Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sticky and Rich

I like my food hearty.  Or is that cooked with alot of heart or perhaps best, when my heart is full?

In the South of France.  A slow cooked duck in a heavy pot; sticky and rich.  This may sound alittle too glutinous for the clean and healthy of palate.  But we ate late into the night; sharing good food and local wine makes for effervescence.

It was the summer of the infamous heatwave and we had exhausted ouselves just by moving that day.  Heat that makes everything stick and clam.  The sort of heat of Tennessee Williams and Orleans, and the sort of heat that made for unrest.  Protests ran abound, with bin men striking in Marseille, and the smell of the sea had been all but forgotten with heaps of molten food scraps and infestation that had piled onto sidewalks.  In the spirit of our Beat brother Jack - we ran a short road out of there.  Retreating to a tiny studio in a  Medieval townhouse inside fortress walls.  With its fairytale spiral staircase and cotton cool solid stone walls that mocked the raging heat.

Our local hosts had invited us to join a reunion dinner with two other couples from California, all married into their middle years and revelling in the same trip 10 years prior.  The writer and I felt oddly juxtaposed amongst this crowd, we were co-pilots, captain and navigator, travellers together in a renault clio. We were both escaping and seeking; the default of fragile artistic souls. They were all women of grown confidence, and they were all husbands very much in love with their wives, one who had sought to hold her hands through cancer, her delicate frame giving away the long battle which she had bravely and only just won.  The flesh on both their faces, now laxed after having been so taut through stretching on their masks. But we needn't have shuffled awkwardly.  We saw, that what becomes of lovers down the years, are great friendships.  No heft with which to lull the lover or whimsy, but the love of longevity and angels.

Make your own way: Marseille - coastal road to Casisse - inwards to Aix-en-Provence - into the fortress of Manosque  - Pierrevert home of rosé wine - lavender fields of Valensole  - Moustiers-Sainte-Marie "big rock" - breathtaking gorge road through Gorge de verdon and a boat out onto its great lake - onto field and wine roads of "A year in Provence" country - Cucuron and vineyard camping and garlicky and buttery escargot - stoney Lacoste and Luberon landscape -"red chalk" road to Roussillon - onto Arles and a salad of summer blooms and field grass "art on a plate" - the heat really soared - back to Marseille.


  1. Amazing photos! Thanks for the "make your own way" tips. Plan on making a trip to South of France soon!

  2. Good heavens my mouth is watering and I'm temped to hop on the next plane. Gorgeous!

  3. Beautiful post and photos! Someday...

  4. This was some time ago now, and I still remember how wonderful it was, and I remember everybody I met along the way - a testament to travel and food and experiences that make life.

    I don't own very much, just a whole lot of vignettes : )

  5. What a gorgeous (and beautifully written) post! I've only been to Paris, never to the south of France, but have always longed to go. Thank you for sharing this!


  6. My hubby and I love going to France, its about an hours boat journey from the Island of Jersey where we live, and it always feels like we have been away! As yet haven't got as far as the south of France, but my Brother in-law and family live there, so maybe one day...
    Don't you just love the colours of the buildings, and painted shutters?

  7. Love your writing, and love your fabrics too!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie