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Les Gorges du Verdon April 05 2019, 0 Comments

Last month, Calisson by Gilles brought you to the discovery of the world of Faience in Provence and more particularly the village of Moustiers. This April we will discover together the surrounding area of Moustiers called “les Gorges du Verdon”. 

How to get there: 

You can reach the site from two directions: from the West, take the Manosque exit (n°18) of the A51 highway while driving from Aix en Provence to Gap, and cross Valensole and Riez signals to finally reach Moustiers Sainte Marie. The gorges will be 5 minutes away. 

Or you can reach the Gorge du Verdon from the East if you are coming from Saint Maximin. Follow the directions toward Draguignan, Aups to the Lac Sainte Croix and Gorge of Verdon will be mentioned. 

 

One of the most beautiful natural sites:

Provence is filled with surprises and hidden treasures that locals enjoy and try to keep for themselves. The images of Provence that are popular are landscapes of olive tree and vineyards, Mediterranean pine forests and blooming lavender fields. PACA is an abbreviation for Provence which means Provence - Alpes - Côte d'Azur, (Provence Alps and the Riviera). We mostly have in mind Provence and Riviera but often forget that Provence is also a part of the Alps mountains!                                                               The Gorges of Verdon belong to this category. While approaching the limestone massifs of the Alpine foothills, land becomes arid and climate here is generally dry. But there is a unique area crossed by rivers flowing down from the snowy peaks of the Alps. These rivers have carved deep valleys, and the longest and deepest one  is the Verdon river. The Gorges of Verdon are the deepest gorges of France. This is a natural must-see attraction of central Provence. 


From its source near the Italian Border, the Verdon runs south as far as the village of Castellane, and then joins the Durance River near Manosque.  The most impressive scenery of the canyon is located at the East of the Lake Sainte Croix. This is a 25 kilometers long and 700 meters deep river canyon. There is no road to the gorge, but a breath-taking circular "corniche" route that require careful driving!

It has been called Verdon because of its brilliant turquoise-green water. Vert in French means green, hence the name Verdon river.

The Gorges of Verdon attract visitors for many reasons.  You can go there to experience a spectacular road trip around the edge of the gorge, by car or by bike. You can even come to hike the numerous trails in and around the gorge. Then there are some who come to admire the bird life. You can try kayak or pedal boat in the gorge. For the bravest ones you can either jump off from the cliffs! Calisson by Gilles will detail for you everything in the coming lines! 

 

Where to stay: 

For a total harmony with nature, bring your tent and do a camping trip, dedicated camping areas are legion around the lake of Sainte Croix. This is the most popular way to spend few days in the area. For people who are wishing something else you can book a bedroom into a luxurious hotel. There are few and expensive. 

 

What to do:

Hiking

There are plenty of opportunities for hiking in and around the gorges du Verdon. Trails starts from the very gentle and easy level up to the technical and hard one.  You will find what you are looking for. Footpaths are marked and start from the many parking spots of the area. One of the most popular but tough one is the Sentier de l'Imbut. The path starts near the Hotel du Grand Canyon, on the road 71. 

The basic hike follows the GR99 (Grande Randonnée – Great Hike) hiking trail from the lip of the gorge then down to the bottom, and back up again. It takes roughly 4 hours. It's quite a hike, but accessible to most fit hikers. Proper shoes or boots are essential, refers to our tips to always have in mind during your stay. 

From this path you will cross a footbridge over the Verdon river, and it is possible to continue on up the north side of the gorge. Down at river level, you will have to choose what kind of path to take. 

Experienced hikers may like to continue along the path of Vidalwhich which includes sections cut into the rock, and a very hard one hour of climb, to go back up to the road RD71.

For a longer but less exhausting hike, you can continue on the GR99 or follow the GR49. From the GR49, you will reach a spot that provides perhaps the most breath-taking views down into the canyon. 

 

Kayaking and rafting

Kayaking or boating into the lower part of the gorge is a popular activity, and kayaks and other types of craft can be hired at the top end of the Lac de Sainte Croix. Plan for a couple of hours to make your way around the beautiful Lac de Sainte-Croix. The lake is a man made lake, it was created in the 70’s when the Electricity of France company built the Verdon dam to create electrical power. The dam generates 142 million kWh of electricity per year and is 94 meters high. However the original village of Sainte Croix is now completely underwater at the middle of the Lake! Divers can experience the exploration but at your own risks!

If possible, rent your boat for longer than one hour ; an hour isn’t really enough time to see the gorge. A whole morning or afternoon will be the best to enjoy the magic sceneries of the gorge. Bring a picnic and drinks to chill and have good times during you boat session. For sure, do not forget to take our sweet collection of Mediterranean Calisson by Gilles box for a great and memorable moment. 


Rafting is not practiced in the Gorges part of the Verdon river. For rafting in the Verdon, it is better to go higher in the valley, and reach the small town of Castellane. From there a couple of companies provide rafting trips on the river in July and August.

 

Climbing

There are endless opportunities for adventures here. If you are ready for it, bring your climbing gear. The Gorge of Verdon is a paradise for climbers, it has over 1500 routes for technical climbing. The toughest one are more than 600 meters high. Absolutely incredible!                                                                                                          For amateurs and neophytes, book a canyoning session with an official guide. It takes a whole day long, you will discover and try everything. A hike to meet a point of rappelling descent, often coupled with some portions of climbing. To finally doing some rafting down the Verdon river! 

 

Bird watching in the Verdon

Vultures were reintroduced into the Verdon gorge in 1999. Today Griffon vultures and black vultures are among the largest birds that can be seen in the Gorges of Verdon. But there are also eagles and other large birds of prey. The vertiginous crags of the gorge provide perfect nesting areas for these large raptors.

 

Calisson by Gilles tips:

Best time for exploring Gorges du Verdon: We recommend starting your day early in Gorges du Verdon, especially during the summer. It is a popular spot from June to the end of September so get up early to beat the crowd.

Bring hiking shoes to explore. Keep in mind that there are not many casual paths, so your hiking shoes will be more comfortable and will prevent potential injuries of your ankles. Calisson by Gilles recommends that you use a GPS on your trip if you are driving in Provence.                                                                           To rent a boat easily, get to the bridge called Pont du Galetas, park your car and go to the local renter hereunder. You can find the exact location of the Pont du Galetas bridge to get an idea of where you will want to go. 

Risky tradition: the local youth keeps the tradition of jumping from this bridge even if it is prohibited nowadays. Stand on the bridge in front of the Verdon river to imagine how high and dangerous it is from there. You may encounter some young people challenging themselves to jump! 

 

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


Faïence of Provence March 09 2019, 0 Comments

History of the Faïence in Provence 

Owing to its location, the richness of its soils and its inhabitant’s, Provence has always enjoyed a privileged location for creation and innovation. Halfway between Italy and Spain, Provence had and still continues to receive influences from these cultures. Furthermore, located on the Rhone axis, Provence is opened to Belgium, the Netherlands, the Germanic countries and England. This scheme is rather unique and has made Provence a hub for different techniques and know-how’s through the centuries. 

This month Calisson by Gilles will present the Faïence of Provence which has a worldwide reputation. The origin of Faïence goes back more than 1200 years ago. The first traces of Faïence were spotted in Baghdad, Mesopotamia in the 9th century. This art was introduced to Spain by Arab potters in the 13th century. It took 100 years for it to reach Provence and Italy. 

For centuries now, Provence has kept a tradition of potters settled in many villages. These potters have drawn inspiration from the surrounding, colorful, and shimmering landscapes. You can feel it through the production of Provençal ceramics. The village of Moustiers Sainte Marie is dedicated to the Faïence and Calisson by Gilles brings you there today! 

 

 

The Faïence of Moustiers 

The local art of Faïence brings us to the gates of the Gorges du Verdon, in an exceptional environment and overlooking the Lake of Sainte-Croix, in the very popular area of the Verdon’s region: the village of Moustiers Sainte-Marie.   

The growth of earthenware in Moustiers is due to the Clérissy family, which created from 1679 the first large pieces of milky white enamel. A milestone will occur under the reign of Louis XIV. The king was in financial difficulty and to finance wars, he ordered the melting of all gold and silver dishes in the kingdom of France. This decision allowed Provençal potters the opportunity to make a place for the Faïence as a luxury item for wealthy families. Afterwards it has been diversified, and pottery Faïence was launched in a large panel of items. The reign of Faïence lasted over 2 centuries before the arrival of the porcelain. This was a hard time for the Faïence of Moustiers Saintes Marie because the porcelain was much easier to produce and cheaper than Faïence. 

But in 1927 the industry of Faïence restarted in Moustiers, under the impulse of Marcel Provence who reignited a kiln of the village in order to restore the reputation of Moustiers as a great city of faience. And it worked well! Nowadays, about twenty potteries as well as a museum perpetuate this traditional Provencal art.  

Each of these pieces is fashioned with respect for tradition. Everything begins with the preparation and selection of clay, which abounds in the village of Moustiers. Then comes stamping which consists in shaping clay slabs on a mold, turning (which applies for vases and pitchers in particular) and pouring (applied for more complex shapes), entirely made manually. Then comes the first of 2 cookings.

The first one is very high,  at 1020°C to cook the biscuit. Next, the time has come to paint the decorations on the enamel. Then is the moment for the second firing to vitrify the enamel, at 960°C, making the faience shiny. The potteries offer authentic collections, with traditional or contemporary scenes.

 

The use of Faïence:

Since its beginning, Faïence is used for cooking utensils, plates or food storage. Today you can still encounter many Faïence items within a Provençal kitchen: a jar to preserve the oil, another for dried fruits, a daubière (a daube saucepan), a mortar to pound the garlic, a pot for cooking the famous Provencal bouillabaisse. The list could be endless. In addition to its utensils used in Provencal cuisine, you can enjoy your meals and delicacies in colorful plates, serve diners in Faïence dishes, drink in beautiful water jugs. These water jugs were used at the time to fetch water from the fountain of the villages. For sure, if you are going to Moustiers, you can bring a Faïence jar to store and preserve our delicious Calisson by Gilles. Our Calissons originally comes from Provence and the Faïence perfectly suits with them. 

Some practical information on Faïence: you can use it daily. It will not be damaged, unless you use a brush too abrasive to clean it. You are used to using the dishwasher, so do not hesitate, Faïence does not mind! 

 

Discover Moustiers

Moustiers Sainte Marie is a typical Provençal village located in the Alpes de Haute Provence. Moustiers Sainte Marie is listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France. Moustiers is at the gates of the “Grand Canyon du Verdon”, at an altitude of 634 meters and is built amphitheatrically in the hills of Provence.

Moustiers Sainte Marie is a small picturesque village located on a remarkable and unique site: the Verdon Regional Nature Park. The village enjoys an exceptional environment with mountains, lavender fields and the lake of Sainte Croix! 

Nestled against a rocky escarpment, Moustiers Sainte Marie remains a mysterious place! Many legends talks about its famous star suspended at 227 meters high. Its alleys are entangled and after climbing narrow steep stairs you will reach this charming village. Unsuspected places are hidden behind the walls. Red and yellow facades of houses with roofs covered with old tiles are memorable. Between shaded small stone fountains, and shaded streets you will feel the magic of this place. The center of the city is the same than other Provençal villages: the church square. 

In all seasons, Moustiers Sainte Marie offers you beautiful walks in the heart of the village. 

 

Must-do in Moustiers Sainte Marie:

Calisson by Gilles recommends its readers to do the hike to the Chapel “Notre Dame de Beauvoir”. This beautiful chapel is built between the cliffs of Moustiers Sainte Marie. The walk up there is a must-do! 

You will get incredible views on Moustiers rooftops but also on the lake of Sainte Croix. You will also have the chance to get closer to the star! The ground is a little bit slippery so be careful and wear proper shoes. Best times to get there? We would advise to do it either early morning or end of afternoon to fully enjoy the colors of the landscape. Calisson by Gilles tip: Take a coin of 1€ with you; you will be able to light up the inside of the chapel with a candle. 

Another must-do in Moustiers is to taste the local beer of Moustiers! The store and factory is located close to the beginning of the Chapel path. Here you will find a little bar called “Saveurs & Nature”. As you will quickly notice, most of the people sitting at the tables know each-others. This is here, in this hidden place that we find the “Mouss’Terrienne. A well found pun!  The Mouss’terrienne is brewed and bottled here in Moustiers , it is a delicious craft beer made with special provence ingredients of this region : Honey and thyme ! a must taste if you coming here in Moustiers. Take a sweet break with our sweet Calisson by Gilles and this local beer; you will remember it all your life! 

The local brewer is also a beekeeper! So you will find a range of products all made out of honey such as lavender honey, verdon honey, gingerbread and other delights. Why you will ask, simply because the brewer is above all a beekeeper!

You can also discover the Faïence museum in Moustiers, renovated in 2014, the Museum tells the story of the Faience since the 16th century. It provides a major collection of Faience which was made thanks to generous donations.

For sure, as in all Provençal villages, a weekly market takes place in Moustiers Sainte Marie! Summer and winter, the market takes place every friday morning till 1pm in front of the city hall and the church.  According to the seasons, the size of the market change, obviously. The best time to get there is during summer season. You will find a lot of local products such as goat cheese, seasonal vegetables, lavender honey and much more. Enjoy!

 

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


La Route du Mimosa February 02 2019, 0 Comments

In January, we discussed the Mimosa: How it was introduced in France, its symbolism and the various species you can encounter in Provence. This month, Calisson by Gilles brings you to the discovery of the French Riviera during the Mimosa season. From January up to the end of March, the region of Var and Alpes Maritimes are dressed with a festival of gold, lights and fragrance from the Mimosa in blossom. The Côte d’Azur is wonderful in winter; the bright yellow of the mimosa perfectly contrasts with the deep blue sky and sea of Provence. It's a good time to discover or rediscover it! 

 The Road of Mimosa :

This symbolic tree of Provence in winter is the star of many festivals: carnivals, corsos  and botanical exhibitions such as Mimosalia in Bormes-les-Mimosas (last weekend of January) where are showcased rare plants, and other unusual varieties.

 

The mimosa is also a 130 kilometers (80 miles) of a perfumed getaway between the department of Var and Alpes Maritimes, a trip of 8 stops in the most beautiful villages of Provence between Grasse and Bormes-les-Mimosas.

Calisson by Gilles gives you an overview of this stunning bucolic road trip. 

Bormes-les-Mimosas

Simply the most beautiful flowered village of France !  A medieval village of the 12th century with more than 700 rare plant species ! The Mimosa remains for sure the main attraction of Bormes-les-Mimosas. From January to March the medieval city is adorned with a long "gold scarf" , a wonderful explosion of yellows and perfume in the village. Capital of mimosa in the Var, Bormes-les-Mimosas has no less than 90 species of Mimosa. Nearby, the famous beaches of white sands and crystal clear waters of Cabasson, Brégançon, and Estagnol are an ideal place for chilling. A little anecdote: Fort de Bregançon is the official summer residence of the French President. Each year, the President of French Republic spends a week or more in this official residence. Late Général Charles de Gaulle was the first French Président to enjoy it and started the tradition.


Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer

The Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer is a charming, peaceful and tiny village where happiness is preserved. The village of Rayol-Canade was created with the extension of the Mole in 1925. It became an autonomous municipality in 1949, it currently includes 3 neighborhoods and extends about 4 km (2 miles). Exceptional site where the hills of Corniche des Maures plunge into the blue water of the Mediterranean sea with breathtaking views of the golden islands.

Sainte-Maxime

With 11 km (7 miles) of Mediterranean shoreline, Sainte-Maxime is a haven of peace in winter, where strolling along the water invite you to savor moments that we would like to be eternal. Have a taste of our sweet Calisson by Gilles at this moment, you will reach the summum of happiness ! The charm of Provence emerges through its houses with old tiles, its typical market, its shopping streets and shady walks. 

Saint Raphaël

Saint-Raphaël, is a listed summer resort, located at the gateway to the Massif de l'Esterel is beautiful in winter. Mimosa trees are smartly placed everywhere in the village. Saint Raphaël invites you to discover its exceptional coastline and unspoiled nature. Its’ 36 km (20 miles) of coastline will take you from the heart of the city, to the harbors, to the secret coves of Boulouris. Many things to do and discover in this village. 

Mandelieu-la-Napoule

This is the first stop in the Alpes Maritimes department. This is the cradle of Mimosa culture. The village of Mandelieu-la-Napoule is located at the foot of the
Tanneron Massif, home to the largest mimosa forest in Europe. What to do there? a trail.

Take the « Chemin des douaniers » road with its castles along this path. Its red volcanic rocks, plunging into the turquoise water, are worth a visit. 

Tanneron   

Tanneron, with its 22 hamlets nestled in the heart of the massif of the same name, is the largest territory of mimosa cultivated as wild in France. This is a real yellow forest of small fluffy balls. It is totally beautiful to see the mimosa trees in their natural environment . From December to March, the abundant bloom of mimosa will leave you a perfumed scent, with, bright golden panorama : a delight. 

Pégomas  

In Pégomas, the Mimosa is honored, it delights our view and our sense of smell,. Cultivated on the hills of Tanneron, we take care of it, we spend time. The Mimosa Garden is home to 11 varieties. The last weekend of January Pégomas celebrate the first strands through a local event in the heart of the village. Pegomas has a nice and colorful image of a holiday land. Calisson by Gilles recommends Pégomas as a must stop place to discover its true and beautiful nature. 

Grasse

Perched to sunny hills, the village of Grasse discovers its charm when you stroll along its winding streets and cozy squares. World capital of perfumes, Grasse showcases its rich heritage thanks to its Label City of Art and History. Its historic center, its international perfume museum, its tourist perfumeries are all assets for tourists. A must-do village also !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


The Mimosa of Provence January 04 2019, 0 Comments

A bunch of sun! With its shiny yellow, the mimosa warms the roads of Provence in the heart of winter.

 

A brief history of the mimosa in Provence

Around 1880, the mimosa, native from Australia, made its appearance on the slopes of the Croix des Gardes in Cannes.

The mimosa was introduced its great winter hosts, such as the Marquis of Morès and the Duke of Vallombrosa. The Horticulture and Acclimatization Society greatly contributed to its promotion. The mimosistes (mimosa nursery owner) made their apparition in French Riviera’s cities such as Mandelieu, Pégomas, Tanneron. The train stations of Cannes and Mandelieu were the main hubs to export the mimosa to all major cities of France and Europe.


The mimosa became the king of winter in regions enjoying a warm climate like the French Riviera. This is the only area of Provence where the mimosa can survive the winter. Nevertheless we can sometimes see a beautiful mimosa tree in private gardens throughout the whole Provence region. There are more than 1200 species of Mimosa around the world and over 400 grow in Provence.

 

 

Some types of Mimosa

Gallic (Acacia Dealbata): Large, very vigorous tree with dark green foliage. Abundant flowering (yellow sulfur) that emerges largely from the foliage from late January to March.

Mirandole: Great development. Big leaves with a light green color. Flowering in a large cluster of pure bright yellow from late December to February. The Mirandole Mimosa suits for very large gardens.

Astier (Astier dealbata): One of the Mimosas tree which resists  colder temperatures. It withstands without damage to -8 / - 10 ° C.

4 season mimosa (Acacia Retinodes): It is one of the most resistant to cold (-9 ° C to -10 ° C). Spring-summer bloom. The last producer of this mimosa is located in Tanneron.


The Mimosa and its symbols

Yellow gold, the mimosa is one of the most used flowers in terms of symbolism.
With a delicate scent, it speaks to each of us with the accent of the South of France. Our Calisson by Gilles come from the same area and each mouthful of our sweet delicacy brings you to Provence. The savory blend of almond married with cantaloupe and a hint of orange reminds us of the golden Mimosa.
Here and there in Provence, the flowers of Mimosa naturally represents the Sun. 

In the language of flowers, the mimosa is the evocation of secret loves. Symbol of gold and sun, the mimosa is also the image of triumphant life, owing to the hardness of its wood and the victory over the forces of evil.

The Road of Mimosa

This symbolic tree of Provence in winter is the star of many festivals: carnivals, corsos  and botanical exhibitions such as Mimosalia in Bormes-les-Mimosas (last weekend of January) where are showcased rare plants, and other unusual varieties.

The mimosa is also a 130 kilometers (80 miles) of a perfumed getaway between the department of Var and Alpes Maritimes, a trip of 8 stops in the most beautiful villages of Provence between Grasse and Bormes-les-Mimosas.

Calisson by Gilles will give you an overview of this stunning bucolic road trip next month. 

 

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


Celebrating Thanksgiving with French Canadian Recipes November 24 2014, 0 Comments

The first Thanksgiving as we know it today, was celebrated in 1578 on the Canadian Shores. It was really a celebration of coming together and being thankful for a plentiful harvest and while these ideals have all but changed today, the celebration and the holiday itself still holds true to what most people know about Thanksgiving: Being thankful for family, a good life, your health, and the bountiful food placed on the table. If you want to celebrate a French Canadian Thanksgiving this year, you should check out some of the traditional and more modernized recipes below thanks to our French Canadian friends.

French-Canadian Pea Soup (Soupe aux pois): Soup in general is one of the best comfort foods for the winter months, but this one is very popular with French Canadian Thanksgiving Day feasts and includes onion, celery and carrots as the base alongside fresh yellow peas, salt pork (ham), and just a touch of savory spice.

Mashed Pumpkin Potatoes: This is a really delicious dish that is hardy and flavorful and it includes cooked pumpkins as well as potatoes. Be sure to add in some cooked bacon, butter for extra flavor, and heavy cream or half and half for a creamy yummy texture. This is a dish that goes with most any main course.

Cinnamon-Cranberry Pork Tenderloin: Ground cinnamon and maple syrup are used as a wet dry rub for the tenderloin, which is topped with fresh cranberries, maple syrup and lemon glaze!

Canadian Butterscotch pie: A very traditional dessert to serve and prettyeasy to make, this pie includes brown sugar, flour, eggs, milk, vanilla and butter. You can also add your own flair to this pie by placing scores in the crust, adding butterscotch chips to the bottom of the pan or serving with ice-cream.

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


5 French Style Thanksgiving Recipes November 20 2014, 0 Comments

While Thanksgiving is traditionally an American holiday, the French celebrate it with some special dishes. In fact, part of the reason we eat the food we do eat for Thanksgiving is partially because of the French. If like most people, you love food, you love your family, and you love Thanksgiving, you will definitely want to check out some of the French inspired recipes below for your next holiday meal, starting with appetizers and ending on a good note with dessert. Bon appétit!

Cheese Fondue: A very traditional French appetizer and yet completely delicious. You can use whatever cheese you want, just make sure it melts nicely and add different things like crusty French bread, veggies, meat, etc.

Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Gruyère Croutons: This is a great dish to make on any wintry day, but even better on Thanksgiving since its sort of the theme this holiday. It includes a creamy pumpkin, onion, and white wine base with rustic bread topped with sage and cheese!

Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Fennel, Olives, and Thyme: Anything braised in my book is going to be delicious because it’s essentially the "slow" way of cooking, which means lots of delicious flavors! Make sure to use a nice big steel pot or pan for this dish and serve accordingly.

Sage-Brined Roast Turkey with Oyster Dressing: A new tradition with old world style taste, this has a few familiar ingredients you probably use as well as some new ones like bacon, oysters, and hazelnuts!

French Pumpkin Pie: Much different than traditional pumpkin pie, this one uses a puff pastry, and almost looks like a pumpkin pie in brioche. Very flavorful and yet mild enough for two pieces - pecans, brown sugar, butter and squash or pumpkin with apples!

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


Savory French Recipes That Are Perfect for the Winter November 18 2014, 0 Comments

While most people have a hard time dealing with winter - the cold weather, the bulky jackets and the snow, there are some people that actually don’t mind it because of the yummy dishes you get to eat. If you really want to enjoy this winter and the holiday season, be sure to check out some of the delicious French dishes below for some great ideas on what to make for your next dinner party.

Bouillabaisse
One of the more traditional French cuisine dishes known, the Bouillabaisse is a yummy soup filled with fresh fish such as Hake or Monkfish - which is known as Poor man’s lobster (any white fish will do), as well as shellfish like sea urchins or mussels and potatoes, tomatoes and fennel. It’s a very "simple" soup so to speak, but because of the delicious addition of fresh fish and shellfish alongside garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper, it’s alive with flavor and a really good dish to make on a cold day.

Fondues
There are many kinds of fondue. Almost everyone knows what fondue is and usually think first of the chocolate fondue with strawberries, marshmallows and pineapples. For a more traditional fondue, you might try the cheese fondue made of three cheeses, Gruyere, Beaufort and Comte (if you only can find two of them, it will work too) and white wine, slowly melted in a clay pot that as been flavored with shallots or garlic. Diced French bread is then dipped in the melted cheese and enjoyed. The third kind is the meat fondue; dices of meat or vegetables dipped in boiling oil. These are really great "sharing" dishes that makes it ideal for small and large parties or get togethers. You can also find mini fondue pots so that everyone can have their own fondue and choose what they want.

Coq au vin
Another amazingly traditional French dish, Coq au vin is not as hoity toity as it sounds and it’s quite delicious. Coq au vin is chicken that has been braised with red wine, mushrooms, lardons and usually garlic - though it is optional. You also add a bouquet garni to this dish which is what flavors the foundation of the dish and it includes the usually suspects such as salt and pepper, bay leaf, parsley and thyme.

Choucroute garnie
This is more or less a charcuterie dish that includes sauerkraut, fresh cut meats like pates, sausages and confit. Though sauerkraut is traditionally a German ingredient, in this case, it’s all French especially with the addition of the charcuterie. Ultimately you can add whatever meats, sausages and charcuterie that you want, just make sure everything is fresh. Visit your local butcher or grocery store chain to see if they offer any fine meats. You can also mix this up a little bit and add a variety of other ingredients such as juniper berries - capers, boiled potatoes, and cheeses.

Quiche Lorraine
Surprisingly, a lot of people think this is an Americanized dish; however quiches of all sorts are popular in French cuisine, even the Lorraine version. This is a delicious dish that is essentially a savory pie. It’s incredibly flavorful, and easy to make. It can feed a whole family pretty inexpensively. Quiche Lorraine includes really simple ingredients such as Swiss cheese, bacon, onions, and eggs. One of the main reasons this is such a flavorful dish is because of the foundation of the dish which includes sautéing Vidalia or white onions, salt and pepper in one pan and crisping up the bacon in another and then taking some of the grease from the bacon and adding it to the pan with the sautéing onions.

Tapenade
Another dish that is often mistaken as an Italian origin, Tapenade is made with really fresh ingredients like finely chopped capers, green and black olives, anchovies and olive oil. It’s incredibly good on crackers, but you can also serve it with crusty bread, inside or on freshly grilled chicken or fish or eat it with crudités. Some people even use it as a condiment like ketchup or mayonnaise on things like sandwiches and burgers.

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


8 Food Hacks That Will Make You a Kitchen Pro September 04 2014, 0 Comments

When you are juggling home and work, it can be tough to spend hours in the kitchen preparing ingredients and cooking up a healthy and balanced meal for your family.

On the other hand if you know certain tricks,you can make the prepping and cooking a lot faster and easier. So, here are 8 food hacks that will help you immensely and make you feel like a true kitchen pro:

1. Removing Strawberry Stems
Rather than struggling to remove strawberry stems and spending hours trying to do it, make use of a plastic straw. Push the straw into the strawberry at the pointed end and take it out from the stem end. This will help to remove the stem and make the task less tedious and messy.

2. Baking Cookies for Kids
During the weekend, most parents try to spend time with their kids and baking is popular activity that all members of the family can enjoy. But picture the look on your kid’s face after telling them you won’t be able to bake cookies because you have run out of eggs. Those sad faces will kill you! If you have bananas at home, substitute half of banana for each egg and you will be able to make delicious cookies for your kids and other family members.

3. Cutting Soft Solids
Cutting soft solids, such as cakes and cheeses can turn into a mess very quickly if you are not careful. Make sure you always keep a supply of unscented dental floss in your kitchen. Use the floss to cut these soft solids perfectly and also avoid making a mess.

4. Making Chocolate Bowls
Making chocolate bowls for your kids and filling it up with a helping of ice cream and cut fresh fruit is an innovative way to get your kids to eat fruits. However, making these bowls at home can be tough and difficult. Or is it?

Use medium-sized inflated balloons; dip them in the melted chocolate and put them on a greased tray to dry. Once the chocolate dries, you can remove the balloons and voila! You have a chocolate bowl that you can fill with fun goodies and serve your kids. They will love it!

5. Slicing Bread
When you slice bread, you can squish it if you’re not careful. You can avoid doing this by keeping the bottom side up and then using a bread knife to slice it. It cuts through the bread without squishing or making a big mess.

6. Grilling Fish
Sunday barbecues are great way to spend meaningful time with your kids and loved ones. And, most times, you prefer marinating poultry and meats as it is easier to get them to turn into flavorful delights. However, have you tried grilling fish? Most people avoid grilling fish, as it tends to get stuck to the grill and falls apart.

Nonetheless, fish is a healthy choice for kids, as it contains Omega-6 fatty acids that are good for the brain. To grill your fish without having it stick to the grill or falling apart, just place lemon slices on the grill and place the fish on the slices. Not only will you be able to grill fish to perfection, the lemon will give it a lovely flavor that you and your kids will love.

7. Get Perfectly Boiled Eggs
Whether you love your egg salad or you want to munch on boiled eggs with a little salt and pepper, the key is getting perfectly boiled eggs.

Most people don’t know this food hack, which can help them boil eggs to perfection. Use a thumbtack to make a hole on the broad end of the egg. Remove the tack and boil the egg as usual. The end result will be great – the perfectly boiled egg that you can transform into a culinary delight!

8. Making Undiluted Ice Coffee
There is nothing like sipping a glass of refreshing and rejuvenating iced coffee on a hot summer’s day. You can sit in your garden with your favorite book and enjoy your caffeine fix or sunbathe on the patio while enjoying a glass of iced coffee.

The problem with iced coffee is it gets watered down as the ice melts, ruining the taste. To prevent this from happening, pour your coffee into an ice tray and put it in the freezer to set. Use the coffee ice cubes to make your ice coffee. This will prevent the coffee from getting watered down.

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


by Gilles
23416 Caminito Valle Laguna Hills Orange County, CA 92653 United States 800-334-2081 gilles@bygilles.com
by Gilles
23416 Caminito Valle Laguna Hills Orange County, CA 92653 United States
800-334-2081 gilles@bygilles.com