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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oysters, Gourmet Sojourns, & Epiphany Traditions

Greetings from a very rainy Provence! I've been back in our fair South since last Thursday, with just the right amount of jet lag to keep me going through the New Year's festivities & ring in 2011 with a bang. Well, make that more of a long, rolling *sigh*, since that is exactly how we spent most of Friday evening - oohing & ahhing over the wonderful foodie creations our hosts had put together, followed the next day with a lot of canape time.  

And no need to whip out your French dictionaries here folks - canape means sofa in English.  But just how exactly do we translate "couch potatoes"? I'll leave that one to the experts...

The other fabulous thing about the start of 2011, is the hours I get to spend musing over where to go for the Gourmet Sojourn that my better half (who said that?) was gifted over the holiday season. Just a little something extra-special known as the Dakota Box.

This box just might be the best gift ever (everrrr), and was rated #2 on the list of things that the French wanted for Christmas (#1?'s no fools over here friends) - at least that's what the kind newscasters on channel M6 told us this holiday season.

Mais, qu'est-ce que c'est le Dakota Box?  Just what exactly is this box?  Well, it's not really about the box - more the book inside the box that contains more than 120 options to spend the night in a French hotel with your choice of a gourmet dinner. Again, total awesome-ness! (still can't really let my California trip go).

Well, besides spending hours on the canape with the Dakota Box (how can we choose just on place? boggles the mind...), I'm really looking forward to all the new adventures 2011 has to offer. Among them, learning more about this beloved region called Provence, with all of its fun and quirky traditions.

Like tomorrow, on the 6th of January, when we will celebrate the Epiphany, or the Jour des Rois, in France.  Besides customs of baking a plastic "trinket" of a king inside a round bread (gateau de Rois) & crowning a (paper) "king" to whichever lucky person finds the trinket, there is another tradition of keeping small pots of wheat growing in your home until the Epiphany.  You can buy the wheat at your local bakery, and it's said to bring you fortune & money in the New Year.

Wishing everyone a very happy 2011! Here's hoping your year is full of a lot of wheat & little kings :)


  1. Sounds like some wonderful festivities :) I'm glad you had a good holiday and will enjoy a little gateau tomorrow! Ps. couch potato is best translated as a pantouflard :)

  2. Amazing! Glad you are back and settling back in so deliciously.As you might imagine, I'm insanely curious about this Dakota box and the little book inside! Bonne Fetes, Tuula! Looking forward to an awesome 2011 and hearing more about your lovely not so petite life in Provence :)

  3. That Dakota Box - totally awesome indeed!!! I may need to ask for one next Christmas, or gift one to someone who will take me!(lol) Hope we will get to dine vicariously through you, wherever you choose. Sounds like it was a wonderful New Years. Bonne Fetes demain!

  4. Happy New Year, Tuula! How I wish I was back in Europe for the winter ... love learning about the traditions and the food! Hugs from the states...

  5. What jolly traditions, Tuula! I LOVE that gift you got. How will you ever choose the perfect hotel/restaurant?? Guess you'll just have to keep trying one after the other, eh? :-) I'm sorry I wasn't able to get your little pressie sent before I left. It will have to be a February Christmas for you. :-)

  6. You've brought back childhood memories with the wheat! My mum used to grow it and somehow we stopped having that tradition.

    Happy NY! Glad to have you back :)

  7. Oh, these are such nice comments to come home too! Thanks so much everyone :)

    I really LOVE all these French traditions - makes me feel "a part" of something even if I'm not French...getting in the spirit with everyone else is half the fun of living here :)

    I bought our galette des rois this morning & looking forward to cutting into it to see if I can wear the crown tonight.
    Cross your fingers for all those little kings!

    ps. I love the couch potato translation Lindsey, AND very useful!

  8. Glad you are back home in France. Glad you are in the French spirit.

    Happy New Year to you! Looking forward to all your wonderful posts in 2011.


  9. Happy 2011 to you Tuula! I'm jealous of your Dakota box. We were given something similar last year, but instead of lovely hotel and gourmet dinner, it's a stay in 'unique' lodgings; like cabins, tree houses, teepees and such. Yes, pretty cool and quirky but I'd take the gourmet meal over teepee any day! Have fun choosing :-)

  10. happy new year and looking forward to your king cake :-)

  11. Just stumbled upon this blog - really lovely and well written :)

    I am very tempted to grow wheat inside next year, I love quaint, unique traditions like that.

    Keep up the good work!