Back! Apologies, and a mystery

I’m back home from Provence, both in the physical sense and the interweb sense. I actually lost Net access for the past two weeks (we thought we had something more convenient but it turned out we needed to drive 30 minutes one way to get to a WiFi spot, and well…other things sort of took priority). What I need to get into my head is that in this day and age, being offline for so long is not a good thing. It’s sort of like being MIA, for a lot of people that know me. Yes, I confess I didn’t even check my email for two weeks. So…if this affected you in relation to your food related questions and so on, I apologize. Next time I go away I’ll make sure I can at least get online once a day.

greenfuzzything1.sidebar.jpgI’ll have a lot, lot more to say about my trip later on, but in the meantime, here is a little mystery. Can you identify these? (Click on the image to get a bigger view. RSS readers will have to go to the site to do this.) I’d never seen them in this state before.

While the food in Provence is glorious - the freshest vegetables and fruit ever, tons of fresh garlic, and delicious cheeses, fragrant herbs - I really, really missed Japanese food. I did bring a (very small) bottle of soy sauce with me, but no rice or any other ingredients. (Curiously I found nori and soy sauce at the local hypermarché, but no Japonica rice, or most other needed ingredients. So I’m not sure what rice the people of Provence make sushi with.)

Last summer, I had to make an emergency stop at a small Japanese-Korean restaurant in Aix-en-Provence to take care of the withdrawal symptoms, but this year I toughed it out for three whole weeks. But anyway, the first thing I did when we got home last night? Make a potful of rice and have a bowlful with an umeboshi. I think the older I get, the more Japanese I’m getting. If my long term plans to Get A Place In Provence work out, I’m definitely going to have to sort out the Japanese food supply situation.

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Great you're back! But...

It’s great to have you back, but there’s no need to apologize, it’s nice to take a holiday once in a while, get away from the computer screen and do real stuff. As for us readers, “patience is the virtue of the wise.” :D
As for the green things, maybe almonds but these are very dark and very fluffy!!

Fred | 24 June, 2007 - 19:02

Green Fuzzies

Young almonds… I saw them for the first time a few weeks ago at a Middle Eastern market here in NYC. =)

Kelli | 24 June, 2007 - 19:15

Are they (unripe) almonds?

Are they (unripe) almonds?

Wynke | 24 June, 2007 - 19:55

wow

Wow you guys are good…yep they are green unripe almonds! I bought a bunch, now I have to figure out how to use them :)

maki | 24 June, 2007 - 20:28

Green Fuzzies

If I remember correctly, the sign at the market recommended simply a quick dip in salted, boiling water… =)

Kelli | 24 June, 2007 - 22:22

Japanese ingredients in Provence

Actually I live in Aix-en-Provence Maki and if you need Japonica rice (or any Japanese ingredients for that matter) there is one shop for it (and only that one). It is in Plan-de-Campagne (a commercial area that is reachable either by car or by bus, but busses go there often as it’s very well visited). Look out for the shop GEMO. Next to it you can find a little Chinese shop called “China Vina”. It specializes in selling Chinese, Korean and Japanese food.

They only have two shelves with truly Japanese ingredients. Hence you won’t find everything you need there as they only stock up sporadically. For example konbu and bonito flakes are a rare sight (and cost at least 15 euros per package). However you can get instant dashi-stock, Japonica rice, soy sauce, mirin and sake, curry, tea, nori and often they even have umeboshi. They do have tofu, but I didn’t really dare buy it as tofu is a rather fresh product and to be very honest the shop itself doesn’t look too clean.

Anyway, if you need any other information next time you plan to visit Provence, just send me an email.

Sovelia | 25 June, 2007 - 05:35

Japanese ingredients in Provence

Hmm I posted a comment but it doesn’t appear, is it because approval is needed first?

Sovelia | 25 June, 2007 - 05:38

thanks!

Thank you for that information Sovelia! I’ll be sure to look for the store next time I’m in the Aix area. (yes comment moderation is on …. those damn spammers you know)

maki | 25 June, 2007 - 06:28

Vegetarian experiment

Why should anybody going to southern France deliberatly give up on fish and meat? This ist stupid. Sorry.

fressack | 30 June, 2007 - 15:23

i didn't miss meat at all

Well everyone is entitled to their own opinion…

I didn’t miss meat at all. The only time I did sort of think about meat is when seeing all the great dried sausages and meats on sale. But then again we can get just as good or better dried meat things here in Switzerland.
I don’t really consider meat per se to be a big feature of food in Provence.

As for fish…as I stated I did eat fish a couple of times at restaurants. I didn’t cook any on my own, and I didn’t miss that either.

It gave me extra impetus to eat more of the wonderfully fresh and in-season fruits and vegetables, not to mention the cheeses and things. It was wonderful. Vegetarian doesn’t mean dull!

It’s not the first time I’ve been to southern France by any means (it’s like…the 8th or 9th maybe) and we fully intend to go back, if not later this year then definitely next year (it’s only a day’s drive from where I live after all) so that did mean it was going to be my one and only chance to try things. So that did influence my choice, definitely.

maki | 30 June, 2007 - 16:24

nori

I keep seeing nori in the shops here in Spain … and alongside often “teriyaki sauce” and/or soy sauce but no rice nor anything else. I have a sneaking suspicion that the nori doesn’t go off and doesn’t take much space — so they are stocking it to enhance their international stock without actually understanding that it’s useless as it is.

Mind you, I am not helping, because I’m buying it at our local mercado now (and picking up other ingredients in bulk when I’m in London), so they probably wave that shops sales around to show that there’s a market for it. :P

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley | 2 July, 2007 - 12:55

vegetarian experiment

…as for giving up on fish and meat… you could turn the tables on that one and phrase it as
‘focusing on the wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables’.

sorry. not eating meat is not deprivation.

sinead | 3 July, 2007 - 16:55

followup

I’ve posted some of my followup thoughts on the experiment here.

maki | 3 July, 2007 - 17:24

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