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Archive for the ‘Customs and Traditions’

Barcelona: traditions and food

May 16, 2013 By: guest Category: Customs and Traditions, Food and Recipe, Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, painting workshops 1 Comment →

We are now in Barcelona on day 6 of our painting workshop.

Today, we didn’t expect to met the giants. Not the sport team from San Francisco but the giants from Barcelona, the ones made out of wood and clothing.They are part of the Catalonian tradition. They use them on special occasions. They walk and dance in the streets. So Dee and I had the chance to see them perform on plaza Reial.

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In the evening, I had a surprise for the group. We were invited at Julius’ house for dinner. We were served an incredible dinner with Catalan and Spanish specialties. It was a real feast.

Julius presented us the fresh fish and sea food he will use for the dishes.

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We had a private dinner with 8 different tapas, 2 main dishes and dessert. The least we can say is that we were stuffed but in heaven…

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Dee is presenting the Cocal de escalivada, the Catalan version of our pizza.

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Karen decided to dress up to go to this very nice place, a clandestine gallery in the Barri Gotic.

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One of the main dish was the Catalan Fideua with sea food and aioli. It is the “noodle” version of the paella.

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We could barely walk back to the hotel after eating all that food but it was an unforgettable experience.

Join us on one of our tours to either France, Spain or Belgium at www.frenchescapade.com

Cheese tasting in the French Alps

October 04, 2012 By: guest Category: Cultural tours to France, Customs and Traditions, Food and Recipe, Jac's Travel diary, Women No Comments →

Yesterday, a new group has arrived. This time a bit bigger: 11 people. I know it is still a small group but usually I take 8 so it is bigger.

We are staying in the charming town of Aix les Bains, by the Bourget lake. A real feeling of vacation.

Today, we went to Haute-Savoie in the town of Thones to visit a cheese factory. They make raclette, abondance, tomme de savoie and reblochon cheese. The cow in Haute Savoie are mostly the Abondance type. How do you recognize an Abondance cow? She wears sunglasses. Really, she has a brown stain around her eyes:

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We had a chance to see the cheese being made then went to the cellar to see how long and how the cheeses age:

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We saw a movie about the making of the reblochon and the unique story of how this cheese got its name that means “double milking”  and then …did the tasting of course, everything served with Savoie white wine:

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In the afternoon, we went to the biggest ski resort in the world: Chamonix.

Did I take pictures of Mont Blanc? of the glacier? of the “Aiguille du midi”? Well, not exaclty. I took a picture of Mont Blanc but not the mountain but a pastry. Here it is, next to some other ones that are worth being in the picture as well:

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Tonight, I have a surprise for the group so I can’t tell you what it will be!!!!!

To join us on our tours to the French Alps, Belgium Provence, Swizterland or Spain, check our site at www.frenchescapade.com

Where to taste the double creme with meringue?

June 10, 2011 By: guest Category: Customs and Traditions, Food and Recipe, Switzerland, painting workshops 7 Comments →

In previous post, Betty, one of my guests on the Switzerland tour, mentioned that she ate meringe with double creme. Well, it is worth to tell you more about this Gruyeres specialty.

If the region of Gruyeres is most well known for its Gruyere cheese, a close second is the fresh, local cream, famous for its high butterfat content.  Gruyeres has more cheese and double cream per square metre than any other town in Switzerland.The local make a fuss about it and they are right, it is really  worth the fuss, for its unparalleled, unctuous texture and its rather unique aroma.
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Thick cream skimmed off milk. Its aroma, its delicacy and its creaminess make it one of the region of Gruyeres specialities. That’s probably why it’s served on top of just about everything, at all hours of the day. It is most often served on top of meringues or various berries. Hmmmm, really delicious.

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The meringues are weightless and have the same texture throughout.  Bite into one and it just crumbles away in your mouth (and all over your shirt). The double creme is always served in a traditional wooden dish and with a sculpted wooden spoon as well like in the old traditions.

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If you’re in Gruyères, you won’t have any problem at all finding meringues or double cream to buy.  Step into any shop and you’ll see walls piled high of plain meringues, or bags with different flavors, including caramel, chocolate or even cheese.

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Every restaurant serves it a different way. They are all soooooo gooood!!!!!!!

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Bon appetit!

If you want to taste this delicious double creme with meringue, join our tour to Switzerland.

Gruyere or Gruyeres?

June 07, 2011 By: guest Category: Customs and Traditions, Jac's Travel diary, Switzerland, painting workshops No Comments →

Today we learned that while Gruyere is a cheese, Gruyeres (with a “s”) is a town or village.


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Gruyere cheese

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Town of Gruyeres

We started the day watching one man make about 65 pounds of cheese in the old traditional way using cauldrons over an open wood fire.

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Oups, that is not him but Lina. Here he is:

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He makes about 10 tons of cheese per year, using milk from 50 cows.  There are only four people involved…caring for and milking the cows and one cheese maker.  The milk is heated, cut through as curds form, heated more (to about 125 degrees) while stirring; then curds are scooped up out of the whey, packed into cheesecloth lined

molds, and pressed.  There’s more.  The now solid cheese is floated in a salt water bath off and on for a week or two, shelved and turned several times, coated with something to seal it, then aged for a year.

After the fascinating demo, we sampled four cheeses.  Yum!

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By the time we left the cheese factory, the morning rain had stopped, and we were able to sketch and/or paint outside.

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Most of us sketched the Gruyeres castle.

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But I simplified and began a painting of a church instead.  It was challenging enough to get the perspective right on that without attempting multiple towers and rooftops on the distant castle.

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In the evening we drove to the base of the mountain we had seen from a distance, and walked up a steep path to the top and into the castle gate.  There is a whole village in there with cobblestone streets, hotels, restaurants, shops, a church, a museum, and a park with a playground.   The castle was built in the 12th century for the defense of a city, and had a protective wall all the way around.  We had a

delicious dinner there at a typical chalet.


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Some of us ate one of the typical meals, where you heat your meat yourself. Just delicious.


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Random facts…  The minimum wage in Switzerland is about $20/hour. The top tax bracket is about 15%.  Gas is about $7/gallon.

Plein air painting in Charmey, the heart of Gruyeres

June 06, 2011 By: jgrandchamps Category: Customs and Traditions, Jac's Travel diary, Switzerland, painting workshops No Comments →

A new tour, a new group, a new country, We are now in Switzerland. The West part of the country, the French speaking part, close to Geneva lake, in the heart of Gruyeres.

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From Left to Right: Lina, Jim, the watercolorist art teacher on the tour Sonja Hamilton, Linda, Helen and Betty.

Here is the post from Betty, one of our guests on our painting trip in French Switzerland. The pictures are mine but the text is hers.

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Betty

From Betty:

This is an absolutely beautiful place.  I took 301 photos today.  Everything here is sensational.  Had a huge breakfast, and smuggled leftovers into our pockets for lunch.  We wanted to picnic, rather than spend time in a cafe for lunch.

su-111 Our village of Charmey

The weather here changes radically in the course of each day (or hour).  We walked a short distance from our hotel, sketched, took pictures, and watched Sonja paint window boxes full of flowers…a very common thing here.

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The window we painted

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Painting of the window by Sonja Hamilton

It was hot in the sun, but a lovely site.

Then we took a gondola to the top of a mountain, where we were surrounded by breathtaking views of jagged mountaintops, hills covered with wild flowers, a distant lake, Charmey stretched out in the valley, and more.

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Even the dandelions were beautiful.

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This is where The Sound of Music could have been filmed.  Stunning!  After major picture taking, studying unusual flowers, and just gazing at the view, we found a picnic table and sat down for lunch.

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We were soon scurrying for cover as a light rain began.  Looking at the darkening clouds above, we decided to go to a chocolate factory, rather than pursue outdoor activities.  However, the sky began clearing, so we proceeded to a nearby town or village.  We stopped at a beautiful viewing place and took more photos.  Our attention soon shifted to six cows fairly close to us…nice looking cows.

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About cows…this area focuses on cows and dairy so much that there are curtains, tablecloths, murals, every kind of cow ornamentation imaginable everywhere.

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Cheese making is serious business here, and cheeses are slightly different when made at different altitudes.  The
best or most traditional cheeses are made at higher altitudes, so in June some farmers take their cows up into the mountains, stay there with them until the end of September, and make cheese.  The sound of distant cowbells is a common and pleasing sound here.

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After visiting with the cows awhile, we started down toward town in the van.  That is when torrential rain suddenly hit.  Maybe we would see the chocolate factory today after all.  However, just as we reached a cascading waterfall, the rain stopped.

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We took more pics and started sketching again.  Fortunately, we had trees to shade us from the sun.  Later we visited a church with a small cemetery.  Each grave had a unique wood carved marker that showed the trade or major
activity of the deceased.

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We had a couple hours of free time before dinner.  Lina and I decorated our bathroom with a clothesline full of laundry.  Then we set out to investigate a local swimming pool (for me) and a nearby mineral bath spa (for Lina).  We are both excited about the results. The pool is closed tomorrow, but I will be able to swim Tuesday!

Off to sleep now…another big day tomorrow!

Touring the natural beauty of Provence

October 02, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Cultural tours to France, Customs and Traditions, Jac's Travel diary, Nature, Provence, Women 4 Comments →

Women from Canada and from the USA have joined me this week to tour Provence. Provence is known for its breath-taking sceneries, its historical hilltop villages and its art. We saw all that, but its natural beauty was at the heart of this week’ s delights.

Camargue is always a highlight, with the visit of Thibaud Ranch, where Olivier and his friends always put on a show just for us.

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Roussillon with its ocher walk is a kind of fairy land, with magical colors.

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In Les Baux, houses are nested in cliffs around the medieval castle, or down below the village walls.

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In Saint Remy de Provence, Van Gogh also discovered the beauty of nature and depicted it on many of his paintings. We visited the hospital where he stayed and painted a few months before his death.

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We took pictures of all of that, and we will again tomorrow, when we will admire the Pont du Gard, one of the most impressive roman ruins in Provence.

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To find out more about our coming trips, visit www.frenchescapade.com

Can you still find lavender in Provence?

September 22, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Cultural tours to France, Customs and Traditions, Nature, Provence, history No Comments →

We are having a new tour, this time we are not in Belgium anymore but in Provence, France.

What comes to mind to everyone when talking about Provence? Lavender…

So, since there is no lavender in Sept, we went to the lavender museum. They taught the group the difference between lavender and lavandin because guess what? What you see everywhere, in your garden, in the fields, is lavandin, not lavender.

The main variety of Lavender cultivated in Provence is in fact not Lavender, but a sterile hybrid plant called Lavandin.

Lavandin is very rare in the wild and results from the cross-pollinization of True French Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Spike Lavender ( Lavandula latifolia ). This rarity is because both True Lavender and Spike Lavender grow in distinct territories with little overlap,  between 500 and 600 metres where both plants can grow and the opportunity for Lavandin to occur.

Not only does the Lavandin produce 4 to 6 times the essential oil of True Lavender (though not of the same high quality required for perfumery or aromatherapy), it can also growth at lower altitude (easier to cultivate everywhere) . Therefore, most farmers decided to adopt this new plant as their crop of choice. They therefore decide to clone it and reproduce it by hand.

While lavandin is a hardy plant, it is also sterile and therefore must be reproduced with cuttings rather than seeds. These plants have larger leaves, longer stems, and larger flowers that are pointed at the tip. Because the flowers are beautiful, vibrantly colored, and long-lasting, they are often used in herbal crafts and potpourris.

Here are a few pictures of our group at the Lavender museum:

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Our group in front of the old lavender distillation alambics (Sally, Sheila, Susan, Aimee, Brooke, Angellea, Katura and in front,Nancy and me.  I am wearing  a lavender shirt of course!!!).

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Sheila and Anjellea were the biggest shoppers!!!!

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Ok, this is not a woman from our group but a mannequin with the outfit that women were wearing in the 19th century when harvesting  lavender by hand. Women would harvest 700kg of lavender a day!!!!!

That is it for now, more tomorrow: stay tuned!

If you want to be part of this adventure yourself, check the itinerary at www.frenchescapade.com

Wallonia out of the beaten paths

August 25, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Belgian Escapades, Cultural Tours to Belgium, Customs and Traditions, Food and Recipe, Jac's Travel diary No Comments →

Based in Namur for 3 days, we gave  our four guests (Mary, Holly, Bernice and Barbara) a tour of Wallonia out of the beaten paths.

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                                                                       In the visitor house of the American cemetery

On day 1. even though we visited the well-known museum of the battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, we spent the afternoon at the home of Germaine  (a survivor of WWII) who was 11 in 1944, and spent 6 weeks in a stable when the German army took over her farm. She talked about her experience of the war and treated us with Belgian cakes and coffee. We later paid a tribute to the American liberators by visiting the American cemetery in Neupré.

    

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                                 Translating Germaine ’s stories about WWII

On our second day, we attended a speculoos workshop at the Chateau de Harzé; our pastry chef was  tough about the shapes of our cookies but we all passed the class :) ! In the afternoon, we went to Hermalle for its Cramignon festival where couples dressed in prom oufits, dance in the street, drinking beer and fighting musicals feuds between loud  bands. But first, we had a decadent pastry feat at Annick and Fernand’s, 2 locals who had invited us in their home. They even offered each of our guests , a basket full of Belgian treats.

 

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                                                           Cramignon girls in Hermalle

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                                                             Speculoo workshop: the pastry chef and Bernice.

As for today, Monsieur and Madame Bouvier demonstrated the art of making chocolate pralines, in their family workshop near Dinant.

For more information about our tours, visit our website at www.frenchescapade.com

 

 

 

 

Visit of medieval Brugges, the little Venice of the North

August 16, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Belgian Escapades, Cultural Tours to Belgium, Customs and Traditions, painting workshops 2 Comments →

Our favorite tour of Bruges starts at the beguinage, the medieval quarter for women who wished to live alone without having to be locked in a convent. We then walked the tiny winding streets bordered by lace or chocolate stores.

We watched a lace-making demonstration on our way, before reaching the canal area and finally the Markt plazza.

Not much painting today; only a few people sketched in the afternoon. The beauty of Bruges is overwhelming to pick the perfect place to paint in one day. We will go back there 2 more days  at the end of the week.

 

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                                                        Lace demonstration

 

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                                                                                      Lunch time … and Belgian beer tasting!

 

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                                                                                                        Follow the guide !

Lance Armstrong’s last Tour de France?

July 22, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Cultural tours to France, Customs and Traditions, French news, Sports, Worldwide No Comments →

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Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, is about to turn 38, and this may be his last entry in the Tour de France.

When he signed up for this year race, he wanted to make a point and show the world that all the past allegations about drug use were not founded. And he is about to prove himself right, as he is currently ranking #4 in the race that is to end on Sunday in Paris.

Lance was born in Texas in 1971, and his last name was first Gunderson. He then took his mother’s second husband’s name. His first sport of choice was triathlon, but it became clear that cycling was his strength. He then participated in many international events: the 1992 Summer Olympics, the Tour of Ireland, the World Road Race Championship and finally, his first stage win at the Tour de France in 1993. In 1996, he was diagnosed with cancer and had to drop out of the Tour, on the 7 th stage. He only came back to cycling in 1998 and then won the Tour seven times in a row, from 1999 to 2005.

He has now 4 children, 3 from his first wife whom he divorced in 2003. After dating  singer Sheryl Crow, and then actress Kate Hudson,  Lance met Anna Hansen with whom he had a son in June 2009.

On Friday 24th, the 21th stage of the Tour de France will pass through La Côte Saint André, Valérie’ s village and my “headquarters” when I am in France, for my tours in the French Alps . So I hope you can get a pick at the village and the area when they go through.

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For information about our tours in the French Alps (painting tours, cultural tours and women-only tours), check www.frenchescapade.com

50% OFF on our trip to Belgium in August 2009 !

July 11, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Belgian Escapades, Brussels, Cultural Tours to Belgium, Customs and Traditions, history 1 Comment →

For the past 2 years I have been escorting visitors in Belgium, on painting workshops and cultural tours.

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It has been a special treat for me, a native from  Belgium, to introduce Americans and French people to the culture, the history and the traditions of my country. Designing the tour was  an enlightning experience for myself, as I learnt a lot of things about my own roots, my fellow-citizens and most of all, about the essence of what makes Belgium so special.

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                                          Pictures:  fine dining or sharing pastries at the home of a local

We started in April 2008 with a “Guinea pig” tour with French people (friends and family, as we always do when we have new tours). France is a neighbour and cousin of Belgium, but it was still very exotic for them when it came to speaking Belgian-French or eating “French” fries which are not French. We then had a cultural tour for Americans in August 2008. They loved learning about history (from medieval castles to WWII battle fields), tasting the incredible Belgian beers and chocolate, and meeting locals ( baking with a local baker or sharing memories at WWII survivor’s home).

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                                                               Pictures: local festivals

Indeed, our tour of Belgium offers a great deal of diverse attractions. On our cultural tour, you have the opportunity to discover both Wallonia and Flanders, as well as Brussels. First of all, our goal is to introduce you to authentic  local activities that you could not do on other tours:

  • attending a local street festival in a small Wallonia town
  • baking speculoos (cinamon cookies) with a local baker
  • chocolate tasting in a small family-owned chocolate factory
  • having tea at the home of a WWII survivor

We also want to show  Belgium through history, architecture and gastronomy; here are samples of our daily trips:

  • Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge Memorial
  • the medieval city of Bruges with its canals and romantic atmosphere
  • the beaches and harbour of Ostend by the North Sea
  • Brussels: the  Grand Place, Manneken Pis and its world famous museums

We are offering 3 tours this summer / fall 2009: 2 painting trips and 1 cultural trip. Only 4 spots remain available out of 18 overall. Our stays are 8 days, for 8 guests only, fully escorted by bilingual guide from your arrival at Brussels airport to your departure at Brussels airport. Comfortable van and quaint guesthouse.

We hope to see you in Belgium ! For our next availabilities and discount, check www.frenchescapade.com

How to reach ultimate serenity in the French Alps

June 18, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Cultural tours to France, Customs and Traditions, Food and Recipe, Nature, history 1 Comment →

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Hikers, climbers and trekkers have searched and found paths of serenity in the French Alps for decades. But before the 19th century, mountains were not friendly to anybody, when local tales and customs were full of dreadful stories about deadly mountain encounters with scary creatures  living at the top, awaiting for daredevils.

But this empty space was also a heaven for those who really wanted to escape the human world, with its corruption and material wealth. In 1084, Bruno, a monk from the North of France, found that “desert” he was looking for, in the Chartreuse range near Grenoble, and he built the first monastery of what was to become the Cartusian order.

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Today, 40 monks still live in the original location, whereas the order has spread all around the world with 22 other monasteries. Its survival lays in its ability to find new ways of maintaining its living, and its major success was the discovery of the recipe for the world famous Chartreuse liqueur, the green of which gave also the name to the colour. 

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The recipe dates back to 1605 and the liqueur contains 130 different plants.  The Chartreuse Liqueur is also known for being aged in the longest liqueur cellar in the world.

Even though the liqueur is often drunk “on the rocks”, it can be part of more elaborated cocktails:

  • Episcopale : one part of Green Chartreuse + 2 parts of yellow Chartreuse
  • Chartreuse Royale: with Champagne
  • Shuttle: with whisky
  • Alaska: with vodka
  • Sunburst: 1 part of green Chartreuse + 5 parts of orange juice and a dash of lemon juice

Remember, to enjoy Chartreuse, a small quantity is advised!

It can also be used in cooking: chocolate mousse, baked ham, apple crumble, hot chocolate, etc…

For tours in the French Alps, check www.frenchescapade.com (women-only tours and painting workshops available)

Alsace: a French corner with a German twist.

June 10, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Cultural tours to France, Customs and Traditions, history No Comments →

This part of France is mainly known for its white wines, and yesterday, this wine country lost a legendary figure. Jean Hugel, producer and wine specialist, died at the age of 84. He had played a major role in promoting Alsace wines abroad and in writing regulations about  appelation laws.

 

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Alsace is  mainly known for the following wines:

  • Riesling
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Pinot (noir, blanc, gris)
  • Sylvaner
  • Cremant d’Alsace

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But Alsace is also a wondeful place to visit. Its  quaint villages, surrounded by vineyards, have kept a medieval atmosphere.  Castles, such as the lofty Haut-Koenigsourg, keep reminding the visitors that this area was an essential keystone  in European history, not to mention all the war memorials and  battle fields to be seen in the whole region.

 

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Alsatians still speak a German dialect, beside French (the official language). After all , they only became  French for good after WWII. The capital, Strasbourg, is the seat of the European parliament, that it shares with Brussels. The TGV line between Paris and Strasbourg was inaugurated last year ; it only takes 2h 20 minutes to link both cities.

 

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Alsace is also known for its Christmas markets, its sauerkraut dishes and stork nests! It is a delightful area to discover. Alsatians are warm-hearted people that will share with you their taste for partying.

 

For tours about France and Belgium , visit www.frenchescapade.com

To watch a video about Alsace, click here.

What is the Secret of Belgian Chocolate?

May 18, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Belgian Escapades, Brussels, Cultural Tours to Belgium, Customs and Traditions, Food and Recipe 3 Comments →

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Visit Belgium and you will understand why chocolate is essential in the life of this tiny country: you will find a chocolatier in every village, in every main street, and in big cities such as Liege, Brussels or Bruges, there will be an infinite choice of  chocolate makers displaying their beautiful pralines all around you!

So why is it so delicious? Well, the best ingredients are used and the traditional techniques still prevail. Most belgian chocolates are made by hand in small workshops, by people who love their job and are very proud of their specialties. They receive their chocolate paste still warm and liquid in heated tanker truck and not in solid cold paste like in other countries. This way, it keeps its original flavor longer.

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Why is it different? Well, Belgian chocolate became internationally known thanks to the invention of   “pralines” (not the same as the sweet treats found in the States). This technique was invented in 1912 by Jean Neuhaus, a swiss man who had moved to Brussels. Praline-making consists in moulding a cold chocolate shell that can then be filled with any flavored chocolate or other ingredients (nougat, creams..). Neuhaus were also the first to use “ballotins”, the chic box to carefully wrap pralines.

Our favorite Belgian chocolate?

Pralines

  • Neuhaus -   The original Boutique in Galleries de la Reine in Brussels.
  • Leonidas - check here to order some from the States
  • And many small chocolatier like Bouvier, in Anseremme near Dinant.

Chocolate bars

  • Galler, made in Namur.  Check here to order some in the USA

For tours of Belgium including chocolate tasting and praline-making demonstration, check www.frenchescapade.com (50% off on August trip to Belgium).

The video below is a praline-making demonstration from Planète Chocolat.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WflQgQ7NV9g

The French Riviera celebrates its 62nd Cannes Festival

April 26, 2009 By: jgrandchamps Category: Art, Cultural tours to France, Customs and Traditions, French news, Provence, Worldwide No Comments →

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                                                                               Views of Cannes and Festival Award

From May 13 to 24, international film stars will take over the glamorous Mediterranean resort  where they will meet in the prestigious Palais du Festival but mainly in lavish parties in the luxurious hotels .

It all started in 1946, and the first selection included Billy Wilder’s “Lost Weekend”, David Lean’s “Brief Encounter”, Roberto Rossellini’s “Rome Open City”, George Cukor’s “Gaslight”, Walt Disney’s “Make Mine Music”, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Notorious”, and Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast”.

This year’s  jury will be headed by French actress Isabelle Huppert, only the 4th woman to hold the presidency for over 6 decades.

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                                           Isabelle Huppert holding the Cannes Festival Palm Award

Here is the official selection of the movies in competition:

  • “A prophet”, France, Jacques Audiard
  • “Agora”, Spain, Alejandro Amenabar
  • “Antichrist”, Sweden/ Denmark/ France / Italy, Lars Von Trier
  • “Bright Stars”, Australia, Jane Campion
  • “Broken Embrace”, Spain, Pedro Almodovar
  • “Enter the void”, France, Gaspar Noe
  • “Face”, France/ Taiwan/ Netherlands/  Belgium, Tsai Ming-liang
  • “Fishtank”, UK/ Netherlands, Andrea Arnold
  • “In the beginning”, France, Xavier Giannoli
  • “Inglorious Basterds”, USA, Quentin Tarantino
  • “Kinatay”, Philippines, Brillante Mendoza
  • “Les herbes folles”, France/ Italy, Alain Resnais
  • “Looking for Eric”, UK/ France/ Belgium/ Italy, Ken Loach
  • “Maps of the sound of Tokyo”, Spain, Isabel Coixet
  • “Spring Fever”, China/ France, Lou Ye
  • “Taking Woodstock”, USA, Ang Lee
  • “The times that remains”, Israel/ France/ Belgium/ Italy, Elia Suleiman
  • “The whit ribbon”, Germany/ Austria/ France, Michael Haneke
  • “Thirst”, South Korea, Park Chan-Wook
  • “Vengeance”, Hong Kong France/ USA, Johnnie To
  • “Vincere’, Italy / France, Marco Bellochio

Pixar 3-D movie UP will open the festival on May 13th, an unusual event as it will be the first time an animated movie will be shown for the opening. The results will be anounced in the evening of May 24th.

Video introducing the 2009 festival/ Film samples /In French with some English