Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Need Some Serious Dough

...some serious bread dough, that is.

One of my favorite things is the silken texture of risen bread dough in between my fingers, that with just the right ingredients and conditions, becomes a billowy, delicate mass that willfully yields itself to my prodding and pinching, kneading and pulling,

transforming itself into a delight for the senses whether it is in the form of a Foccacia loaf glistening with an olive oil-brushed surface

or a Ciabiatta with just the right amount of squishy air pockets

that squeak and pop when you take that first bite. The denser, crustier dough of pizza

or an artisan country loaf to tote along on a picnic

will always remind me of my beloved France

where bread making and consumption

is an art.

On my last trip to Nice, I set out early one day to scour the open-air markets to find the perfect loaf for my dinner that evening. It was around 9:00am when the hunt began. No sooner did I reach the end of the long, narrow corridor when there it was; the most beautiful, freshest and biggest loaf I had seen yet, trying to be inconspicuous to other buyers,

but hiding and waiting behind the other loaves, just for ME.

It was love at first sight; I had visions of lugging this large trashcan cover-sized Miette to my apartment and plopping down on my favorite chair

that unfortunately for me, was a bus drive and an hour away. Rather than looking like a glutton with this huge loaf in my arms while shopping for antiques and such,

I took a chance to amble around the colorful market place and come back to pick it up with a slice of cheese and haul it to the nearest park and devour part of, if not all of it, for lunch...yes folks, I have been known to do such things.

To my chagrin, when I came back to the marketplace it was gone.

Not just MY loaf, but everything...there was nothing left...rien, nada, nul, zéro. Not all was lost, however.

Where there's a will,, there's a way; I managed to find another market place where the bread had already been snatched up, but the most beautiful array of fresh, local fruits were still available.

A freshly baked loaf of bread is worth the hunt in narrow, little village paths

and is certainly more delicious when it is made by hand and shared amongst friends around the most elegant tables

or the humblest spreads

as long as there is PASSION, LAUGHTER and JOY.

Now as Tristan would say, "Go out and make something beautiful"

...go out and try making a loaf of your favorite, decadent bread! How I appreciate each and everyone of you and I wish we could all sit together and enjoy the beauty and taste of each others'hands....but for now

A votre santé et bon apétit mes amis!

I would like to also add that everyday, I am so grateful for the abundance of food for the body, and food for the soul that has been accorded to us; my dear friend Patricia from Woolytales Miniatures is a talented artist in various mediums and illustration and watercolor is one of her fortés...she just finished this beautiful watercolor entitled, "When I was Hungry..." and is putting it up for auction. The proceeds will go directly to Haiti's orphans. Please click here to see the details of her auction. Please, if you would feel inclined to do so, ask Patricia if you could add this image to your sidebar and tell your followers about this auction. Merci!

Photo Credits:
Interiors: Trouvais
Last Food Photos: Le Journal Gourmand de Sacha
Sarlat: Castles Crowns and Cottages


cityfarmer said...

some drool just spilled onto my keyboard ...

LuLu Kellogg said...

Ahhhhhhhhh, I can smell the lovely aroma of the bread right now...heaven!


sPaRkLiNg sCrApBoOkS said...

wow, to sit down and break bread with all of you, now that would be magic!!!!!! I feel the need for a trip to the bakery now!
love deb

The Dutchess said...

Thank you for this marvelous trip..I love the scent of fresh baked bread...I never baked bread myself...don't know why...but I do bake cookies..AND PIES.
Loved the photo where you by Strawberry marmelade,it reminded me of myself..coming home with a backpack full of goodies;)Those market places in France and Spain..I wished they would have it in Holland..they are my favorite places to be!

Rattus Scribus said...

How I remember all the wonderful breads and fruits and other foods we enjoyed in France. One of my favorite was a Provançal sandwich that we purchased in a shop in the walled town of Avignon. The bread can best be described in the words of St. Anselm: "...that than which no greater can be conceived."

Lovely post and pictures.


synnøve said...

Thank you for enlightening my day with all these wonderful pictures as I am inside the house, trying to keep warm at the fire....watching the snow falling!


Christel Hutson said...

Beautiful photos. I think we are all dreaming a bit of the same dream, wishing to be together, enjoying food, laughter, and the joy of friendship. I would love to be seated at your table, or you , mine! Thank you for this voyage to France! I would love to visit there someday. Your post was wonderful,( and you spell correctly)..ha ha I should really use spell check at night! xoxoxo Christel

Jacqueline said...

My dearest Queen in Training...I hope you WIN...If you would like to go to the WINTER BALL tonight with your King Ruben (I love that!) you can both ride to France on WONDERFUL! He's waiting for you! Stay away from the troll!

La Petite Gallery said...

I like both Cash and Bread.
I am now eating awful wheat and
fiber crap.... it taste like cardboard.

I am going back and look at your beautiful post awesome.


Anonymous said...

I love the photos of you in the market!!!! You look too cute with your denim outfit!!!! It makes me want to be in europe where the bread is just too amazing and too cheap! Here I have found that Rustica does a good job with bread, and their olive loaf is really delicious!
Have a great Saturday Anita!

Eldiess' said...

My adopted daughter is of french
descent and we've always talked of
visiting France one day.

This virtual journey is deliciously

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

I loved seeing your journey through those charming streets! I love the way the French approach food, and wish we had more of that lifestyle - a leisurely stroll through the market for the loveliest, freshest foods. Simple, elegant, divine. Thank you for sharing.

The Victorian Parlor said...

Oh how I wish we could all get together face to face with a bottle of wine and a good loaf of bread with cheese and share stories (preferably in France)! I studied French for eight years from middle school to my freshman year of college. Unfortuntely I can only say a few phrases but my love of the language and the style of life lived by the French endures. I enjoyed this virtual trip through the market places of France in search of the perfect loaf of bread. Merci beaucoup!



Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

you have made me so hungry, Anita! I can smell all the lovely aromas through the keyboard!

I also love baking bread. About fifteen years ago (when I still operated a country inn) my 17-grain bread recipe was requested and printed in Gourmet magazine. I felt like a star! LOL

Thanks for another "delicious" post!

KeKe said...

All of my favorite breads in one post! Bread and the magical art of creating it is just as lovely as devouring every last morsel of it~
I would love to shop in such a place...I wish America had such market would be nice to take a leisurely stroll and take in all the sights and aromas...Lucky for you, you've already done that. What wonderful memories you must have.

koralee said...

Oh my sweet friend...bread is my makes my knees feel weak..the smell of it all! My daughter works in the most wonderful Australian owned bakery and always brings us home treats and yummy really is a wonder we all don't weigh 300 pounds. Your images have me craving a huge slice of warm French Bread!

Happy happy weekend!

Violet said...

Sitting here this morning with my coffee mug browsing your photos...and now have become quite hungry... for bread. sigh. I'm sure it tastes 100% better when eaten in France! Thanks Anita, for sharing glimpes into your delights.

Ulla said...

Opps there goes my diet... Yummy inspiration!

annie said...

I'm typing with one hand and reaching for flour with the other...
thank you for the VERY kind words and visit

Me....bunny said...

You just happened to write about my favorite subject on the planet...BREAD! It's why I'm


Fete et Fleur said...

I remeber well your wonderful whole wheat pizza dough!! Yummy!!


BonjourRomance said...

Bonjour Anita,
Oh it would be so nice to share that huge loaf of fresh baked bread with you. Loved hearing about your fun Frenchie adventures - I thought things like that just happened to me!

Thanks for coming by, to answer your question - besides pinching myself that I'm here in France with my honey, I have a petit travel business - personalized itineraries, etc. Oh and making way too many stops at the patisseries...
Always a pleasure to visit with you.
Bon week-end!

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Anita Sweetie....
I love this post. Bread has always been one of my weaknesses. I love it. With a chunk of cheese cut up, it is a meal in itself.

When we go to the store sometimes, they have fresh bread at the checkouts. I will buy two loaves, one for supper and one to pull apart and enjoy on the way home. We all have to try it you know. The laughter is so wonderful. I can smell it now.

I have to go to the market later, and you know what I will be searching for. I have never seen a loaf as BIG as the one in your post, but I sure do love their french bread.

I think we should all request that Tristan send us a loaf of his famous 17 grain, he has to much time on his hands to search for links. He is a hoot. Gotta love him.

Country hugs sweetie and much love...Sherry

Marie-Ange said...

Le Pain c'est la Vie Anita ...
Oh que j'aime ta façon de voir les jolis petits moments de bonheur qu'elle offre !
Passer chez toi est un vrai régal des yeux et du coeur.
Bisous ma douce pour une belle soirée.

Sarah-Lou est ma petite-fille.
J'ai 4 petits-enfants,Sarah, Caroline, Zoé, Guillaume.
Voilà, tu en sais un tout petit peu plus ...

Betzie said...

I so enjoyed my visit here and ooohhh that bread looks scrumptious!!! All of it! Lovely my stroll with you...thanks so much!

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

Anita.....Yummmmmmm....It all looks so good! Such cute pics of you!~Hugs, Patti

Rosemary said...

Just give me some butter for that bread. OMG it all looks so good.
I swear I could live off of good bread, butter and coffee.
Have a great weekend!
Love the music by the way.

Rita said...

Congratulations my dear Anita.
so sorry I didn't drop by earlier to congratulate you right after your successful defense but I was with you with my heart and prayers nevertheless.
This is another important milestone in your brillian life and next will be our children's stories book. No doubt I'll be the first to order a copy!
wow, with all this bread you're making me hungry despite the time (11.12 pm). Had I had time tonight I'd have fixed my fave saturday night meal: whole wheat flour pizza... but unfortunately had to make do with some leftovers.

b.b.flockling * Rose said...

Just on my way back from a scrumptious visit to Pat's blog and longing for her yummy pretzels...and then I came upon your delicious adventure. So, for dessert, I enjoyed traveling with you to discover the awesome beauty of French bread! Thank you for the grand trip...and congratulations on your well deserved accomplishment!!

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Merci Anita...for your heartfelt comments...I always enjoy your visit!!! I know I am rather behind in My Dolce Vita...too much happening at the moment (read beach!!!)...and other family matters...
What a delicious post...I have some placemats with French Cafes on them and The Consulat is one of them...oh how wonderful to see it in person...I feel as if I have been led by you through these marvelous narrow streets...had some bread and oh that aroma!!!
It is now Sunday morning and soon I will have my coffee and think of this scrummy post...Blessings to you, and a beautiful Sunday Dear One...Dzintra♥x

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Oh Anita you are just too precious♥ Merci, Dzintra♥x

Patricia Cabrera said...

Nita ! yum, yum.... I can't beleive we were both making bread today!!!I am praying for you my dear and I am glad tou had a little break.... I trust you are now refreshed for teh upcoming week.
Love the post,the pictures and YOU , of course!*grin*

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Oh Anita! Thank you for the tour... There is nothing better than the scent of fresh warm bread.. Beautiful post...

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Jasper in his crown... Yes, you may snatch it. I laughed myself silly taking that photo.
Enjoy your weekend.

LiLi M. said...

Mmmm nothing like French fresh bread, though I have to admit that our darker bread with Dutch cheese would be something I couldn't miss for the world. Thank you for a lovely post again. It should be so much fun indeed when we could all meet and everybody brought a (small) self made bread! I totally agree there is nothing like your own baked bread!
The Dutchess should visit my town, I don't agree with her, there are a lot of markets with great fresh stuff over here, even in the big cities. In my town we have a lovely market even a small part with farmer foods and an italian stand with bread, olives cheese you name it, twice a week!
I'm having an olive loaf this afternoon! It comes from the supermarket (shshshshhs!) but it is baked off there and has a real artisan taste. Oh, why couldn't you just pop over and try it!!
Have a lovely Sunday sweet Anita, enjoying all simple yet valuable things in life as you always do, thanks for pointing out to us, bisous, LiLi

Orangesplaash said...

Wonderful photos..Thanks for this peek into the bread culture of France!!

karina content said...

Thank you for your message at my blog , I visited Paris te first week op March , I can't wait , when i see the good live on your blog , warmest regards

synnøve said...

O no..the cushions are just a not so good attempt to transfer print to fabric....but I wish I could make them in petit point!!!
Here are some links to some excellent examples on some new pp.


synnøve said...

I forgot to mention who made them: The first tea cosy is made by Rosanna, a talented italian woman;
And the other tea cosy who looke a bit more antique is made by Sandi and to be found at Lindas blog:

Lots of links for you this but I know it´s important to give credit to the right persons!

Jacqueline said...

Dear Queen Anita,
I see that you have graduated from Queens in Training..blessings to you, you did well! I crown you Queen of Paris!
-your girl with the curl-

Tish Jett said...

I can't believe it, I cannot believe I have not found you before today chez Mimi (Bonjour Romance).

Your blog is wonderful, really wonderful.

I shall avoid all cute little French words scattered about here since you are a French Immersion professor. (If you knew how long I've lived in France and how badly I speak the language -- those verbs -- you would be appalled.)

Back to you: I'm hooked, I'm a fan, you capture every nuance of the French life.

Can't wait to read more and more and more.

Warm regards,

Val said...

Tes photos de pain et de patisseries sont terriblement appétissantes,on en devine bien la texture et presque le gout!j'aime aussi le charme des devantures des boulangeries anciennes.
bonne semaine

Desde mi ventana said...

Anita, tu as une grande habileté pour raconter les histoires. Je peux sentir le l'odeur du pain frâichement sorti du four
Une grande semaine à toi,

Anonymous said...

Goodafternoon Anita. I don't think there is anything in the world as delicious as fresh baked bread. Your post has inspired me. I hope you are having a wonderful day ♥

Patricia Cabrera said...

Dear Nita , thank you again and again. I truly appreciate yoru support and love.
((( your picture))))I wish I was holding another basket and was with you at the market searching for good, fresh ingredients,grin... how fun would it be! with all my heart~

Patricia Cabrera said...

Nita, I just came from penny's blog ANGELSDOOR and I think you should take a look....grin...

KarenHarveyCox said...

Ooooooooooh bread. This post tells me that you have a clear mind with your thesis behind you, and you are getting right down to your amazing gift of storytelling. This I think is your very very best post ever! And not because I love bread, but the music, the images and your words had us all dancing through your storytelling. Beautiful Anita.

Charlene said...

Oh I can just almost smell that bread!!!! Thank goodness I don't have to worry of it showing up on my thighs! Ever notice how you don't gain as much when you travel & eat because you are moving, moving, moving, with all of the exploring. But, to eat like that here at home :0 Have a great week. Charlene

Marie said...

My only reason for breathin'

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Thank You Anita...the Summer here has just been glorious!!! I'm making the most of i before Autumn sets in...I love it when you visit...Dzintra♥x

My Grama's Soul said...

What a cute post. I'll attempt to quote Nora Ephron from her book "I Hate My Neck". """"Why is it that bread had finally gotten so good in America now that we have discovered how bad it is for us".LOL



Twyla and Lindsey said...

I Love bread! Thank you for this beautiful journey. Have a great week! Twyla

Nishant said...

I can smell the lovely aroma of the bread right

Work from home India

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Bebe is having flying lessons today.. She is on her way to Hilltop to pick up Miss Moussie..

Rita said...

Dearest Anita,
thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your sweet birthday wishes. no need to worry about sending your packet... really my dear, no need to hurry as I'm not planning on eloping nor changing my home address until I find the house of my dreams. Your giveway will be just as welcome whenever you'll have the oportunity to send it.

Aimee said...

Gorgeous pictures. I love the one of the quaint alleyway and the white dishware, so elegant!

bunny, The Paris House Designs said...

I haven't baked bread since Easter, we make pizza dough but now I am really missing fresh baked bread, especially the wonderful aroma that fills the house. I just adore your pictures, I love the white chair!

BonjourRomance said...

Bonjour Anita,
Thank you for stopping by, don't worry about anything, you have been so busy with very impôrtant matters! Originally the giveaway ends on February 5th but I can extend it, just click over to the Once Upon a Time post!
Are you still reeling after all the celebrations on your thesis defense? So happy for you. I see you met the lovely Tish @ A Femme d'Une cCertain Age, she is such a fabulous writer!

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Dearest Anita
Just had to stop in for the sheer pleasure of the view... Now I am hungry again.
I just noticed what you wrote under Jaspers photo.. You are such a dear.. Thank you sooooo much!

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

My Dearest Sweet Anita...
I know how you feel. So many times, someone who once blogged just stops coming, you go and visit them, and they do not come back. I found myself wondering why too.

Well I will tell you this. You have to just move on, don't let it upset you, and be thankful for the wonderful bloggie friends that you do have. They know the real you, and I believe when they don't come back it is their loss. You are such a beautiful friend. I so love to come and visit. I love your French, as I can't speak a word of it. Being an old country gal I have a twang to my voice, and I am afraid I cannot roll my tongue. I will leave the French up to you my special friend. I so adore you. Don't ever stop visiting me. You so make my heart "happy".

Country hugs and so much love...Sherry

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

My dear Anita
I am all out of bread... got any? ~grin~ I will be sitting in that beautiful white chair waiting. Thank you.

Marie-Ange said...

Tu n'étais pas loin !!!
Mais ce n'est pas ça (rire)
Ma ville s'appelle SAINT-RAPHAËL, dans le VAR, dans le Sud de la France.
J'y suis née, je l'adore.
Bisous du coeur chère Anita.

Such a Wondrous Place this Faery Space said...

Bizarre, my comment is not here from earlier. So strange... maybe I lost contact at word verification or something. Hmmm... can't recall exact wording, so, will express newly how wonderful this post was and is. I am greeted with a delicious treat for the eyes that would be a morsel of great delight for the mouth and then, you take my hand and lead me to the bakeries and the special markets, ohh, I feel as if I am there. Then, you do an Amy thing (I can totally see me coming back and the shops are gone, like an illusion, hee hee.) I am in awe of the splendor and fun that you share with us each post and love to visit. Strange about my other little blurb not making it after you had posted. Hmmm... ahh well. Blessings dear friend.

Such a Wondrous Place this Faery Space said...

This is for you.

sPaRkLiNg sCrApBoOkS said...

Bonjour Mon Amie,
Merci por votre commentaire-
ha, I know I blew that! You are so sweet. No, I don't sell my work anymore. I used to though on ebay. I'd make premade scrapbooking layouts. But it wasn't worth the time I put into them! I'm so glad you liked the layout!!! Thank you for ALWAYS being a bright spot in my day! xOxO

Jennifer said...

My mom makes all kinds of rustic artisan bread and when my grandmother was alive she would make crusty Italian bread roast peppers and we would rip the bread apart and have bread and peppers for lunch - it's a wonderful memory. I make stromboli and pizza when my sons and their wives visit. Your blog is great... come visit! Jennifer

Adela said...

wow so inspiring! =D that bread (and especially the pizza) looks so delisicous! i also love the picture with the chandelier =)

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Oh you poor little thing you! I hear you are under the weather..
Well, you stay put, I will make you a hot cup of tea and get you a warm cloth for your head..
Stay warm

synnøve said...

No Anita, I don´t speak french! I cheat! I use google translator, praying for a somehow current translation!!
But I really wish I could...I can read and understand quite a bit...but speaking and writing..oh no!! But I love to listen to someone who speak french, and I want so much to learn! I almost got a french boyfriend last year.. haha.. that would have been the best way.
Ne serait pas?

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

I hope this is to your taste... I put a double bergamot in your Earl Grey and your provencal sandwich is drenched in pesto as you reguested... I added just a few roasted vegetables. I hope you enjoy.. Thank Tea Rat for his kind words... After all, he showed me how.. He is a marvelous cook!
Rest well

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Oh I am so glad you enjoyed!
You rest now...

Desde mi ventana said...

Bonjour Anita,merçi par tes visites et commentaires ...toujours si gentille.J'espere que ta semaine est allée bien. J'ai vu de nouveau ton post, je suis y allée (Wooly Tales) et quelque chose de rare passe à la page et je ne peux pas la voir; de toute façon j'ai placé un link par s'il sert d'aide.
Gros bisous à toi et très bon weekend,

Cecilia (.. et non Cecelia)

KeKe said...

Anita dear,

The mechanical part I need to make my ballerina "spin" is becoming a chore to track down...And with my hubby having to go out of town twice in the past few weeks, well, the project has been put on hold. It's nealry complete otherwise. Hopefully soon!!!

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Hi my dear Anita!

Oh my goodness.........I've missed you too.....I've been such a bad blogger lately......when I'm on a mission it seems everything else falls to the wayside. I do love spring cleaning's like a fresh start and everything is so organized..........I love being able to actually find something with ease. I sometimes wonder if being a minimalist wouldn't be so much easier.......I just don't think I'm cut out for that!

I LOVED your post. Ahhh....getting see little glimpses of your Paris.....How delightful. We have Farmer's Markets here, but only once a week.... I can't imagine having little shops where you could buy fresh local things everyday. I've never seen anything like that loaf of bread......OH MY! As a bread lover I could have helped you with it. What a pretty little girlie you are.....

Big, big hugs!


Edie Marie's Attic said...

MMMMmmmmm foccacia... one of my favorites! I can smell it baking mon amie!!

I'm back ma belle - I've got keys again!! Congrats on your thesis!!!! I'm sooo proud of you! You have to be so relieved now.

I've had so much fun catching up with your posts. Loved all the photos of France, you are so adorable. Will email you tomorrow.
Love & hugs to you & Ruben!

Bisous, Sherry

Grace said...

I wish I was back in Paris...When I was there in May there was a bread festival right next door to Notre Dame. Between cheese and bread I had the most delicious meal! Thank you so much for sharing. Grace

La Petite Gallery said...

Gosh this is so wonderful Nothing like real Great bread cheese and wine, a Beaujolais..


linen and lavender said...


LeAnn from linen and lavender here. Your blog is enchanting! I read many of your posts, but I'm commenting here because these photos -of one of my favorite temptations- have my stomach growling! I'm leaving blog world now to round up some dinner
-but I'll be back to visit you again soon. Thank you again for your lovely comments on l&l. ~lb

linen and lavender said...

LeAnn from linen and lavender here. Your blog is enchanting! I read many of your posts, but I'm signing off here because these photos -of some of my favorite temptations- have my stomach growling! I'm leaving blog world now to round up some bread, wine and cheese. -I'll be back to visit you again soon, though.
Thank you again for your lovely comments on l&l. ~lb

日月神教-任我行 said...