Pretend Provence

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MAYBE BECAUSE IT’S SUMMER, or I’m living near the water, or there’s something about the light here on the East End, but lately I find myself drawn to all things Provençal. The South of France is one of my favorite parts of the world, and I haven’t been there in far too long. So I try to replicate the experience in small ways, such as:

  • Eating salad Niçoise almost every day, with fennel and Niçoise olives, naturally, and Alziari olive oil (a $20 splurge at Citarella but I was so happy to see it there – it took me instantly back to the famous store in Nice, where they fill customers’ empty bottles with fresh-pressed oil out of huge kegs)
  • A little jar of Herbs de Provence, also from Citarella
  • Lavender soap, lavender dishwashing liquid, lavender toilet bowl cleaner, etc.
  • Intentions of putting  a yellow printed table cloth on my round picnic table and spending three hours dining under the trees sometime
  • Sunflowers in a vase at all times
  • My Bodum French press coffee-maker (the best system I’ve ever found — no more Mr. Coffee for me)
  • Van Gogh print of Flowering Gardens at Arles on the kitchen wall

I have no plans to start smoking Gauloises (I did briefly in college) or re-read Peter Mayle any time soon.

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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3 Responses to Pretend Provence

  1. Mary-Liz says:

    Looks yummy & inspirational!! You will also need a nice bottle of chilled Provencal rose & bug spray if you are dining en plein air chez vous!!!

  2. BrooklynGreene says:

    I’m sitting up late because of “a death in the family”…so I decided I “should” check in for the first time in bunch of days.

    Just a note: often Alziari’s oils are too too light in flavour. One of my closest friends lives between an apartment on the cour Saleya and a family house in l’arriere-pays and says it really isn’t worth it. She luckily inherited olive trees on the family homestead up above Monaco in France. After a number of years (after her parents were both gone and she was done renovating the house), she broke her hiatus from collecting the olives (sheets, whacking at branches, etc.). When she finally got going again, the olive oil turned out much better than what Aliziari sells.

    Also Aliziari sells some terrible tourist trap soap. Sorry to burst any (soap) bubbles. If I had your address I’d send you a bottle. Get a decent Spanish olive oil. Frankly, from sitting in on conferences of the Spanish Olive Oil Association, I would have to say they are more fanatical and exactly regarding the acidity, quality and many aspects of olive oil in Spain as compared with France which doesn’t seem to care.

    I have to say something. You are living on on the South Fork of the East End. Embrace “that”. Don’t go searching for a perfunctory correlation with the South of France. It’s not about that. Okay…lavender soap…I can and do handle that. But there’s a wonderful experience in the here and now.

    …plus, I don’t see any anchovies, tuna, etc. on that plate…plus, I’m not sure who’s selling them, but I have never seen multi-coloured “Nicoise” olives. They’re almost always all that dark brownish purple.

    Keep truckin’! You should visit our friend. You’d get a kick out of each other.

  3. cara says:

    Sorry about the death in the family, BG. You’re right about the olives – those happen not to be the little Nicoise olives, they’re an ‘international mix.’ And I put the tuna & anchovies on a separate plate because if the salad isn’t finished immediately, I don’t like it with day-old fish. The Provence thing is totally tongue in cheek. If I wanted to be in France, I’d go to France. Would love to meet your friend if I do! Thanks for commenting BG.

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