Friday, March 22, 2019

Wednesday Market in Collioure, France

They were selling everything from olives, lettuce, and honey to dresses and brightly-coloured plates at Collioure's Wednesday market.

I purchased 4 enormous slices of bread. My current favorite is walnut.

The artichokes are in season and they’re huge! And the local strawberries are delicious.

I would have loved to buy some of the brightly-coloured plates and bowls.

Some of the vendors had their dogs with them – now that wouldn’t be allowed in Saskatoon!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Collioure Windmill Walk

On my first full day in Collioure, I went for a walk uphill to Collioure’s windmill. The walk starts at the modern art gallery and meanders its way through a naturally wild cactus garden overlooking the sea.

Above the cactus garden is a small open-air pagoda (not shown). Apparently this was where Senator Pams came to smoke opium in times gone by.

Stone stairs lead up to the 14th century windmill that was used to grind grain. It was repaired recently and is now used to make olive oil.

There is a panoramic view of the terraced hillside vineyards. The Greeks introduced grapes and wine-making and Collioure/Banyuls is apparently the oldest wine region in France.

I could have headed further up the hill to Fort St Elme. It was getting late, however, so I took the stairs heading down the hill through a grove of olive trees.

I  had started my walk at the art gallery and I ended it at the Dominican monastery, which is now used by the local wine co-operative – a perfect opportunity to sample the sweet Banyul wines.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 18, 2019

Local Happenings 
Wolf Willow Winery is under new management. The wine will remain the same, but they’re expanding their menu under the direction of Chef Jenni with specially selected local menu items in addition to fresh-made pizzas.

Saskatoon now has two great options when purchasing ready-made pies. Mary from Prairie Pie Company sells a wide range of frozen, ready-to-cook pies at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. She’s now joined by Trent Loewen, former owner of Earth Bound Bakery, at Scratch Provisions. He’ll be hosting a pop-up restaurant at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on Mar. 23 - hot savoury pie for breakfast or lunch, dressed with smashed potato, mushy green peas, and extra gravy. Scratch pies can be ordered online for Friday pick-up or delivery. Both companies offer vegetarian pie options.

Food for Thought 
So many food service jobs in North America are filled by students working part-time on a short-term basis. In France, however, you’ll frequently see older servers who treat their job as a career. A photographer has written a book with photographs and interviews of people who have been in the hot food business in London for over 18 years. Manuel de Jesus has been a kitchen porter for over 20 years: “When we’re all together, we’re a kind of family. That’s very, very, very important. And I don’t like change. When you have a good job and boss who you like, you stay.”

“Research has shown that, regardless of where you live, eating closer to a traditional, pre-industrial diet rich in plant foods, fish, unrefined grains and fermented foods, with less meat and highly palatable processed and snack foods, reduces your risk of depression.”

The Guardian newspaper is predicting that banana blossoms will be the next vegan food star. It sounds crazy to me to import banana blossoms from south-east Asia just because its chunky flaky texture makes it an ideal substitute for fish. There are apparently two vegan schools of thought – those of us who look for protein substitutes (lentils, tofu) and those who opt for ingredients that bear a resemblance to meat or fish.

Photos: Collioure, France

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan nature/environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A Sunny Sunday in Collioure

The sun was shining in Collioure and, despite the fact that we were still in the middle of March, it felt like summer with crowds lining up for ice cream, eating meals on outdoor patios, and lounging on the beach.

Collioure is a small resort town on the Mediterranean 27 km from the Spanish border. It’s a pretty town with a long walkway along the waterfront, two forts, an art museum, and winding alleys with colourful stucco houses, art galleries, and restaurants.

I was fascinated to look up at the hills above the town and spot a windmill, a fort, and vineyards.

It’s my first visit to Collioure, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to spend a few days here between housesits. It feels good to be back beside the sea, and I’m looking forward to visiting the art museum, going on a tour to learn about fauvism, and sampling some local wines.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 11, 2019

Local Happenings 
The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market is partnering with Gardening at USask to offer a series of talks over the summer. Check Gardening at USask’s Facebook page for upcoming events.

Congratulations, Food Renew! In their first year of operations, Food Renew diverted 300 tons of food from the landfill, collecting the food from 14 donor businesses and delivering it to 7 social agencies for distribution.

Spring Rêveries
These festive spring eggs are the perfect combination of the hope nestled in both eggs and young herbs. You can forage your own wild herbs to use (sagebrush looks particularly lovely, and lends a slight flavor to the eggs as well) or just use herbs bought from the store (flat-leafed parsley works especially well.) . . . . All of the colors here are completely natural, derived of edible materials like red cabbage and yellow onion skins.” 

Food for Thought 
Over 336,000 Canadian families skip meals or spend days without eating. Over 786,000 families skimp on the quantity or quality of their portions. An additional 580,000 families worry about running out of provisions. “It’s the ‘getting by’ that’s exhausting. . . . Food insecurity wears you down because you must constantly cope and manage. . . . If food-security advocates believe tax-based solutions, like better social assistance or a universal basic income, should be part of a coordinated strategy to help Canadians put healthy food on the table, the question of how we will afford them remains. Given the drain that hunger has on health care, mental health, and productivity . . . we’re already paying for it.”

Don’t put tomatoes or potatoes in the fridge. Here’s why.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan nature/environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Hotel Pams, Perpignan

A visit to Perpignan is a must whenever I’m housesitting in Quillan. I can’t get enough of the palm-tree lined boulevard leading away from the train station, the street signs in English and Catalan, the interesting mix of stores along the narrow, winding streets of the old town, the sun-filled restaurant patios, and the history of a city that was, for so many years, a leading centre of Mediterranean culture, art, and politics.

I had to do a little digging on Trip Advisor to find one of the loveliest heritage buildings– the Hotel Pams. The mansion was built between 1852 and 1872 by a leading industrialist. His son-in-law inherited the house and remodeled it at the end of the 19th century, turning it into a large private museum. It was later given to the city.

Parts of the building are used by the municipality for public functions, but the entrance way, elaborately decorated stairwell, two salons on the first floor, and the first-floor patio garden are open to the public – and free!

One of the things I most enjoy about Mediterranean architecture is its emphasis on privacy. The front of the building is unremarkable. You have to be invited inside the building to enjoy its beautiful garden.

The enclosed patio on the first floor of the building is charming and a peaceful spot to sit and enjoy the fountain and flowers in the company of a handful of meditative pigeons.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Snapshots of Nîmes

I had an overnight stay in Nîmes on my way to Quillan and wish it could have been longer.

It was a warm evening and I enjoyed strolling down the pedestrian boulevard between the train station and the centre of town.

Nîmes has been called the most Roman city outside of Italy and it’s easy to see why.

The old city is a maze of narrow alleyways and sun-filled squares. It’s definitely a city that invites you to take your time and relax. The absence of cars is particularly restful.