January 10, 2008

A Morning in the South of France

The chill in the air and the smell of wood burning in fireplaces are what first hit me when I step outside to make a quick trip to the épicerie.
Our village lost its boulangerie several years ago, but the owner of the épicerie, Marie Thérèse, has bread delivered every morning. Baguettes, gros pain (a fatter, larger baguette) and croissants. Not the best choice, but perfect when I don't want to get in the car and drive five miles to the nearest bakery. She opens at 9 am and if you're not there by 10, the croissants are all gone.
Needless to say, we don't eat many croissants.


The gros pain has a soft, puffy interior which is much friendlier to the roof of your mouth than the baguettes, which have an ultra crispy, crunchy crust and a far too airy crumb for our taste.
The best thing to do is to be organized, plan ahead and reserve our bread and croissants so they'll be waiting for us when we finally meander down there to pick them up. We just don't plan from day to day if we'll be making the trip into town or not, other than Tuesday which is Market Day. Another good reason to bake my own bread!

Ideally, most of my writing is done in the morning, after a strong cup of coffee and either some plain yogurt drizzled with our local beekeeper's miel de garrigue or a croissant, but as I already said, we don't eat a lot of those!
Around 11 a.m. the dogs get restless and want a walk - I think they keep time by the church bells that chime every hour. If it's raining like it has been the last couple of days, I fake them out by putting on their leashes and opening the door. They put one paw on the damp ground and quickly draw it back, dismayed at the thought of wet paws. It cracks me up. They're such little prima donnas!

Then before I know it, it's time to get some lunch together. Lunch is usually our largest meal of the day and I love looking at recipes in the morning, trying new French dishes, as well as keeping our Indian, Thai, Italian, Chinese and Mexican cravings satisfied.

Life is pretty tranquil in our little French village. But like anywhere, time passes far too quickly!

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