10.22.15 Go and Do

Mouse 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

Forgive me, dear reader, it's been seven weeks since my last expression. In that time, I've fostered six cats, flown to France, cooked a feast for 20 people, held two demos at the farmers market, created custom cocktails for an event and worked my regular job as a freelance writer. For these and all the wins of my life, I am truly...oh, never mind. The point is, I'm deeply sorry to have neglected my blog the last couple of months but I've been dancing as fast as I can. The good news? I'm going to catch you up with a series of mouth-watering photos. Starting with this one of Mouse, the sweetest, fluffiest kitten that ever lived. She was the runt of a litter of five born to Janet, a gorgeous black cat who came to our door in July, turned out to be preggers and asked for shelter. What ensued was generally chaos, but all turned out well, and we eventually found loving parents for every last one of those adorable interlopers (after they were weaned, ate us out of house and home and chewed everything in sight). I miss them like hell and am so glad they're gone. Another of life's endless paradoxes.

Provence 790 xxx
room with a view

In late September, we spent 8 glorious days in Provence and the Côte d'Azur. G and I were on our own for the first half, based out of a charming stone farmhouse deep in the Luberon, a picturesque region that seems to have changed little in the last eon. Medieval hill towns, vineyards, olive groves and mountains redolent with the renowned herbes de Provence...and the markets!

Cucuron 790 xxx
town square

The nearest town was Cucuron, an 11th century stunner whose main square is built around this long étang surrounded by a series of the enormous plane trees (similar to sycamores) that define this region.

Gb 790 xxx
french confection

What a joy it was to sit at a little cafe overlooking this beautiful scene while breakfasting on flaky, buttery croissants and café au lait.

Cucuron mkt 790 xxx
the bounty

We barely went out to eat when we were in Provence because all we wanted to do was buy the incredible provisions from the markets and have picnics everywhere. We drove from town to small town, depending on which one was having its market day, and each one was more spectacular than the next.

Cheese 790 xxx
say cheese

The cheeses were extraordinary, from the classic banon, raw goat's milk wrapped in chestnut leaves, to the gigantic mottled wheels of aged cow's milk cheese to these tangy rounds of sheep's milk cheese known as brebis. I could not get enough of them and, luckily, they were ubiquitous and always of unimpeachable quality.

Mushrooms 790 xxx
fungus among us

The wild mushrooms made my head spin: cèpes and chanterelles galore, plus other varieties that were new to me. In the enchanting town of l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, renowned for its antique markets, G bought me the most wonderful French book on wild mushrooms with incredible illustrations. I'll share it with you soon.

Spices 790 xxx
spice route

Herbs and spices of all sorts were always a main feature of the markets. I bought licorice root, lavender and the traditional Provençal blend of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano.

Olives 790 xxx
stone fruit

Oh, the olives! Some firm and tart, others silken and oily...something so incredible about eating them when you are surrounded by groves of the trees flashing their silvery leaves in the fall sunshine.

Saucisson 790 xxx
pig out

The sausages blew our minds! (Enough so that I signed up for a sausage-making workshop at Dickson's later this month.) They came in so many flavors—spiked with fig, with truffles, with fennel, with herbs, with chiles, with nuts—each one more fabulous than the next. To drive out to the middle of a vineyard, pop the trunk and lay out a feast of roast chicken, sausage, cheese, baguettes, mustard, salted butter, ripe figs and grapes was a dream come true. And don't get me started about the rosé...

Walnuts 790 xxx
go nuts
Nougat 790 xxx
something sweet

The handmade nougat, containing nothing but egg whites, sugar, local honey and nuts, is fantastic. G accidentally bought 70 euros worth! This one had the most amazing pistachios.

Ile sur la sorgue 790 xxx
joie de vivre

As you can see, I was in the zone. And who wouldn't be, after discovering this off-the-beaten-track, Michelin-starred restaurant where we had the garden all to ourselves? The cheese plate was heaven.

Petanque 790 xxx
time off

From Provence, we went to Cabris, a little town near Nice, where we rented a palatial villa with 16 friends to celebrate a milestone birthday. This place had everything from a swimming pool to a huge terrace with a view to a wood-burning grill to a pétanque court. There were boozy dinners at the house (again with the rosé) and one special night out here, field trips to the Maeght Foundation and Jean Cocteau's house, and not enough hours in the day to soak it all in.

Lsjh 790 xxx
women in business (photo by george billiard)

Upon my return home, I threw myself into preparing The Feast of the Senses, a dinner for 20 people I created along with my partner, Juliette Hermant, and dancer/yogini/teacher extraordinaire TaraMarie Perri, as part of the Narrowsburg Honey Bee Fest. Here I am with Juliette at the threshold of her antiques store, Maison Bergogne, future site of Fish & Bicycle, the bar/café we are planning to open next spring.

Drinks 790 xxx
drink up

Juliette has a gifted eye and a distinctly French appreciation for the patina of age on pieces both functional and decorative. Together we make beautiful music.

Table2 790 xxx
be seated

The Feast was held in this cavernous 1920s industrial building, gracefully decorated and illuminated largely by candlelight. I prepared six courses, several of which were presented away from the table, including the soup course which was held outside, where a 48-hour bouillon was ladled out of an enormous copper cauldron suspended over a bonfire.

Parfait 790 xxx
dig in

One of my favorite moments was the dessert buffet, where diners created their own parfaits out of an assembly of ingredients that included broken meringues, whipped cream, goat's milk caramel, honey-glazed pecans studded with bee pollen, whisky-soaked raisins and apple butter. The joy was truly palpable.

Ls apple 790 xxx
biting off more than she can chew

And there was still fall to experience! Apples to pick, mushrooms to find, leaves to admire, jams to make...this time of year is so full. I was watching a little red squirrel scurry across our back fence, making endless trips to ferry tidbits to its lair, and I could relate.

Forestburgh 790 xxx
buena vista (drone photo by noah kalina)

After being away, there's no better feeling than sinking back down into the comfort of home. This aerial photo of our land in Forestburgh (we own that cleared patch) really showed me how much I have to be grateful for right here. I've got a lot going on, but there's always time for that.



I enjoyed the photography very much. Reading about the experiences was interesting.
Jodi Sklar on October 22, 2015 at 8:51 am —
Thanks for visiting, Jodi!
laura on October 23, 2015 at 6:12 am —
Laura, you are on fire! I love reading what you are doing. Truly inspirational. And, I love that you make the time to travel and find your own inspiration while launching so many creative endeavors back home. thanks for sharing!
Amy Montgomery on October 22, 2015 at 10:13 am —
Traveling really fuels my imagination, Amy! xo
laura on October 23, 2015 at 6:13 am —
Sick with jealousy
Cara on October 22, 2015 at 10:14 am —
Read "A Year in Provence" - it really takes you there! ;-)
laura on October 23, 2015 at 6:13 am —
So much fun, food and good times! We're green with envy. Lovely images and words!
Rob on October 22, 2015 at 10:56 am —
From the mouths of the master…I bow down! xo
laura on October 23, 2015 at 6:14 am —
Happy to see you up and running again. (Not that you ever were not.) Yes, the saucissons-secs at this time of year truly are an experience for the palate and the belly. I recall ones that, when sliced, revealed cross-sections of tawny hazelnut, while others were rolled in herbs for an anisic effect. The next time you go, head north into the Beaujolais and Bourgogne. In Beaune, they make a toothsome jambon blanc marbled with parsley. On a cool fall day, paired with a glass of even the meanest local villages chardonnay, it is an experience for the senses.
Vetivresse on October 22, 2015 at 11:07 am —
I'm already itching to go back! xo
laura on October 23, 2015 at 6:14 am —
Vive la birthday feast and to returning to the nest!
thefolia on October 22, 2015 at 2:03 pm —
Indeed! xo
laura on October 23, 2015 at 6:14 am —
Stunning photos! They engender a delightfully warm and peaceful spirit. C'est magnifique!
Anya on October 22, 2015 at 3:45 pm —
Merci bien!
laura on October 23, 2015 at 6:15 am —
Lovely! Envy! What a beautiful trip! My father is from Gardanne and I still have cousins in Aix, I keep saying I should go, I haven't been in many years. A Year in Provence is my family to a 'T'.
Tamika on October 23, 2015 at 1:37 pm —
Oh, lucky, lucky you! If I had a place to stay there, I would go every year...
laura on October 24, 2015 at 8:13 am —
wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, feasts, fiestas, fotos, fun and friends! fanatastic !
Bill Lutz on October 23, 2015 at 6:34 pm —
Fuckin' A! xo
laura on October 24, 2015 at 8:13 am —
Worth the wait for this update! Glorious!
Ginger on October 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm —
Oh Laura I'm so glad you're back and so sorry I didn't know you were in the South of France! It would have been so much fun to meet you! ( As I live in Montpellier it would have been possible...) I'm looking forward to reading your future posts!
alwayshungry on October 30, 2015 at 3:24 am —
Next time! I'll be back...
laura on November 3, 2015 at 12:16 pm —
I love you madly, Laura!
George on November 3, 2015 at 11:59 am —
Love you, baby. xo
laura on November 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm —
I just today reconnected with your blog after a long absence and so glad I did as the coverage of your trip to France was a truly fantastic view. I loved seeing how beautiful you are and learning about your happy life. I send you "enhorabuena" for all your successes and love from Virginia in Madrid.
Virginia Casenave on November 20, 2015 at 7:00 am —