Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Eve in Perpignan

All about the food. Chocs galore..

Look who Santa met in town .. The Granny!!!
Flirting with the Granny .... as usual! Market stall Perpignan

The famous Espi Café on Quai Vauban. L'age de Glace .... in Chocolate!
Quai Vauban Christmas Eve
Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Menu France

Feast your eyes on this tempting Christmas menu..

Salade saumon fumé noix - Smoked salmon and seasonal nut salad
Aiguillettes de canard à la crème - Tender duck fillets in a creamy sauce
Pommes grenailles roti - Roasted baby spuds
Bûchette - Mini yule log
Clémentine papillote - clementines in flilo pastry

.. Being served tomorrow to my children ( aged 7 and 5) in their school canteen.
Vive La France! Bon Appetit Les Enfants!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Baguette Dispenser

City Pan Dispenser

La baguette, as you know,  is an important part of the French diet and as a result, is often in the news here.
We are in La France and therefore there are plenty of rules and regulations surrounding the humble baguette. For example, a baguette, can only, by law, contain flour, yeast, salt and water. Hence it must be eaten fresh and French people will go to great lengths to get their bread as fresh as possible, turning their nose up at bread that has been sitting in the shop for a mere few hours.
And so , the news this week that a discount bakery in Nimes was selling day old bread drew gasps of disbelief from the fussy French. Selling yesterday's bread at half price, the bakery is doing a roaring trade in a town where unemployment is high and many are on the breadline ( pardon the pun!)
Another ridiculous law in France means that bakeries must close one day a week. So, Phil's, our local bakery, which also sells coffee, pizzas, snacks etc and is open 7 days a week, cannot sell bread one day a week. Our 'huit à huit' is the same .. sorry ma chérie, pas du pain des mardis... WTF! Have they ever heard of rotas??
The bakeries, already competing with the likes of Lidl, selling their bread for peanuts ( see here) risk losing their clientele if they go somewhere else on their day off and there has been much heated debate about the law.
Two bakeries in our department, one in Ille sur Tete and another in St Laurent de la Salanque have come up with a solution, a loophole in the law... Bread dispensing machines! The dispenser "City Pan" can hold up to 60 baguettes and keeps them fresh by controlling the temperature and the humidity inside the apparatus.
"Also a perfect solution for small rural villages where the bakery vans don't deliver anymore" goes the distributor of the City Pan machines. You can buy the machines on an option over 24, 48 or 60 months...At the moment, the machine only dispenses baguettes, but there are plans for croissants, pastries and other goodies..
Let them eat ... fresh bread from dispensing machines ...what is the world coming to?!!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Christmas Market Collioure

Chateau Royal - parking is free for the market
The Chateau Royal in Collioure has had, like most old castles, a chequered history. The Knights Templar built the castle on the fortified site in the early 13th century and since then, it has been occupied by the Kings of Majorca who held court there in the 14th century and the Spanish and French have fought over it and occupied it over the years.
A touch of class - Collioure market
More recently, in 1939, it served as a men's prison, a sort of disciplinary camp for those fleeing from Franco's Spain. Men who tried to escape from the horrific conditions of the camps in Argeles sur Mer, St Cyprien and Le Barcarès were sent to the castle, before being carted off to North Africa to God knows what fate.
Please come back Santa!
Today, the castle is a tourist destination, a happier place to hang out and hosting one of the most sumptuous Christmas fairs in the area.
The music man in his sunny spot. A real character
We went there with the kids who thoroughly enjoyed the hot chocolate and mince pies from Nigel and Catherine Bradley, the music, donkey rides and gaggling with the geese. There are live bands, camel rides for the brave, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and crepes and loads of gorgeous stalls inside selling artisnal goodies.
The view from the tower of the castle
It's on until the 9th December, entry is free. Not to be missed if you are in the area.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Nearly a thousand kids from the schools in Cabestany stand in line for this fab aerial photo taken a couple of weeks ago, spelling out Egaux ( Equals) during la Semaine des droits de l'Enfant.
How cool is that? You can spot us right there, hanging off the U.

Bravo La Maison de Quartiers for organising it all without any fuss or bother.

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