French ponderings.....

French ponderings.....
Dreaming of France in The Land Down Under.......

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A reminder of France in the land down under./La France en Australie


I had a lovely 'reminder of France' this week, here on the Gold Coast. Normally one would have to look hard to find a store like Creative Tea, Broadbeach Qld  in our 'sand and surf' zone, but there it was in the Oasis shopping centre, and certainly like an Oasis to me, anyway!


It is a lovely 'high tea' and gift boutique, spacious, peaceful and oh so pretty. The staff were sweet and attentive, and  the food and  coffee were great! (I know, it's a Tea House, but I needed a caffeine hit) 

Love these wall prints featuring icons of Paris (and had to laugh at the 'Parents for sale' sign!)




I am a sucker for any chandeliers or wrought iron pieces, and so want this Eiffel tower blossom divider!






Gorgeous mirrors, clocks, scrumptious edibles  ....and another satisfied customer :)





Frou Frou umbrellas, just love them! 





How pretty is this Parisian set of  cups, canisters and plates???





I would be happy with just the set of plates! Gorgeous!!






But what of Tea Houses in France???  There is a very famous company named "Les Mariages Freres", founded in 1854  and based in Paris. They stock teas from around the world.

Storefront of one of the stores in  Paris

Signature tea tins.

Store interior



Monsieur setting up for the day.....


Practise your french and learn about 'Les Mariages Freres' at the same time with video below...



Then of course there is 'Laduree' tea rooms, famous for their ....


delicious Macaroons..


adorable packaging..

and alluring window fronts...

in pretty pastels.....


Last but not least, there is always Angelina's to pop into after trekking around the Louvre, why not, its just across the road....




I happened  upon  the  Angelina's tea room in Gallery Lafayette,which made for a beautifully peaceful morning tea , away from the crazed shoppers, but I haven't tried the original ...it looks gorgeous....but with all those people, it could hardly be peaceful....is there anyone out there who could share their 'Angelina' experience?..........

Rather grand looking, isn't it???



Famous for the best hot chocolate in Paris, they say... Looks good!


Angelina's new store


Well I don't know about you, but I have an urge for a cup of tea!

A bientôt, Gigi  :)


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dégustation - 1




I don't know about you, but I was brought up on 'meat and three veges', but the french truly enjoy long, leisurely meals, especially on a Sunday. They savour tasting after tasting of small servings , this on going meal being called a dégustation. In 1999 I was fortunately able to partake in one such meal at the gorgeous  restaurant in the Medieval Château d'Igé, near Mâcon, south of Paris.



The room in which  'le déjeuner' (lunch) was served, was beautifully rich in color, and toasty warm from the fire...



We were served one plate after the other,with wine to match of course. This being the first time my friend and I had experienced such a meal, we  were wondering how we could keep going, but we managed beautifuly!

 I remember clearly  how delicious it all was , the amazing french wines , plus the fact that we cancelled our dinner reservation!   It cost a fortune, but to be honest there wasn't a lot more to do in this little village but to  eat and drink.....a perfect place to spend a honeymoon perhaps?? :)

Anyway....I got off the track of what I was going to talk about...oh yes..tastings! I thought I would share with you  a VERY easy french starter to an all afternoon lunch...



This is a handmade journal I purchased, and whenever I try out a new french dish that works..it goes in here... hard for this dish NOT to work!


This is the recipe I am sharing today :)... its so so simple, it's almost embarrassing! But tastes fresh and  delicious, with provencal flavors.   Ready????

place ripe tomatos on a platter

Add red onion rings
Add crumbled fetta

Season and add the chopped basil.



Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar....and ENJOY !


                                    Not exactly french restaurant standard, but it is mine!!
 
A bientôt, Gigi. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wineries/Les vignobles

This year I have decided to search out and enjoy all sorts of 'french experiences' right here in the land down under...

I made a start last weekend by  visiting a local winery...well it was an hours' drive away, but I didn't have to take a 2 day trip across the world!

But first some 'pics' to compare....


Last May, the 'travelling bridesmaids' and I went for a beautiful Sunday stroll along the tiny winding roads of Cassis,  southern  France.  We thought we would try a wine tasting, have lunch..you know  how it goes....well the walk was fabulous, the scenery amazing...but none were open to the public!  It seems that tourism doesn't come into play with french vineyards..(these ones anyway) .I think it must be all too serious a business for  that!




I just love how the olive trees are planted around the vines...so ...provencal!



ahhh, the beautiful french countryside....




then on another walk around Montmartre, in Paris..we accidentally came across a sight I had long read about but never seen....Paris 'last remaining vineyard..in amongst all the old buildings...in fact a grape harvest festival  has been held here every October since 1934.




Ok..now for the Oz version....



Albert River Winery, Canungra , Qld. (pardon the reflection!)







Tasting room.



Grapes ripening....


ahh the awesome aussie landscape...



Cool veranda to enjoy, the food, wine and singing duo...what more could we ask for? 


Wedding functions are held here too.....what a beautiful outlook for an aussie  wedding.... 

So there were no olive trees or provencal mas to be found...but it really was a lovely afternoon, and I DID drink bubbly for the french effect!

Ok, so what will be my next  'french experience' down under? Any ideas?

A bientôt,  Gigi


Monday, January 7, 2013

My french gifts/ Mes cadeaux francais

My family and friends know me so well......here are some of the lovely 'frenchy' gifts I received for Christmas.


Can one ever have too many ' Tours Eiffel'????





Each year some darling gives me a 'french' calender, a fab gift as it gives me continual  joy  throughout the year! Glad this year was  photos of Provence, as I am planning a trip  there in September...yaay!!!




I have a 'thing' for books that tell tales (fiction or non fiction) of living in France, be it about  the beautiful city of lights and love, or the  laid back life of the country. 'Summers in France' is  a delight to read, if only for the charming layout of each page. See here Summers in France




I enjoyed several of these over the Christmas break....love the fact I can purchase a Côtes du Rhône' at the bottom of my street!



I purchased 3 of these little cute mousepads , one for me and one each for the 'travelling bridesmaids' , with whom I shared an amazing trip through France last year...thought it a sweet reminder... I purchased it from the fabulous Sue from French Affair She has some lovely french goodies at  her online store, so check it out!




Last but not least, I was lucky enough to be given L'Occitane's award winning range of Divine facial creams. Love them!!

So, all in all, even though I wasn't in France,  my Christmas was still a little 'frenchy'!


I wonder what little french moments are around the corner for me in 2013......

A bientôt, Gigi

ps. I apologise for some  unclear photos