Behind the Scenes in Provence

Provence Confidential has been blogging about restaurant launches, cooking classes, food festivals, Provençal wines and spirits as well as tradition and folklore since 2008.

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Legio Patria Nostra

Legio Patria Nostra

The French Foreign Legion recruiting office happens to be down the road in Aubagne, just east of Marseilles. Young men from around the world can be seen lining up with their duffle bags in the morning in hopes of making the cut. If you’re a man between the ages of 17 and 40 and in incredible physical condition you can give it a go. Keep in mind your first mission is for 5 years.

Fête de la Vannerie

Fête de la Vannerie

The small Provençal village of Vallabrègues located on the shores of the Rhone (near Tarascon) has been hosting a basket festival "Fête de la Vannerie" for the past 15 years. Over 80 basket weavers from across Europe are scheduled to attend the 2010 event scheduled for Saturday August 7th through Sunday August 8th.

Lavender Festival

Lavender Festival

On Sunday July 18th 2010 the village of Valensole will be celebrating the harvest of this years lavender crop. The parade will be followed by distilling demonstrations using antique copper stills. It's a festive and fragrant occasion to discover the virtues of this aromatic plant that thrives in Provence.

Rendez-Vous Jardins

Rendez-Vous Jardins

From June 4-6, 2010 the owners of France's most remarkable gardens (a designation awarded by the Ministry of Culture) open their doors to all garden enthusiasts. Over 1.5 million people are expected to visit the most spectacular gardens in France. There are over 2000 gardens open for the occasion. 50 of them are located in Provence.

Spring Scents

Spring Scents

April 29, 2010 - The 40th Annual Rose Festival welcomes rose growers from around the world to compete for the prizes of most beautiful rose and sweetest smelling rose. From May 13th to 16th, 2010 the city of Grasse, known as the Perfume Capital of the World, will welcome over 14 000 visitors. Last year over 63 000 cut roses were on display throughout the town.

Gastronomic but not astronomic

Gastronomic but not astronomic

April 26, 2010 - The students at the Lycée Hotelier in Marseilles are just like regular high school students except that they obtain a slightly different degree. Math, French, Geography and English all figure on the curriculum along side the culinary arts.

Say Cheese

Say Cheese

May 16, 2010 is the day the village of Banon (Luberon) will be honoring it's delicious goat cheese aptly named Banon.  Made from non-pasteurized whole goat cheese, a Banon has the peculiarity of being delicately wrapped in chestnut leaves before being individually packaged with raffia.

Gourmet Grannies

Gourmet Grannies

Jean-Baptiste Reboul is to Provençal cuisine what Julia Child is to French cooking. Every French person has heard of him the same way every American interested in French food knows about Julia Child.

Not just another cook book

Not just another cook book

Michelin star chef Eric Sapet, La Petite Maison de Cucuron, will be launching his new cook book "Mes Cours de Cuisine" at the FNAC Valentine in Marseilles on May 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm. It’s not just a book signing – it’s a full on cooking demo.