France…cooking and “vague à l’âme”…

A label from a delicious chicken from Brittany, October 2011 (taken by the author)

I am having a day in which I am missing Europe. Particularly France and Switzerland.  For the past five years I have visited a friend there and the visit itself, the expectation of it, and the time spent reminiscing about it once I returned, have defined how each year evolved. 

The coast of Brittany (photo the author October 2011)

I miss the planning of airline schedules, accommodation bookings, hire car reservations…and clothes packing.  For many people, these things are tedious and worthy of immediate memory rejection.  But for me they were the cornerstones of my anticipation...of looking forward to sharing time with my friend and my enjoyment in experiencing other cultures, cuisines, fashion trends, languages, and even the weather.

My visit in October last year included days in Paris but we had chosen to spend the majority of our time in Brittany...exploring the coast of the English Channel, and then the rugged coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

This photo of Brittany reflects “vague à l’âme”  (taken by the author October 2011

I am missing my adventures in Europe this year and those wonderful experiences... 

Cooking is for me a perfect diversion from winter gloom and as the French say, “vague à l’âme” (roughly translated as “melancholy”).

A typical Bretagne  galette enjoyed in our gite  (taken by the author)
 I am trying some new recipes from the latest edition of a favourite magazine
 and I will “cheat” when I entertain my friends by using a soup which a friend gave me on her return from France.   It is from a place in Bretagne I visited in October 2011, Concarneau.  I have already tasted it today, and it is delicious! But it needs the addition of special salt and a few herbs from Brittany...for my taste, anyway....

When in Bretagne I also tried a number of different beans which we were able to collect from the vegetable garden attached to our gite…
Our Gite near Forte la Latte, Brittany (photo the author October 2011)  

beans are going to be on the menu as well, another recipe search required!

A bean...I do not know it's name...but it is delicious (photo the author October 2011)

So despite the grey skies, the chilly air and the unkind wind, my kitchen and my culinary efforts will comfort me; and thousands of miles from France and Switzerland, I will encourage my senses to reminisce with me about one of the most pleasant aspects of my trips over the five years…the opportunity to experience different culinary adventures…and  then  to transport me back to the kitchens in little cottages, in little villages, in a country far away...

Our little fisherman's cottage in Loctudy (photo the author October 2011)


  1. Louise, I know exactly how you feel. Preparing a journey is almost as much fun as actually living it. Luckily we have the memories afterwards ... although they can be painful - I'm sure you know what I mean. I hope your friends will enjoy that lovely meal. I would! Martine

  2. Martine. The preparation is special...and yes the memories can be painful. When I next come to Europe, let's share a meal and a toast to wonderful memories! Louise

  3. One day away from France nowadays I miss it :) Your meal looks delicious. Have a great day. Diane

  4. I love Switzerland! We used to have an apartment overlooking Lake Geneva and I miss the mountains terribly, although life moves on, There are so many other beautiful places in France, as witnessed by your photographs of Brittany.

  5. I must say, I've never been a fan of 'galettes', but the fish soup gets a big 'YES'. The gastronomy of S W France is very different to that of the North, and for the past 40 years I've attempted to sample every meagre crumb. Salut!

  6. Diane, I am very envious of your life in France. I am hoping to visit in May next year to take an immersion language course. In the meantime i will get some French flavour when I visit Noumea next month for another language course. I hope you have a great week.

  7. Gaynor, when I stayed with my friend in Switzerland it was in his beautiful, very old chalet in Villard sur Chamby, above Montreux, overlooking Lac Lehman...truly magnificent! Thank you for your comment.

  8. Cro, welcome and thank you for visiting I must say that the galettes didn't thrill me but I agree with you about fish soup...I experimented with many unusual, well for an Aussie anyway, varieties of fish while we were in Loctudy. And so many types of crustaceans etc. I was in "foodie heaven".

  9. Hi Louise, nice to find another Perth blogger .. came across you via Vicki Archer's blog.
    I visited France - the French Alps, Provence and Paris for the first time this year and hoping to visit Switzerland and Italy next year.
    I love everything about travel and always come home with new ideas and lifestyle changes ..


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