Tasting Provence! Cooking With Patricia Wells! Food and Travel Unite!

Welcome to Gigondas – this is a look back at our fall 2009 trip to France – here we are posing from this beautiful village in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region of France…

And of course Paris – Alex and I love to travel, and we love Paris – especially the food of Paris, like this simple masterpiece:


Roasted Duck with Green Olives at Allard!

Trust me, this smells – and tastes – even better than it looks. The first time we ate this, we didn’t talk for ten minutes, so intently were we focused on the meal – and look at the pate we started with…

Perfectly prepared food is a joy to behold, and consume, like the Lobster Mitts from The French Laundry in Yountville…

That’s not just food, that is art. Chef Thomas Keller and his masterful Chefs turn out amazing food on a daily basis, both at The French Laundry as well as Per Se in New York…like this iconic dish of “The French Laundry Oysters & Pearls”, caviar and poached baby oysters…

Since you know how much we love food, and how much we love to travel, here are some books that are full of both – great food, terrific recipes and wonderful travel stories…

No, there will not be any books that celebrate the mighty Cheeseburger – not this post at least – but plenty of other great food and travel, so grab an apron and your passport and let’s get started!


“We’ve Always Had Paris…And Provence” by Patricia and Walter Wells.

Here is the Amazon writeup of Patricia Wells and her memoir:

“Patricia Wells, long recognized as the leading American authority on French food, and her husband, Walter, live the life in France that many of us have often fantasized about. After more than a quarter century, they are as close to being accepted as “French” as any non-natives can be. In this delightful memoir they share in two voices their experiences—the good, the bad, and the funny—offering a charming and evocative account of their beloved home and some of the wonderful people they have met along the way.”

Patricia Wells has published a number of food guides and cookbooks, and they are all terrific. Here is just one of my favorites:

Patricia and Walter own a home in Provence, which they open up several weeks a year for a cooking class – one that Alex and I were able to attend in 2009.


PATRICIA WELLS COOKING CLASS IN HER KITCHEN!

Every day you plan, prepare, cook and consume a terrific series of dishes, made as a team, under Patricia’s expert direction…

Here we are with Patricia, posing in front of the Julia Child’s stove – a gift to Patricia from Julia – this is her provencal stove she cooked on for years:

What is so much fun about the cooking class is that it takes place at their home – which they call Chanteduc – located in the shadow of the french village Vaison la Romaine, near Avignon:

The book is full of stories of the life they have built together in Provence, and when you spend a week cooking with them, you see what a terrifically happy couple they are. Here is Alex getting some instruction from Walter:

After cooking together, you eat the food in a group setting – here we are on the veranda enjoying lunch together – a wonderful way to savor the hard work that went into the meal.

Every day another meal, another adventure – so much fun, and always with the full support and guidance of Patricia:

The twelve of us had the best time cooking with Patricia, as she guided us through an amazing array of dishes, always using the best local ingredients, many from her own garden…

OK, I mugged to the camera while Patricia did most of the work…


ALEX’S EGGPLANT DISH!

Look at how beautiful this dish is, made with eggplants you harvest from Patricia’s garden!

It was one of our favorite vacations ever, and we learned things that influence our cooking to this day. Check out Patricia’s website for a bunch of great stuff, including information on her classes: http://patriciawells.com/ . Here is our view of the town from our room…

We stayed in the small village of Vaison la Romaine, so french and perfect for a cooking adventure…the picture above is the view from our front den window, and this was our view of the town’s old fortress from our back terrace outside our room…

The medieval streets of Vaison la Romaine were so much fun to wander….

As you can tell, we loved it! Even if you can’t cook with Patricia, pick up one of her many cookbooks – and read her memoir with Walter – and live the provencal life!



Categories: Books / Media, cookbooks, Food, Food Review, Recipes, Restaurants, Travel, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized, wine

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Hi. Thank you for your post. I am signed up for PW’s class in Provence beginning on September 16th and am wondering if you can recommend a place to stay. Your post included pictures taken from the back and the front windows of your “hotel” room. Would you recommend the place to others and how far was it from Patricia and Walter’s place?

    Kyle

    • Kyle, the town of Vaison la Romaine is just minutes from Patricia’s home – literally as close as you can stay to her place. We stayed a “L’Eveche, and our room looked out onto the town’s old fort…it was perfect!

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