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.
After an hour checking out the different angles and clowning around, we grabbed a quick ham sandwich from the gift shop and back on to the shortest route to Aix-en-Provence and our home for the next three nights. The first thing we saw when we crossed the river Rhone on a giant suspension bridge was windmills – tons of them capturing the mistral winds and providing clean energy far and wide. We’ve seen many along our route including some very near aging nuclear power plants no doubt utilizing the same transfer and storage infrastructure rather than build new. Smart. The French have been ahead on clean energy options for almost half a century. Wish we could pay attention.
We had arrived in Provence – this land tucked between the alps and the Rhone, the last olive tree and the sea. We skirted Arles enticingly to our left knowing we would have to come back another time for a coffee at Van Gogh’s famous café and merged back into the highway for the last 70km expecting just one more hour before arrival. And then the autoroute de solei – the route to the sun – provided a Sunday afternoon traffic jam. Sigh.
We spent a frustrating hour trying to find our way on one-way streets to our apartment and wrestle with the luggage through the pedestrian-only Cours Mirabeau. Thank goodness for elevators for la luggage! We settled in and ate a not-so-memorable, touristy dinner along the Cours before checking out our apartment hot tub spa and crashing.
Awoke on Monday morning refreshed and ready to use only the legs we were born with to wander the streets and squares of Aix on the trail of Cezanne and fresh food markets. We found that and much, much more – lingerie, berets, calissone (the regionally famous nougat confection with almonds and pistachios), linen blouses, tapenades and a French tube of watercolor paint! Angela and I found the department store called Monoprix for dinner supplies as well and we lingered over dinner in our apartment perched over the people-watching luxury of the Cours Mirabeau.