Saturday, February 27, 2010

The French table...

These pictures are from our travels as well as the lovely home of our hosts Phyl and Ev Ressler. Phyl was such a wonderful hostess and talented chef, filling us with croissants in the morning and cheese at night! She made us a delicious pasta with fresh pure ingredients like roasted red peppers, ground almonds and pine nuts, crisp salads with every meal and provided plates of picturesque tangerines and pears. There was also always a tin of chocolate available to nibble. Although they are American they truly adopted the French attitude towards the importance of food and where it comes from. In fact, Phyl's next course is on the Anthropology of food, wish I could sit in on that one!

I couldn't not post something about the food in France. It really is a different experience to eat there. There isn't that fear of fat that is so ingrained in us here, instead there is a true enjoyment of food as a social event. We ate rich cheeses, bread, chocolate and pastries but I swear I actually lost a pound or two while there. I think it was mostly due to how slowly I ate, you had wine and conversation to stop you from cramming all that rich food greedily down your throat. Eating slowly made you feel full sooner and therefore you ate less. I am still committed to eating as Vegan as possible now that I'm back, especially since hubby is a super strict one, but I think Dani and I will have to get together for french food night every once in a while. It's all about moderation! The most important thing is to have as much knowledge about your food as possible and to eat as cleanly as possible, avoid processed foods, eat fresh and local. The past 2 years of eating almost Vegan and being super aware of our food and where it comes from made eating in France a delight since most French people subscribe to those same ideas.

Want to eat like a french person?

Breakfast- traditional tartine- a baguette split, toasted and slathered in butter and jam with a bowl of cafe au lait.

Lunch- 2 tiny sandwiches aux fromage- YUM!

Gouter (french late afternoon snack)- small pain aux raisins

Dinner- fondue, raclette or tartiflette- all cheese and carbs and all delicious!! Follow with a salad, chocolate and herb tea.

That is my idea of Parfait!!


Back to work- a picture of a hair flower for a real bride- Leah

Silk, cotton, czech glass beads and a bit of vintage french lace.

Friday, February 26, 2010

French countryside

Our last full day was spent exploring the countryside near Versonnex. We just drove through town after town gathering inspiration from the surrounding beauty. We took a little nature walk along the stream at Divonne les Bains, a beautiful spa town at the foot of the Jura mountains. the water was so pure looking you could see why people through the ages came here for it's therapeutic waters. The weather was so great, the sun shone bright and we got a great view of Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the EU. Rural France is just so charming...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Thanks to Grandmere and Grandpere we were now on our way towards Grenoble and ultimately, Annecy. Annecy is the Capitol of the department of the Haute-Savoie, it is situated on Lac Annecy and is a very picturesque french alps town. The areas we visited were near the canal Thiou, a charming area made up of shopping streets restaurants and a very lovely park. We visited the Cathedral of Saint Pierre, Chateau D' Annecy and the rue Saint-Claire. It is really great to just take the time to wander this area of the city and maybe take a leisurely stroll around the lake. On this particular day there were lots of people out and about since it was, we were told, the first nice day since winter began. It was probably in the 50s and really perfect for just strolling around and stopping in a cafe or patisserie. We stopped in a patisserie and participated in the french tradition of the gouter, or late afternoon snack, a delicious pain aux raisins for me and a picture perfect tarte abricots for Dani. The French also really love their pets, taking them where ever they go. Such a charming place to visit, we thoroughly enjoyed our leisurely afternoon in Annecy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Le marche- Villeurbanne!

The Villeurbanne market was such a fun adventure! We were out the door by 6:30am- way early for the french on a Sunday! We took a little detour down to Lac Leman before we set off on the autoroute. We arrived at the perfect time and the weather was fantastic, in the 50s and sunny. For anyone who is interested in seeing this market I have to say that is was very easy to find the exit from the autoroute it is clearly marked and signs are posted for "puces du canal" as soon as you exit. If you get there early parking is fairly easy- just along the road or canal. The setting of this market is not very charming, kind of industrial, just as you would expect to find on the outskirts of any large city, but we didn't mind since we were not there to the beauty of the area but for the market. The Market itself was a treasure trove, within a few minutes I had already found a fantastic collection of 1950s french lace trim. Amazing finds continued all morning, at around 12:30pm we had finally finished making the rounds and were ready to check out some other areas for inspiration. Lyon, located in the Rhone department and situated halfway between Paris and Marseilles, is the second largest city in France and finding out way back onto the auto route proved challenging, luckily a nice older couple in their 80s, who I now refer to as my "French grandparents" were kind enough to let us follow them back onto the autoroute and point us in the right direction.

Driving in France is generally quite easy as everything is clearly marked just as it would be here in the states. One thing that I would say is very important is having at least a basic amount of French in your vocabulary, it was very necessary to speak French especially in the market itself or even just filling up at the petrol station, this area of France had less english speakers than Geneva which is much more international. And even in an international city like Geneva it is preferred that you at the very least make the attempt to speak French. It is a good idea to greet each vendor as you look at their wares and as a guest to the country and obvious non-native speaker it is best to use more formal french to show respect.

To purchase any of the fantastic things I found at Villeurbanne or Plain palais contact me to set up an appointment to come to my studio/home or keep a look out on the etsy account in the next week or so.