I’m excited to announce that The New York Times has asked me to be the featured expert on their Times Journeys Flavors of Provence tour in June. The dates are June 11- 18, 2017. Early summer is one of the best times to visit Provence. Market stalls will be filled with fresh produce from nearby fields. The landscape will be exploding with colors and the scents of wild thyme and rosemary. Lavender will be blooming. It’s a magnificent time to be there.
The trip is a chance to discover and partake in the gastronomic highlights of Provence. We’ll go to a Michelin-starred restaurant and be treated to a home-cooked meal. We’ll do a hands-on cooking class, and we’ll get to experience one of my favorite kinds of meals in Provence: a picnic lunch!
I can’t wait to return to Provence, and specifically to some of my favorite places: We’ll start in Avignon and from there we’ll explore hilltop villages in the Luberon, and then onward to Saint-Rémy, Les Baux-de-Provence, and Arles.
Along the way, we’ll visit small-scale producers such as a goat farm which produces earthy-flavored goat cheeses, an olive oil mill, and an artisanal producer of candied fruits known as fruits confits. We’ll uncork wines made with grapes grown in some of the best vineyards along the southern Rhône. Châteauneuf-du-Pape tastes great anywhere, anytime…but it’s absolutely unforgettable when enjoyed on its home turf in Provence.
These are among my favorite local specialties in Provence, and I’m keen to get my hands on them again! Of course, markets are a must-see highlight of any trip to Provence. We will explore Avignon’s covered market Les Halles and the large outdoor market in Arles.
Other cultural highlights include visits to the sanitarium where Van Gogh painted some of his most celebrated works and to the Sénanque Abbey, a Cistercian monastery surrounded by lavender fields. The trip is sure to arouse the mind and delight all senses.
I made numerous trips to Provence while doing research for my book Markets of Provence: Food, Antiques, Crafts, and More. A recent interview with me in The New York Times describes a few highlights. The upcoming June trip, however, is a chance for me to enjoy the region with others—and, thank goodness, without the pressure of fleshing out my scribbled notes at the end of each day!
I’m eager to share what I know about Provence and to learn new insights in the company of others who share a passion for great food, wine, and culture. The Flavors of Provence tour is open to the public, although there’s a limited number of spaces. If you’d like to learn more, here’s a link to the detailed description on the Times Journeys website. Maybe you’ll join me?