Putting on the Nines {happy birthday!

My heart is like a singing bird…
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me
.

                                 ~Christine Rosseti

more rare than a blue moon

Some say it is special because it is a trinumeral day —  09 09 09 — and it doesn’t come around very often. Not even as often as a blue moon. I think a special guy who is celebrating his 09 09 09 birthday with me is even more rare.

9 days of birthdays

So, what does one do to make  a 09 09 09  birthday special for my dear one . . . especially, when it is mine, too? Friends and colleauges share a plethera of fabulous ideas for a festive and memorable celebration. Hmmm…what ideas are doable and on a frugalist budget? The “Nine Days of Birthdays” — similiar to the “12 Days of Christmas”  — is the result of one highly-productive evening gathering of astute minds.

nine_days_of_birthdayv2

On the first day of nine birthdays  . . . one love poem

Day 2 — Two  Godiva turtle chocolates

Day 3 – Three Coins in a Fountain: three gold coins to toss in one of the fountains at Rose Cottage, and coins tossed in Rome’s Trevi Fountain by a friend

Day 4 – A dazzling four-leaf clover from a lass who is a wee bit of Irish

Day 5 –  Framed favorite photo from a dreamy trip to Cinque Terre, Italy with the purple and pink sunset over the Mediterranean Sea in the background

Day 6 – Six voluptuous peach roses each saying “I love you” in a different languages

Day 7 – Seven “Lucky Nines” lotto cards

Day 8 – Eight different birthday songs

Day 9 – Nine little gifts throughout the day at nine minutes past the hour

 I want to be an artist
To paint pictures just for you,
So when each birthday comes around,
I can send you quite a few.

                                   ~Anonymous

Happy birthday to my true love, soul mate and best friend! I am so glad to share MY birthday with you, too!

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Filed under Family

Fall Nesting {summer in a jar

The late summer garden has a tranquility

found no other time of year.

                                                              ~William Longgood

time for change

September is my favorite time of the year . . . the air is crisp, clear and fresh . . . the early morning and evening lighting is more enhanced as the angle of the sun changes . . . and fall colors are starting to emerge on the trees. Just this week, glimmers of vibrant reds and golden yellows sporadically dot the sugar maples and sumacs along our river town. The colors are promising to be a gorgeous contrast to the vibrant greens enjoyed throughout the summer.

Amur Maple FAV

I think about September as a time of change. It is a time of change in that new creative ideas and goals for the months ahead can be made. One way of change is to decorate for fall — simple ideas that make a home feel welcoming, warm and cozy. Jenny Wren needs a little update to celebrate fall around one of her many houses at Rose Cottage. Don’t you think her nest looks quite autumnal bedecked with broom corn?

Wren House and broom corn FAV 3

What fall decorations are you adding to welcome friends and family to your front door?

time of preparation

September is also a time of preparing and preserving the summer garden produce for the months ahead. I really feel that I am “nesting” as I put fresh vegetables and fruit in jars to be enjoyed in the months ahead or give as gifts with family and friends.

Marybeth shared a few of her antique canning jars with me — some are from 1858! I think about all the women (and men) who “put food up” for the winter months in these amazing hand-blown glass jars. I wonder what their lives were like as they began their fall nesting . . .

Ball and Jewell FAV

Canadian Jewel FAV

Green Ball Jar and Strawberries

Jewel lid FAV

While the dark olive green Ball is perfectly beautiful and rare, and the Canadian Jewel is a real treasure, I still am quite drawn to the lovely blue canning jars — all in various shades from a robin’s egg blue to cobalt. 

 Four Blue Canning Jars

1858 MASon and other antique blues with roses

EZ Seal Antique and Cobalt Blue FAV 1

1858 Mason FAV

Nov 30 1858 CLOSE FAV

While preserving and “putting food by” is a bit of work, it is immensely satisfying to see the glimmering jars of golden peaches, red tomatoes, perfectly sliced pickles, and an array of  jeweled jams and jellies lining the pantry shelves.

Pickled onions and bird FAV

Jeweled Raspberry Jelly FAV

Sweet Baby Crock Pickles

Crab Apple Pickles

Best Ketchup EVER FAV

Sometimes, I go down to the pantry cellar, turn on the overhead light and just admire the gifts of summer. 

Strawberry Jam

For me, canning or preserving is like putting summer in a jar to enjoy when the north winds howl and temperatures are well-below zero — just a few months away!

Peaches

Do you put a bit of summer in a jar? Do you have a favorite to preserve?

Perfect Seal and Brown eyed Susan FAV

You may also enjoy reading Beautiful Berries and Brambles and Antique Mason Jars {before and after.

This is also posted at Twice Remembered,  The Inspired Room,  A Southern Daydreamer and Designs by Gollum.

30 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Gardening, Home, Homekeeping, preserving

Charming French Shutters

You are the ray of sunshine in my life;

Flowers bloom in my heart each time we are together. . . 

I shutter to think what I would do without you.

                                                                                         ~unknown

Oooh . . . lala! J’adore French shutters! Aren’t they simply charming?

Septfonds house FAV 3

While shutters served utilitarian purposes over the centuries — keeping out inclement weather and providing protection from the enemy — I think they add so much spaciousness and beauty to homes. Don’t you?

Septfonds house and grapevines FAV

Many of the shutters in southwest France are typically painted gorgeous shades of azure to a robin’s egg blue. Most frequently, the paint pigment used in these shutters is derived from the woad plant — a softer, earlier “sibling” to indigo.

cordes shutters FAV

cordes nd metal decoration FAV

The woad paint and dye are very durable and help protect the wood from the ravages of insects and weather. Wouldn’t it be positively charming to have shutters painted these lovely shades of blue?

Door Shutters Dumas FAV

 carriage house and shutter with window box FAV

light blue shutters FAV

Shutters Dumas 5 Hinge FAV 1

Shutters Dumas 4 FAV 2 

shutter latch dumas 1

Will you stroll with me through a few French villages in the southwest Mediterrean region? We can admire and enjoy the charming shutters together .

brown wood shutters cordes FAV

Cordes shutters and metal railing on balcony FAV

cordes and window box with pink geraniums FAV

small dark brown shutter FAV

Septfonds street FAV

Septfonds house FAV1

 

gray shutters cordes and vine FAV

old-Cordes FAV

green shutters cordes FAV

What are your favorite shutters?

stained shutters and lace curtains FAV

 Pot of salvias on window ledge FAV

You may also enjoy these other recent posts: 

French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

Bon Appetite!

French Millinery Magic

POST NOTE — Upcoming Millinery Masterclass!

 Another Millinery Masterclass is scheduled at the superb 18th-century Chateau Dumas September 26-October 3 in southwest France! Even if you have never made a hat before, the adventures of hatmaking under the expertise of former Royal Milliner Dillon Wallwork are not to be missed!

The tutor is  former Royal milliner, Dillon Wallwork who for nearly a quarter of a century designed hats for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales as part of the team at world famous milliners Philip Somerville.

 So whether the goal is a chic shoulder-spanning hat to turn heads or a coquettish cocktail hat with a mysterious veil, or something much more practical . . .  Toulouse is the starting point, Chateau Dumas the luxury base and Dillon the expert.  As Dillon says: “A well-chosen, stylish hat works wonders. Whether it’s men opening doors for you, getting a table at a busy restaurant or just keeping warm in winter, wearing a hat gets you noticed – people will say ‘Who’s that?’ Men just love to be with a woman in a glorious hat.”

Want more information about Chateau Dumas and

the Millinery Masterclass?

 Contact Lizzie, the Chatelaine de Dumas.

Wondering what others are adoring? Find out at Julia’s Hooked on Houses. You may want to stroll over to see some outdoor ideas at A Southern Daydreamer.

29 Comments

Filed under France, Home, Travel

Market Fresh Treasures

It’s difficult to think

anything but pleasant thoughts

when eating a homegrown tomato!

                                              ~Lewis Grizzard

saturday morning ritual

The first glimmering rays of the early morning sun filter through the pines and ancient maples — the sun is just rising over the river valley. The cool morning mist lingers a bit, but is slowly lifting across the meadow below Rose Cottage. I look out a bedroom window. A doe and her offspring — a fawn still with mottled spots — are laying in the dewy meadow grass under the cedar trees. The chickadees, gold finches and cardinals are eating breakfast seeds at the feeders outside the kitchen windows. Boisterous Bob The Rooster proclaims to the world that it is another new day, and “it’s the early bird that catches the worm — so get out of bed you sleepy head!”

saturday morning

In the summertime, it is off to the farmers market in the capitol city — truly a highlight of each Saturday. My Favorite Son, recovering at home following his surgery, joins me on the early morning market adventure to gather the freshest, local produce. How sweet it is! Soon the sights of covered market stalls come into view.

market vendor 1FAV

market vendor 2 FAV

The market growers stalls are filled with a plethera of seasonal produce — brillant green romano beans, purple and yellow onions, perfect green peppers, aubergine and soft pink eggplant, lush red raspberries, golden corn with the silk still fresh and tender, heirloom Italian zucchini, yellow and green pattypan squash, crisp English cuccumbers . . . the fragrance of fresh produce is envigorating and fills the early morning air. Superb aromatherapy.

heirloom tomato and blueberries FAV

tomatoes and cauliflower

 apples and pear 2 FAV

sweet mama 2

corn

eggplant 2

Friendly “good mornings’” are exchanged as the market bustles with liveliness. The rays of the early morning sun brings some of the vegetable offerings to center stage — as if under spotlights. Ah, the tomatoes!

Cauliflower and tomotoes with sunlight FAV

Peppers and Beans FAV

The aroma of freshly-brewed peace coffee calls to the Favorite Son. The steamy dark roast brew fills his mug . . . a sip . . . a smile . . . and his eyes are opened! Now, we can continue on to visit some of our favorite market growers.

coffee FAV

a few favorites

Mark Christopher brings outstanding produce and product from the Maple Leaf Orchard to the market each Saturday. In March, Mark and Sue produce gorgeous amber maple syrup in their sugarbush when the sap starts to flow in their maples just across the river. “I have the dark, full-bodied syrup this morning — your favorite,” Mark says. A half-gallon goes into the market basket . . . Who can resist?

Mark and Maple Syrup FAV

 

Maple Syrup FAV 2

Mark reminds us it will be a good late afternoon for picking pie (sour) cherries at his orchard across the river. I ask, “will your new cherry pitter from Michigan’s Upper Pennisula be working?” Mark replies wholeheartedly and is confident we will shave hours off of the hand-pitting alternative. I am eager for the cherry picking later today, and cherry jam and jelly making tomorrow.

Cheeries and Honey FAV

Sour Cheeries Marks FAV

aromatherapy

Next stop is at Dan and Meryl’s herbs. Rub and sniff the distinctive fragrance of thyme, rosemary and lemon verbena. The yellow and red flowering maples are in this week. Sniff some more aromatic herbs.

red flowering maple FAV

yellow flowering maple FAV

Meryl learns that the Favorite Son wants to plant another pot of herbs for his house. She excitedly asks, “how do you want to use them?” A few quick recipes are exchanged between the two. Dan shows me a few treasured culinary lavender he brought in for us from last week’s request. Rub and sniff some more. . .  sweet memories of dream trip to France return . Several of the lavender are placed in my market basket. The Favorite Son proudly carries his tray of herbs to the car.

Thyme 1 FAV

more favorites 

We visit Otis Family Farms market stall down the same aisle for a few fresh cuts of pasture-feed meats. This stall is also one of the highlights with the flavored honey sticks — especially for those with a sweet tooth. Usually, a long line forms.

Otis and Maple Leaf Signs

eggs

honey sticks

bountiful gifts

More visits to other favorite vendors. The produce is gorgeous and bountiful . . . I am a little girl in a candy store! What would you like to take home in your market basket?

beets FAV

Cabbabe FAV

 bok choy FAV

eggplant FAV

garlic and tomatoes FAV

green onions FAV

onions red FAV

pickle cukes FAV

potatoes FAV

raspberries FAV

jeweled bouquets

The crowds start to arrive. We are finished with our weekly gathering of fresh treasures. One last item on the list — a bouquet of golden jewels. Aren’t they spectacular? Which bouquet shall we take home? I think all of them would be quite lovely, don’t you?

flowers and shoppers FAV

colorful bouquet2 FAV 2

colorful bouquet FAV 1

dahlia FAV 1

lilies FAV2

sunflowers

Flowers always make people better,

happier, and more helpful; they are

sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.

                                                         ~Luther Burbank

Rose Cottage Cooks! is coming soon

We are creating some fabulous cooking adventures at Rose Cottage Gardens and Farm using mainly locally produced and seasonal foods. Watch for our first batches of “Cheery Cherry Jam” from cherries picked this afternoon at Maple Leaf Orchard. The Favorite Son will be sharing his fabulous home made pizza and other baked goods.

Hope you will like some of these tasty treats . . .and will share your recipes, joy of cooking and the fun in sharing meals with others, too! Stop by in a few days for a link to the new site.

What is your favorite recipe using market or garden fresh produce? 

We would be delighted if you shared a recipe in the comments section below.

Post note: Special thanks to the Favorite Son for all the photography at the market this morning!

Be sure to visit A Southern Daydreamer for more outdoor musings.

See what other’s are “hooked on” at Julia’s Hooked on Houses, and find out more about Melissa’s inspiring beauty at The Inspired Home.

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Filed under Cooking, farmers markets, Gardening, preserving

Memories of France

God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December.

~James Matthew Barrie, Scottland 1922

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. This is the last in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Thank you, my dear friends, for following along on this dream trip to southwest France.)

time to say “au revoir”

The clocks are ticking too quickly. There is still so much to see and do, but the Chateau Dumas masterclass in the little village of Auty is ending. Wouldn’t it be lovely to stay a bit longer? What a fantastic time we would have together!

clock faces FAV

What shall we do together if we have more time in this lovely French countryside? 

Would you like to enjoy another cup of café au lait at a sidewalk cafe in the sweet village of Caussade?

Cafe au lait

Sample another freshly-baked baguette or other delectable French pastry? Shall we take some bread home with us?

Pastry shop

croissant FAV

Bread bags FAV

Or travel the countryside to other quaint midieval villages?

Cordes FAV 2

Cordes FAV

Balcony FAV

13th cent house cordes FAV

 window, curtain and pot 

Meander the centuries-old cobble streets and see what adventures we may discover or people we may meet?

cobble street in cordes FAV

Do a little shopping at French boutiques and shops?

wine shop FAV 1

Wine shop FAV 2

Boutique

Relax in gorgeous gardens amongst the roses and explore beyond the garden gates?

Bench with lichen FAV

climbing roses close dumas

Pink Roses FAV

Curved Teak Dumas FAV

to south garden2

Enjoy just one more bit of a tasty French morsel?

First Course FAV

rustic apricot pie

Alas, it is 7 a.m. and the car is packed from floor to ceiling. Hat boxes are carefully held on our laps. One last whiff of the heavenly lavender as we drive on the gravel road . . . through the courtyard . . . under the portico . . . and down the tree-lined driveway.

Lavender gardens fav 1

chateau dumas 3 under portico fav

Just down the road, up the hill and around the corner in the tiny little village of Auty, Jo is waiting at the corner to wish the first small group of travelers goodbye  — she seems so French on the bike with the wicker basket. Cheerful au revoirs are quickly exchanged as we pass by.

Racing on to Toulouse . . .

la violette de toulouse

Toulouse may be la ville rose (the pink city, so named for the rosy color of its brick buildings), but its traditional flower is the highly-fragrant double violet — Toulouse’s particular strain of Parma violet, la violette ‘Parme de Toulouse’. There is much ado about the sweetly scented, gorgeous medium purple blossom grown by flower market growers just north of the city since the 1800’s. 

violet sign

I learn that celebrations are held every year in February — when everything is accentuated with violets and the allure of it’s deep fragrance fills the air — so much so that it is impossible to resist purchasing a bouquet of the little purple beauties at the market. In celebration of the violet, even amazing fresh food are created as only the French can do — such as breads, bonbons, gateaus, salad dressings and more. Well . . . all of this is at least what my driver told me when first arriving in Toulouse. Maybe, we should return in February for the festivals to enjoy it first-hand? What fun we would have!

I find a few small jars of la violette de Toulouse and violet tea to tuck into the last small corner of the suitcase.

violet sugar FAV

Violet syrup FAV

Violette tea and tea cup

Violette The FAV 1

 

Violette Products FAV 1

roses

Time to pack all the wonderful memories . . . they shall be roses . . .

Italian Rose FAV

 hats and hat boxes

Thank you all my dear friends for joining me on this lovely dreamy trip to southwest France. I am so glad we could travel together in this beautiful countryside. Let’s plan to go again, shall we? Chateau Dumas next summer?

You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.

~C.S. Lewis

Follow along on the other memories of Chateau Dumas and the Millinery Masterclass at: 

 French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

Bon Appetite!

French Millinery Magic

POST NOTE — Upcoming Millinery Masterclass!

 Another Millinery Masterclass is scheduled at the superb 18th-century Chateau Dumas September 26-October 3 in southwest France! Even if you have never made a hat before, the adventures of hatmaking under the expertise of former Royal Milliner Dillon Wallwork are not to be missed!

The tutor is  former Royal milliner, Dillon Wallwork who for nearly a quarter of a century designed hats for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales as part of the team at world famous milliners Philip Somerville.

 So whether the goal is a chic shoulder-spanning hat to turn heads or a coquettish cocktail hat with a mysterious veil, or something much more practical . . .  Toulouse is the starting point, Chateau Dumas the luxury base and Dillon the expert.  As Dillon says: “A well-chosen, stylish hat works wonders. Whether it’s men opening doors for you, getting a table at a busy restaurant or just keeping warm in winter, wearing a hat gets you noticed – people will say ‘Who’s that?’ Men just love to be with a woman in a glorious hat.”

Want more information about a dream trip to Chateau Dumas and the Millinery Masterclass?

 Contact Lizzie, the Chatelaine de Dumas.

 

 

 

See what other’s are “hooked on” at Julia’s Hooked on Houses, and find out more about Melissa’s inspiring beauty at The Inspired Home.

Be sure to visit A Southern Daydreamer for more outdoor musings.

32 Comments

Filed under crafts, France, Gardening, millinery, Travel, Vintage

French Millinery Magic

Happiness in not in the mere possession of money;

it lies in the joy of achievement

in the thrill of creative effort.

~Franklin. D. Roosevelt

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. Please allow time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the eigth in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along?)

the studio

Chateau Dumas is spectacular. What could be more dreamy than a breathtaking “Monet-esque” 1700’s chateau overlooking the Impressionistic French countryside, meals created around superbly fresh Mediterrean bounty from local markets, lovely gardens, soothing lavender fragrances filling the air and a carriage house atelier dedicated for the millinery masterclass? Heavenly! It is the pefect foil for unleashing creativity long-dormant.

carriage house studio facing east2

Carriage House FAV

southeast carriage house stairs FAV

The second story of the 18th-century carriage house is home for the creative studio. Won’t you come up the east stairs with me to the atelier?

The millinery atelier is filled with all the paraphernalia for the masterclass — new and pristine vintage machines, solid wood hat molds, steamers, bolts of hat material, feather trimings, rolls of antique French ticking, and bits of trims, laces, mother of pearl buttons — all so inspiring. There are a few stunning straw hats beautifully displayed on antique hand-turned wooden hat stands.  I am totally smitten with the vintage sewing machine and the French ticking and trims! Simply lovely! 

Frister Rossman 2

wood brims and crowns FAV

studio hat making

 

colored petersham and osterich feathers FAV

sinnamay Color Card FAV

straw cones FAV

Hat feathers 1

willy's hat 3

the master teacher

The reason for all this swooning over this gorgeous French region and the chateau you ask? A millinery “artist-in-residence” week course taught by master milliner, Dillon Wallwork. Dillon has dazzled women with his spectacular hat creations, and has made them look gorgeous for at least 25 years. As a royal milliner to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, his creative designs have been seen on covers of magazines and newspapers around the world. Dillon was the hatmaker-in-chief to Princess Diana, and has created hats for numerous other heads-of-state. He effortlessly creates breathtaking hats — hats and hatmaking are Dillon.Whew! What a pedigree! I am pinching myself to be learning from one of the best.

Dillon is a superb designer and master teacher. His knowledge and expertise about hatmaking are beyond compare. He nimbly works millinery magic with the simpliest or the most eleborate materials. It is with a bit of trepidation that I begin the intense and intimate-sized masterclass. Soon, the concerns are allayed . . . the teacher is a master indeed! He deftly provides kind, patient and expert instruction to those who have never even seen a hat being constructed  (c’est moi!). Yet, guides those with experience to the next skill level in hatmaking.

Dillon and Gabriel FAV

the masterclass

Dillon instructs and demonstrates the step-by-step process of hatmaking. My vocabulary expands to include new terms like panning, sinamay, hoods, sisal, parasisal and blocking. I learn that hatmaking is a very labor-intensive artistic craft, and has 10-12 discrete steps before the head is crowned with a chapeau!

The first step is covering the wood crown and brim blocks with ordinary plastic wrap. Yes, the kind found in your kitchen pantry. The plastic wrap makes it easier to remove the crown and brim shapes once dry. Then a wet, sturdy netting is put over the crown to give the hat finish and stability.

wood brim and plastic FAV

netting over block

The hat material (either straw or sinamay for this masterclass) are dampened and stretched over the wood molds.

Putting Sinemay on Wood Brim block FAV

I use a lovely black straw and a fantastic natural straw that was woad-dyed the week priorIsn’t the blue naturally-dyed straw from the woad plant simply gorgeous?!  It is from a centuries-old dying process made from the woad plant soley indigenous to this French region. It is a fascinating process of how the fabric dyes yellow, turns green once taken out of the cauldren and it comes in contact with oxygen, and then becomes the loveliest of blues in moments.

Black hat on wood block FAV

woad blue strawFAV 2

 Straight pins, thumb tacks and string help hold the straw in place in order to keep the shape of the hat once dried.

 

woad blue straw 5 FAV 4

Champagne hat block FAV

After the straw has dried on the wood mold, it is “panned” — carefully ironed to give it a natural artistic sheen. It is then gently removed from the wood mold using a white plastic bone (similar to corset boning in costume design).

Panning FAV

brim off of block FAV

Stitching by hand, the crown and brim are attached to one another. A petersham ribbon is carefully hand-stitched — using a nearly invisible tiny stitch to the inside of where the crown and brim are attached. The brim of the hat is trimed or turned over and neatly stitched.

Adding Petersham to black straw FAV

Dillon instructs on making beautiful organdie roses. The edges of the organdie are effortlessly hand-rolled. Then, the organdie is magically shaped into gorgeous rosettes as if they are just picked from the garden. Dillon demonstrates the “prunning” and shaping of ostrich, duck, pheasant and other feathers to create fascinating designs to embellish hats. I love how feathers are curled — much like making curly ribbon bows for packages — with the blade of a scissors. Trimmings are added to the hat to finish it off, and making each hat truly one-of-a kind. 

Hand rolled organdie roses FAV

black hat and organdie roses FAV 1

special visitors

The millinary masterclass is thrilled to have Carol and Nigel Denford editors and publishers of The Hat Magazine out of London visit the class and learn about our progress in hatmaking. Their visit is quite lovely.

Carol (Hat Magazine) and Claudia

dreamy hats

We each make at least one complete hat. Some make more. The hats are all created uniquely, and there is a deep sense of accomplanishment. Stunning!

Claudia's Tango Hat FAV

Cathy's Hat FAV

Katie's Hat FAV

Naomi and Laurie FAV

My nights are filled with dreams of attending more millinary masterclasses to be offered in the fall and summer. A girl can hope . . .

The final lovely sights of  a once-in-lifetime dream trip to France are just around the corner.

à bientôt mes amis!

Won’t you journey with me awhile on this amazing trip in a gorgeous countryside chateau? Other adventures are at: 

 French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

Bon Appetite!

12 Comments

Filed under crafts, France, millinery, Sewing, Travel

Bon Appetit!

Find something you are passionate about and

keep tremendously interested in it.

                                                   ~ Julia Child 

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. Please allow time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the seventh in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along?)

artisan samplings

In the true Mediterrean style, dining al fresco prevails at Chateau Dumas. The polished terra cotta terrace just off the chateau’s dining room is perfect foil for leisurely watching the interplay of summer light and color as the sun quietly sets over the tapestry of the French countryside. The simplicity of the centuries-old terrace allows the dramatic beauty of this Mediterrean region to take center stage.

Terrace view

Dinner on the Terrace 2

In celebration of some of southwest France’s finest offerings, sommelier Laurent Zimmerman presents a cheese, bread and wine tasting. Ah, what can be more lovely than the bread and the freshest cheeses of the region?  The warm bread aroma is amazing.

Laurent welcomes the Chateau’s guests with warm French enthusiasm, and tells of the sampling process for the evening. The goat cheese samples are served with the white wine. The red wine is accompanied by the cheese from cow’s milk. The charming Chatelaine de Dumas effortlessly provides interpretation for those of us less fluent in French. I am quite grateful.

Laurent 2

Laurent 3

Laurent

The tasting is quite an International event amongst our tiny band of travelers. Laurent’s stories are translated from French to English by the adept Chatelaine Lizzie. Then, a generous traveler translates into Spanish, and another traveler translates into German. A five nation tasting–quite amazing! Laurent pauses and listens attentively… to English … to Spanish … to German. Travelers ask questions. The questions are translated from Spanish or German to English — then to French. Laurent responds in French . . . Yes! it is rather lively and colorful!

The regional goat cheeses are featured first. Each of the hand-crafted artisan cheeses are to be eaten in a specific order ranging from mild to more pungent. The delicious cheese variety samples are quite unique in flavor and vary in texture from one another.  Most of the cheese varieties have edible rinds, including one excellent cheese with an splendid ash rind. In particular, the Chevre du Quercy is an outstanding local artisan variety, and is a favorite of our merry band of travelers.

Laurent and Goat Cheese Sample

 Next, stories about the cheeses made from cow’s milk are presented. Some of the cheeses are both beloved and reviled for their earthy aroma. They are all outstanding. Mais, j’adore le fromage.

More cheese

Goat Cheese FAV 2

The evening’s sampling includes tastes of three speciality breads of the region–multi-grain, walnut and whole grain fig. While all are delicious, the fig bread is amazing and is made from fresh figs gathered locally. I consider how to slip a few loaves of the fig bread into my luggage for the return trip–the bread is spectacular! Alas, maybe some for breakfast tomorrow? A quest for a fig bread recipe lies ahead. Ideas?

Fig Bread FAV

 Goat Cheese and Bread Sample

sweet endings

It is nearly 9:00 p.m. — time for the evening meal following a brief intermezzo from the superb tastings on this picturesque summer eve. A plethora of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are offered for the evening meal. Mediterrean cooking is quite wonderful — I feel so healthy.  The finale of tonight’s meal is an amazing fruit creation.

The adorable and incredibly talented MamaJo creates feasts befitting of kings and queens! This well-versed and former British university professor, prepares daily masterpieces at Chateau Dumas. Her beautiful desserts are steller using local fresh fruits. I consider whether or not she may enjoy an eager apprentice?!

MamaJo

assorted desserts

Pear gateau

rustic apricot pie

What gorgeous edible “gifts” the talented  MammaJo serves-up  to guests at Chateau Dumas each day! The little packages are almost too pretty to eat tonight. I decide to look for one of her cookbooks she authored. . .

Apple bundle dessert

everything

A beautiful evening shared with travelers from around the world is ending. As I begin to slumber, the simple — yet lovely — artwork on a wine bottle from the tastings comes to mind. It is rather intriguing. It simply says, tout ce qu’il faut” — all that is needed or necessary.

all that is needed wine FAV

My thoughts in the wee morning hours become quite contemplative . . . there is so much wisdom in the lovely little art adhered to the side of  the dark brown glass. I am so thankful for all that I have been given — it is all I need. My eyes are heavy. It is futile to resist the soothing effects of French lavender fragrances finding their way to my second story windows. Bon soir et rêves doux! [Good night and sweet dreams!]

The final lovely sights of  a once-in-lifetime dream trip to France are just around the corner.

à bientôt mes amis!

Won’t you journey with me awhile on this amazing trip in a gorgeous countryside chateau? Other adventures are at: 

 French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

See what other’s are “hooked on” at Julia’s Hooked on Houses, and find out more about Melissa’s inspiring beauty at The Inspired Home.

Read about how everyone is enjoying the outdoors at A Southern Daydreamer.

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Filed under baking, Cooking, France, Travel