The week went by quickly - a bit of rain and a little whip of the Mistral and suddenly we've arrived at Friday. I'm especially looking forward to this weekend for two reasons: pumpkin carving (I found a plump lil' guy at the supermarket) and *drumroll* another food festival.
Between my newfound passion for French cooking (the clippings are piling-up under our coffee table faster than I can make them) and the foodie events we've got lined up for the next few weeks, I hope my waistline can survive. Did I mention gratin & tarte season is in full-swing? Hmm, I just might have to re-think my fall exercise routine.
1. Have chestnuts will travel
On Sunday we're going to the chestnut festival, or Fête de la Châtaigne, at Collobriéres. Admittedly, I don't know a whole lot about chestnuts except for the lovely roasted kind we found on several corners in Rome. If you've spent anytime in the Eternal City during the colder months, you might remember folks huddled around the warm chestnut stands by Piazza di Spagna. Chatty Italians, puffy scarves, and the smell of chestnuts...some great memories of fall.
I'm hoping to re-capture a bit of that romance this Sunday and learn about the kind of products will be on display at the festival. Short of using chestnuts for cakes and the famous candied chestnuts (marrons glacés), I expect there'll be some gourmet surprises. And just maybe, if we're all lucky, we'll spot some chestnut liquor like this interesting duo we found in Italy.
2. November 1st, All Saint's Day
Of the many intriguing things about living abroad, one that continues to capture my attention is how different cultures celebrate their holidays. In observance of All Saint's Day, the French have the day off on Monday and traditionally bring chrysanthemums to the graves of relatives who have passed.
Here's a few snapshots of the beautiful mums that have been on sale this week at the markets.
3. Mystery, Provençal Style
I got thoroughly hooked on Peter Mayle's books after reading A Year in Provence my first month in France. There's definitely a reason why the book is still going strong a good 20 years out - Mayle has a witty, anecdotal writing style which perfectly captures the beauty, and quirkiness, of the region.
Shortly after, I picked up a copy of Chasing Cézanne - a delightfully easy read which takes readers from the glamor of Manhattan to the whimsy of Nice in pursuit of, you guessed it, a stolen painting by Cézanne. Mayle touches on many of the clichés of life on the Cote d'Azur while keeping the tone light and funny. I'll be looking to get my hand's on a copy of his latest thriller, A Vintage Caper, which was highlighted in an article last month in the Riviera Times.
If this quote from the main character is any indication, think we're in for some great French-comic fun:
“Inside every self- respecting Frenchman lurks the soul of a Formula One driver,” Levitt notes, “conducting animated phone conversations while smoking and, if there was a hand free, steering.”
(Chasing Cézanne photo credit: www.amazon.co.uk)
(A Vintage Caper quote: NY Times Book Review)