Mushroom Festival in St. Agnes
Last Sunday we set off for the tiny village of St. Agnes on the Cote d’Azur, perched high above Menton and the Mediterranean Sea. When we were getting groceries at the Casino (a French grocery chain) the day before, I had spied a little card advertising a mushroom festival up there, and we adore mushrooms.
It took nearly an hour to wind our way up to St. Agnes, with countless hairpin curves and fabulous vistas. When just about there, we noticed a sign saying St. Agnes is the highest ‘litteral village’ in Europe (meaning the highest village within 3 kilometers of the sea). Wow! Parts of the top of the village were actually in the clouds!
The festival was low key but in full swing, taking place in the town hall. A remarkable display of some 100 varieties of wild mushrooms greeted us; all gathered that morning by local mycologists. Mushrooms of every imaginable shape and color were arranged around a 30-foot long table. (more…)
Savoring the Flavors of the French and Italian Riviera
with Patricia Ravenscroft
Preparing borage and spinach ravioli
Imagine immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, aromas and tastes of the French (Cote d’Azur) and Italian (Riviera Dei Fiori) Riviera, the heart of the Mediterranean at its very best. Unlike any other earthly paradise, the Riviera is filled with abundant sunshine, soft, refreshing breezes, exquisite gardens and dramatically perched villages overlooking the brilliant blue Mediterranean sea. The food is heavenly as well. The Ligurians and the Niçois devour the lightest ravioli, gnocchi, and fettucine dressed with pesto, a creamy gorgonzola sauce, or often simply with a perfectly ripe fresh tomato sauce. The region is rich in fruits and vegetables, including delicious peaches, pears, figs, artichokes, wild greens, olives, fava beans and tomatoes. The citrus fruits grown around Menton are legendary and basil is the region’s heraldic leaf, with sage and borage close behind. And, of course, the Riviera is known for its succulent, fresh crustaceans and fish, notably langoustine, dorade, loup, sardines, calamari and shrimp. (more…)