to the rescue…
Toreros à l’écoute…
Damage estimates for December 2003 floods in and around Arles have
topped 800 million euros, more than the devastating September 2002
floods. To help victims, a star of the bullfighting world threw his hat back
into the ring one more time, rallying around an effort to bring relief
to thousands of Arlesiens left stranded. Juan Bautista, aka Jean-Baptiste Jalabert,
one of the Corrida’s leading figures and native of Arles, retired from
the fighting sands in spring 2003; but when disaster hit the southern Rhône
region late last year, he quickly called fellow toreros to enlist their
help in putting together a Festival to raise money for flood victims.
February 22, Juan Bautista and six renowned colleagues proudly entered les
d’Arles for a magnificent display of showmanship, featuring some of
the greatest of the living greats including El Cordobés, Jose María
Manzanares and El Julí. Earlier in the day the Chapelle Sainte-Anne in Arles
was the site of a grand auction of tauroculture treasures, including authentic capes, hats, saddles, paintings and sculpture.
The highlight of the auction came late in the morning, when the
beautiful Camargue filly, Viana, was bought as a birthday gift for more
than $3,500. Proceeds from these events approached $100,000 (85,000 euros)
and will go to help reconstruct homes, roads and also to rebuild herds
and stables that were damaged in December. As spring approaches, the official
bullfighting season begins in the south of France. But for
this gallant effort, we tip our hats to Juan Bautista and his band of generous
© REUTERS. Photo de 4 décembre 2003
underwater in December...
Juan Bautista, native son and
comes to help
Erick Vedel gathers students to set them a'chopping!
cuisine in Arles
La cuisine provençale
Want to hike the hills of Provence, prowl local markets, explore lavender fields, see how goat cheese is
made, then come back to your home away from home to prepare an authentic
provençal meal? In the heart of Arles, not 200 meters from les Arènes, Erick and Madeleine Vedel have
created a culinary dream package for those interested in immersing
themselves in cooking à la provençale. Madeleine (an American who fell
in love with France, French cooking and a chef) puts together the
programs and makes all arrangements. Erick is that chef. A few springs
ago, a friend and I were lucky enough to join them for an evening
cooking course that was delightful and delicious.
| A large kitchen has been added to the back of
their home, complete with stone walls, cooking and chopping islands,
copper pots and lots of atmosphere. We started by making a hearty soupe
au pistou, using fresh veggies from that day’s market. Erick, who
speaks very little English but speaks Cuisine exquisitely, put us right
to work chopping veggies and making the pistou (pesto) that flavors this
very typical dish. Once we had the knife work out of the way, wine was
poured and we moved on to the rest of the menu. We snacked on confît de
canard (preserved duckmeat) while we sautéed potatoes in duck fat for
pommes frites. The centerpiece dish was salt-encrusted whole fish that
was baked to perfection. Dessert…a clafouti using local cherries
picked earlier that day on their hike. What a feast, and what a warm and
inviting way to cook en famille, delightful and delicious.
Over the past year, they’ve added a Bed and
Breakfast to their enterprise, introduced new programs for experiencing
southern cuisine, and sometimes they even take their show on the road to
the US. Visit them online at www.cuisineprovencale.com
for schedules, recipes, and interesting profiles. Merci, chefs!
Take one whole fish...
come the ducklings…
Les canards se reunissent…
Get ready, Paris…one of the largest agricultural
and THE event of the season, the 40th Salon
d’Agriculture hits town again in late February, early March. This
annual extravaganza lures more than 600,000 visitors every year, average
French folks in search of the perfect goose, cow, sheep, pig, seeds,
tractor, baler, regional specialties, and much more. State fair meets
the auto show...tout à la française with the finest of every
species on display!
Poitou-Charente holds center stage as featured
region this year, but there will be exhibitors from all over
and the world. Visitors aren't surprised to see
hunting dogs demonstrating their talents amidst beautifully groomed
cooking and African spices alongside
apples and Provençal olive oils. The Salon
d’Agriculture, with this year’s theme Des Animaux, des Terroirs et
des Hommes (Animals, Territory and People), promises a full range of
demonstrations, traditions and techniques for a mere 11 euros. For a
glimpse of this food-worshipping cultural gathering, it’s a bargain by
any standards. The place is overrun with characters of all sorts,
including politicians of every stripe, meeting and greeting the voting
pool. If you’re in town you might want to stop by for a peek.
Salon International de l'Agriculture
happening at the Salon d'Agriculture
Want to see previous editions of Armchair Uzès? Click
here for a directory...
For the Armchair Photo Gallery, click here...