Sunday, August 21, 2011

Eat, drink and be merrry

Good food, good wine and good company. 
It's the simple things in life.......

 Patient husbands..........

 Good friends.........

A hunk of cheese and bread...............

A chilled cheeky rosé..........

Lots of laughter..........

A perfect summers day....

Friday, August 12, 2011

France beckons - oh happy day!

In less than 2 weeks I will be winging my way to La Belle France once more for my next Picnics trips.  Once I step off the plane it's hard to wipe the smile of my face, it's one of my happy places!

 In the past I have started trips in Cassis, spending a couple of days in this idyllic part of southern Provence.  Wine, turquoise waters, sunshine and bobbing boats galore, it's a great little spot.

There is a wonderful boutique hotel which directly overlooks the pretty harbour. A glass of perfectly chilled rosé and soft melting cheeses on the balcony while watching the passing parade is pretty hard to beat.

The local drop has the soft blush of a babies bottom.  It's so crisp and delightful you could drink the bottle with a straw!

 As I said, one of my happy places...............

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day!
The 14th of July is the equivalent of the US 4th of July, it's France's National day.  It commemorates the peasant storming of the Bastille prison in Paris in 1789 which marked the beginning of the end of the French monarchy's rule.
These days it's celebrated with a huge military procession down the famous Champs Elysées, lots of fireworks, lots of parties and lots and lots of wine!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Essential summer reading: Kathryn Ireland's exquisite new book, Summers in France.

You must check out this gorgeous book, just published.
It's about Kathryn Irelands incredible country house in France, which she has lovingly restored, this is the location for our Picnics in Provence tours to the South West, mentioned in the book.

To give you an idea of how special it is, Barbara Streisand rented it for her family holiday the week after our last Picnics tour. If it's good enough for Babs...!

The book is full of wonderful entertaining tips, gorgeous photos and great recipes but most of all overflowing with Ms Ireland's inimitable style and panache.  It's a treat.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our cooking class in Provence. The chef closes the restaurant so we have the whole place to ourselves. Coffee at 9am. Rosé is poured at 9.30 am as the chef thinks it makes for a very happy class! we have a fabulous time preparing dishes and cooking til 1pm then a 5 hour lunch in the courtyard under the spreading plane trees with matched wines from the private cellar....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A simple affair....breakfast on the terrace with views over the valley at Kathryn Ireland's house while horses canter up the paddock......the start of just another lovely day in the glorious South West of France.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This is one of the amazing dishes prepared by our private chef for our seafood banquet under the stars in the tranquilly idyllic South West of France.. It included over 160 freshly hand shucked oysters - for just 8 of us.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Did you know... that in this day in 1885 the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York on board the French ship Isere - a gift from France to the USA. Did you also know.... that there are 2 other original Statues of Liberty, both in Paris
Sometimes you learn something new every day!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's a little known fact is still illegal in France to name a pig Napoleon.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The following article was published in the Australian Newspaper travel section today, it's about Picnics in Provence's ''Little Black Book'' of must do's, must visit, must shop, must eat.............


Scottish-born Nikki Maxwell has lived in France, Spain, Switzerland and California, and now calls Melbourne home. In 2007 she set up Picnics in Provence, specialising in small-group gourmet tours. More:

Desperate to get back to: Cassis in western Provence; it's a charming village with bobbing boats on its harbour and lovely bistros.
Top shopping secret: Precedence, 421 Hampton St, Hampton; there's always something different in this Melbourne lifestyle shop.
Must visit: LAN Club, Twin Towers, Beijing. A Philippe Starck-designed restaurant with Sichuan-style menu and fabulous decor.
Perfect place for indulgence: An ocean suite room in the Summer Houses of the Dar Al Masyaf Hotel, Dubai.
Stand-out bar experience: Soggy Dollar Bar, White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Islands. Swim to the beach from your yacht and pay with wet money.
Inviting food destination: Will Meyrick's Sarong Restaurant at Seminyak in Bali.
Inspirational travel narrative: The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love and Olive Oil in the South of France by Carol Drinkwater.
Most memorable splurge: A long lunch at Alain Ducasse's three-star Michelin restaurant Le Louis XV at Hotel de Paris, Monaco.
Best experience afloat: A bareboat yacht charter around the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

(Link to the original article here;