If you’ve spent any time with me here on Simple Nourished Living you know that I’m enamored of the French approach to eating and Joie de vivre.
I have my friend, chef-teacher Hallie Harron, to thank. It was on her culinary tour, Unpolished Paris, more than 15 years ago I got my first taste of “le good life.”
The food was beyond delicious and incredibly satisfying, the sites awe-inspiring. At the end of the week I didn’t want to leave.
Before departing for my French culinary tour I remember feeling apprehensive about potential weight gain, but decided to throw caution to the wind and just enjoy the adventure. You know what? I didn’t gain a pound.
Instead I gained a first hand look into why French women don’t get fat. They enjoy a healthy balanced relationship with food and life, free from the unsustainable extremism which we north Americans are drawn to time and again.
French women (and men) practice portion control, such a ridiculously simple concept. But when you focus on eating really delicious high-quality food, it’s easier to be satisfied with less. And therein lies the secret, eating for pleasure and savoring life can be slimming.
Hallie, co-owner of Maison Mollans, who spends part of the year leading food and wine tours in Paris and the Cote du Rhone region of Provence, is living proof. She demonstrates that you can and should trust a skinny chef!
Touring Maison Mollans Culinary Tour – September 4 to September 12, 2017
My husband and I are planning to join Hallie and Mary for Touring Maison Mollans, September 4 to September 12, 2017. Interested in joining us? It’s an intimate tour designed for just 6 to 8, so space is limited. Click here for all the details.
To tempt you further here are notes from Hallie’s September 2015 travel journal…
Sept. 15, 2015—excerpt from journal #16:
Another wonderful group of enthusiastic guests/students/now friends have left and M and I regrouping on the tiny terrace on the top floor of Maison Mollans. It’s worth the 33 steps to get up here! Very good place for thinking, laughing, and enjoying a glass of afternoon cold Provencal rose on this Indian summer afternoon.
Every group of students has been different over the last 16 years……..still the theme remains the same over time. People come to our village to slow down and enjoy a softer, more savory and lingering lifestyle. The idea of long and leisurely foodie days is so foreign to many; in Mollans, it’s an everyday activity and we’re happy to share it whenever possible.
I suppose today is a good example as any. At 9AM we were making lattes and enjoying the “zen” baker’s whole grain walnut toast with apricot and lavender jam; we then eased into the Vaison market mid morning. Good gravy! What a bounty this AM! Goat Cheese lady was in fine form as we stood in line for our weekly faiselle (the stuff made earlier that morning) and our more aged cremant round. Vegetables were particularly nice too.…….the eggplant. Zucchini, peppers and onions were still everywhere. I do feel one more Roasted Ratatouille coming on.
Such an easy way to use these fall delights. Hardly anything to it—our Mollanaise olive oil, basil, the cut up vegetables…….roasted in the oven and finished with olives and capers. That and the goat cheese, an incredible red pear I found, a crisp baguette and a lovely carafe of cote du rhone from, our neighbor, Jean Michel Tyrand and my kitchen project for the evening is set.
Good thing too…… after lunch at the market……….we fell on the weekly food truck which is parked at the wine cooperative…unbelievable caprese salad and gorgeous savory tarts are sold on market day……..the heirloom tomatoes from the owner’s garden were lovely. They insisted on bringing us little treats at the end; who could resist the tiny tastes of caramel and chocolate?
Tomorrow is slightly more hectic(!)…………2 new vineyards to research for the next group of wine students. Both are nearby in Chatauneuf du Pape and Gigondas. Oh! And the possibility of the Buis market………..heard tell that the early truffles and a large selection of wild mushrooms are in. Could be a duck in our future or those incredible scrambled eggs.
For right now, time to drink up, head downstairs, then down the street. to the river for our afternoon stroll. If energy holds out, we’ll head up the village cobblestones to the chateau. Then again, the old boys are playing their daily boules tournaments about this time; it’s always fun just sit and watch the town elders with their pastis having a go.
Let’s see how it unfolds………one thing I know for sure. Today was definitely a day that we practiced the Maisonmollans Motto: Start slow and taper off! A bientot.
Hallie Harron, co-owner of Maison Mollans, is a chef-teacher originally from San Francisco who found her way to Provence. Twenty years ago, with more than a dozen cookbooks and a James Beard nomination as well as numerous restaurants under her belt, she chose to lead food and wine tours in Paris and the Cote du Rhone region of Provence. Harron has been teaching both professional and recreational cooking classes since 1978. Most recently, her certifications from the prestigious WSET wine and spirit academy in the United Kingdom, as well as the completion of the French Wine Scholar program has expanded the school’s wine class adventures.
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