home cooking lesson and time together.    As we missed the market day in Frejus, we met them at a grocery store where seven of us with either carts or cameras haunted the aisles for a half hour gathering the essentials for the feast.    A zig zag drive through windy streets brought us to L’Atelier du Boulanger – the local bread maker who has recently received first prize for the best baguette in the whole region and state.    Chef Pattin was gracious and posed for pictures before getting back to work in the kitchen.   Next up is the national competition in Paris next month.   He showed us pics of him making bread in 1968 so I would guess he’s been doing it long enough to get it right!

Maryse and Philippe graciously opened their lovely home in the Frejus suburbs and we were joined by their friend and artist Saliha, originally from Tunisia and married to a Frenchman.   We met them at 10 at the grocery store and departed the house at 4 utterly delighted with their gracious hospitality.

More than Sun in the Kitchen

Must Check for Pits

Saliha showed us how to make a salty black olive tapenade.   She opted for canned/seeded black olives but insisted on picking through them all to pick out a few rare but processor blade-damaging stones.     Three cans of black olives, a small jar of capers and four 2-inch pieces of fresh anchovy were thrown into the processor and approx. a quarter cup of olive oil thrown in and voila – tapenade.   It was salty and rich and straight from the region.    Not my thing but I did try it and could appreciate the distinct accent it brought to the combined table.

We munched on breadsticks and tapenade and fresh garlic while sipping a local rose and talking about the world.    Pappionet.   To flit from place to place.   Like a butterfly – la papillion.  I can’t remember the reference, but it struck a chord as a great metaphor for our nomadic, travelling life.

The Provencial Table in Frejus

Dinner was completed with a local delicacy – la tarte Tropezianne.   A brioche (light cake) voluptuously packed with a whipped custard cream like Bridget Bardot who inspired the original concoction in 1956 and equally became as famous both in St. Tropez and the world.

Happy Friends in Frejus

Le Tarte Tropezienne

We learned a new phrase:  “stuf angante”  (phonetic spelling to remember how to pronounce it) meaning too heavy in the stomach!     Our hearts and stomachs are eternally grateful for the hospitality shown by friends of friends.

It’s a small world indeed.   Next week we share their recipes!