If it’s Friday, it must be France …
I’ve been in France all week … well, okay, in my mind … and I know that’s not the same as actually being there in person. But almost … really … I’ve been working on my next novel for several hours every day and my characters are in France so of course I’m right with them.
We’ve been driving the winding backroads of the Luberon region in Provence,
hiking the hills, inhaling the aromatic fragrances of lavender, rosemary,thyme,
exploring the enticing warrens of ancient laneways in picturesque villages,
drinking perfectly chilled rosé
and, of course, enjoying the most amazingly delicious gastronomic interludes (i.e. eating – but that word just doesn’t cut it in France).
My DH kept encouraging me to take a break but I simply didn’t want to leave France. When I finally did surface to acknowledge I have another life and do some grocery shopping this afternoon, I had only one thing on my mind. BRIE!
There happens to be, what my friend Natalie Hartford would describe as an AHHHsomely, überlicious, epicurean emporium in our neighbourhood called The Cheese Boutique. Don’t let the name fool you, this place is magic (and will be the subject of a later post). If you ever want to feel like you have stepped into a shop in France, it’s right here. After immersing myself in all things Français this week, I couldn’t stop thinking about having a perfect slice – or two – of Brie.
I was rewarded. The rosé is chilling and as soon as I finish this post, I’m actually going to have a conversation with my DH and we will eat Brie. I’ve been kind of *absent* this week.
Here are a few facts you might find interesting:
Legend has it that in the eighth century, French Emperor Charlemagne first tasted this cheese at a monastery in Reuil-en-Brie and fell instantly in love with its creamy, rich flavor. The favorites of kings eventually become favorites of the people. Louis XVI’s last and dying wish was supposedly to have a final taste of Brie. Hmm – well it makes for a good story.
This soft cow’s cheese was originally referred to as the “King’s Cheese” but after the French Revolution any reference to “the king” was a major non-non so Brie was called the “King of Cheeses”.
Elena Aitken says
Lovely pictures! I wish I could go visit. And enjoy…brie…ummm
The brie was divine. Isn’t it wonderful how a taste can be so satisfying and take us on its own little journey.
Tameri Etherton says
I don’t just like this post, I love it. Ahhh, Brie. I’ve had a secret love affair with Brie for as long as I can remember. My daughter and I are the two cheese lovers in the family and we’ll go out of our way to find good cheese places around town. I wish I had a store like you do! Then again, my thighs are happy I don’t. There used to be a sweet place down in the village and they sold this amazing drunken goat cheese. Dang, now I want some cheese!
Love the pictures! Those sunflowers – are they the same ones I see each year during the Tour de France? What an enchanting area to explore.
Thanks Tameri. I am having such a good time with the story right now but in that setting, who wouldn’t? You and your daughter will enjoy some of the recipes I linked to and from the sound of it, you could probably add a few of your own!
Callene Rapp says
What a great post! I felt like I was right there with you and could almost taste the wine and Brie…
Thanks Callene! *sending you some*
Natalie Hartford says
Thank you for the uberliciously lovely shout out Patricia. Soooo nice!
The pictures…the brie…the wine! Love it! Ahhmazing! Brie is one of my favs. I enjoyed some on crusty bread with pasta last night and there is nothing like a baked brie with cranberries, pecans ans maple syrup to send your taste buds into climatic joy! LOL!
Have I mentioned, I love brie! LOL! FAB post darlin’!!
Mmmmm – your comment made me hungry for baked brie and it’s only breakfast time! When it comes to anything uberlicious who else would i think of? That word defines you!
Pat O'Dea Rosen says
Thanks for offering this francophile an oozing slice of nostalgia. Your photos are lovely and evocative.
That’s what I love to hear … join me on Fridays! Thanks for stopping by.
Stephanie Keyes says
My hubbie and I just loved your post. We were supposed to go to France for my honeymoon. However, I was married one month after September 11th and they were telling Americans no to go to foreign countries unless they were prepared not to speak English. We decided it was safer to cancel our trip. We’ve never made it there, but your imagination and experiences help me feel like I have.
How sad you had to cancel your trip but you can always plan another! I’m glad you are enjoying your armchair travels with me.
Nicole Basaraba says
I gotta say that since being in Europe I have expanded my taste in cheese and wine. Brie tastes pretty good on rain bread. 🙂
Nicole Basaraba says
I meant raisin bread. Opps
I’m sure you have! I’ll have to try the Brie and raisin bread … but I already know it will be magnifique! Thanks for stopping by.
I love your subtle sense of humour. I’m still chuckling. Loved the photos too. I’ve seen those lavender fields and could almost smell that lovely aroma again. Thanks for the trip!
Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. There’s something about memories of France that stay with us forever!
I meant to click the box to be notified of new posts, so I’ve clicked it now.
Looking forward to that future post on Cheese Boutique. I’m suggesting to make it ‘extra’ interesting that if you’d like to contact me I can offer a personalized tour of our vault? I know a Parmigiano-Reggiano or two that may want to take umbrage with the title ‘King of Cheese’.
Good read. Enjoy the rest of your trip!
Hey Alex – thanks for dropping by! I will definitely contact you … probably in a month or two. As you can tell, I LOVE your store and have shopped there for years! I even mentioned it in novel I’m working on at the moment!
I’m excited about your novel taking place in France! I love your pictures, especially the lavender fields…would love to smell that fragrance. I think I’ve only had Brie once and don’t quite remember it. Nat’s mention of baked Brie with cranberries, pecans and maple syrup sounds delicious! I’ll have to find a store that sells great Brie! Thanks, Patricia!
Check out the recipe link, Marcia. I think you will love some of them knowing what a great lady you are in the kitchen!
Evocative! Brings back memories of so many wonderful holidays in France over the years with my family. Thank you for ‘taking me back’ there Patricia – especially when it’s freezing here!
It’s not too warm there at the moment either, from what I hear! We’re having a milder winter in Toronto … bizarre! Put some logs on the fire and drink lots of hot toddies!
Mandy Baggot (@mandybaggot) says
OMG Patricia you won’t believe what an important role brie has in one of my next projects! Spooky! This was a brilliant piece and had me right there in France with you! Ooo I wish I was there right now – wine and cheese YUM!! Can’t wait to read it!
I can’t wait to see what that’s all about, Mandy!
Kelly Hashway says
I think I have to raise both hands. My husband tells me that when I’m writing a new manuscript, I ignore him completely. Sorry, honey! I can’t help myself. My characters are very demanding. Is there a support group for this? I may need one.
LOL! Fortunately you aren’t alone, Kelly. We writers are each other’s best support group!
Beverly Diehl says
Would love to visit Provence, and drink that rose. (And how, I wonder, without putting one’s mouth directly on the glass and slurping a bit first, would one do that without spilling?)
However, the lure of Brie escapes me. I’ve tried it several times, plain, on different substances, and… the rest of you may have my share of Brie, in perpetuity.
Love to visit those lavender fields though, and stroll the cafes.
LOL! So true about that glass of rosé. There is a fab restaurant in Les Tourrettes where the owner believes in filling your glass that full. A delicate slurp is indeed necessary! Perhaps you just haven’t met the right piece of Brie yet … don’t give up.
Kit Domino says
My fav cheese and wine, and lavender which I love, and fab pictures as well. Have never been to France. Think I might enjoy after reading this. Great post. Makes me think summer not really too far away. And you’ve just reminded me of a recipe for brie. Now I know what to do for lunch. Thank you Patricia. X
Thanks Kit! I hope you enjoyed your lunch.:-)
Thank you for the insiders’ character walk. Those are nice visuals and a good idea to share as you write and after publication. I wish I, at least, had a minor role in your book to go to Paris too. I’ve been twice and loved it.
I’m glad you enjoyed it the interlude. Oh yes, Paris is hard not to love, isn’t it?