Greeting dear readers and friends. Well, I think we could all use a few things to celebrate at the moment, so I thought it would be a nice time to share what’s making us happy to be in the South of France at this time of year.
Truffle-hunting at Les Pastras farm
What could be better than a truffle-hunt in Provence? Well, a hunt at Les Pastras farm with your gracious hosts Johann and Lisa Pepin is about as good as it gets. If you’re a long-time follower of the blog, you may remember that we got introduced to the activities at Les Pastras in the My Provence interview series way back in 2012. Well, this dynamic duo is still going strong and more popular than ever (you can read about them in the press right here). Along with offering guests tailor-made truffle hunting excursions, the couple also hosts grape stomps during the month of September which include “the stomp”, a cheese and charcuterie buffet, all you’d like to drink of Les Pastras red wine, and olive oil and truffle oil tastings. Ooh la la… sign me up!
Speaking of signing up, you can also opt to adopt your own truffle oak, grape vine, beehive, or olive tree and see some of the “fruits” of your offspring shipped right to your door.
The Pepins have a new truffle dog, a dachshund-terrier mix, who is learning the truffle-hunting trade at the farm. And if they didn’t pick the best name… Caramel. Too dang cute! Bless his heart, he even has his own Instagram account: @carameltrufflepup
Find out about all the great stuff going on at Les Pastras on their website: https://lespastras.com/.
And don’t miss all of the wonderful goings-on and truffle-hunting updates on their Facebook page.
Wildflowers are starting to bloom
Coming from Southern California, one of the coolest things about living in the South of France is watching the changing of the seasons. All around our home, spring is starting to come alive. It started with the blossoms on the trees. One week there were just a few… Then I’d be driving home, and they’d multiplied… seemingly overnight, everywhere.
The bulbs of long-forgotten daffodils were left in our garden, and we woke up to find a bright, beautiful flower waiting to greet us. Wild irises are blooming in the fields near our house, along with a sea of small, delicate daisies. Of all the things to love about living in Provence, being close to nature is quite near the top of the list.
Death in Avignon published in the US (March 3rd)
The thrilling, and thoroughly hilarious, follow-up to Death in Provence officially came out in the US this past week. If you’d like a real “escape to France” vacation-without-the-vacation book, then Deborah Lawrenson’s sun-filled romp through the South of France is for you. You can find more details (no spoilers of course!) in the book review published on the blog a few months back.
The Just Rosé wine festival is coming… May 8th to 10th
Well, this isn’t too much of a hard sell because it’s rosé wine-tasting at one of the most beautiful local settings around: Sanary-sur-Mer. What’s not to love? If you live in the area – meaning like a 1-hour radius in all directions – this is the spring event that everyone looks forward to… moi included!
Yoga-heaven and veggie-deliciousness at The Silk Farm Retreat
Way back in September of last year, we were invited to a dinner at the Silk Farm near Le Thoronet (on the road to Cotignac) and it really knocked our socks off. Not to put anyone off, put we are meat-eaters (althought we’re going more veggie as the years go by) so when the owner, Shona, told us we’d be in for an all veggie, mostly gluten-free dinner, we were intrigued… and a tad hesitant. All vegetarian, really? My husband has a bit of bulk on him and I wondered if he would get his fill. Well, he did… and then some. We had the most delicious meal I’d had in a long time.
From the vegetarian appetizers (and there were a lot of them!) to the “faux” barbeque mini-sliders that melted in your mouth (made with portobello mushrooms, who knew?) to the vegan coconut cream “banoffee”: a layered banana trifle dessert… we were amazed to say the least. We ate very well, felt ready to pop, but also completely healthy – that is, if it’s possible to feel all those things at once… We had to run home to our babysitter or I would have loved to stay the night and wake up to one of Shona’s yummy breakfasts after an early-morning yoga session.
Find out about all of the delicious and relaxing offerings at The Silk Farm Retreat on their website: www.thesilkfarmretreat.com.
Sending you warmest wishes from belle Provence, Tuula