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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Marseilles European Capital of Culture

Marseilles European Capital of Culture

In May 2009 the European Commission announced that Marseilles would be the European Capital of Culture in 2013. At a recent press conference hosted by the Chambre de Commerce et Industrie Marseille Provence (CCIMP) President Jacques Pfister, announced that La Poste (French Postal Service) was the first official sponsor of the event with 1.5 million Euros. With over 600 individual project proposals submitted Marseilles 2013 is currently recruiting sponsors who can adopt a project.

Walking with Cezanne

Walking with Cezanne

Or at least in his footsteps by following the big brass studs that are embedded in the sidewalks of Aix en Provence. Drop by the tourism office and ask for the map called "In the steps of  Cezanne". The walking tour starts just off the Cours Mirabeau on rue de L’Opera at the place of his birth in 1839 and takes you to various landmarks including his art school which is now the Musee Granet. 

Avignon Truffle Festival

Avignon Truffle Festival

Be sure to go Les Halles, the covered market, in Avignon on Sunday February 21, 2010 to celebrate the truffle. Also referred to as the Black Diamond this rare gem will be prepared by 15 of the region's most talented chefs. You can attend one of the demonstrations from 10am - 3 pm. And if you feel like going home with a few of your own you can purchase from the merchants on hand. For more information have a look at www.festiv-halles.com

Under Pressure

Under Pressure

Olivier Baussan, the founder of the ultra successful L'Occitane line and the man behind Olivier & Co, has a new venture these days.  Having sold off his two previous companies he has come up with yet another great idea which continues to promote Provence.

French Kiss

French Kiss

Since 1868, the town of Roquemaure (near Avignon), has been hosting an annual romantic letter writing contest and kissing festival in honor of Saint Valentine, the patron saint of love. Today the event draws over 20 000 people.

Sea Urchin Festival

Sea Urchin Festival

Each year the Fete de l'Oursin (Sea Urchin Festiva) which is held the first 3 Sundays of February 2010 (7th, 14th , 21st) in the coastal town of Carry-le-Rouet, just west of Marseille, attracts several thousand visitors. The fisherman return to port with boat loads of the key attraction, sea urchins, prickly creatures which are then cut in half and eaten right away.

First Crush

First Crush

Although a fair distance from Provence I thought this wine making facility in Bordeaux was really interesting. A company by the name of Crushpad (crushpadwine.fr.) runs a wine making operation targeting individual wine enthusiasts who want to create their own cuvées from the region.

Hot Chocolate Tour

Hot Chocolate Tour

Villeneuve-les-Avignons is located just opposite Avignon on the other side of the Rhone river. There lies a monestary that was built during the 14th century. It's a remarkable structure open to visitors year round.

A Wine is Born

A Wine is Born

Vatmaker Marc Nomblot has been selling his concrete tanks for over 20 years but he only introduced the egg in 2001. These egg-shaped vats are now all the rage especially with biodynamic winemakers. For the uninitiated biodynamism involves bringing spiritual and holistic elements into the winemaking process.

Palais Secret

Palais Secret

Until 30 May 2010 the Pope's Palace (Palais des Papes) in Avignon is offering special tasting tours on weekends. The tour will take you to the private apartments of the Pope, inlcuding the wardrobe, the chapel and the gardens. Secret staircases will lead you from the cellar to private terraces.