My Guide to the Rhone Valley – Part I

The Rhone Valley, France

Last week, I spent a whirlwind 6 days in the Rhone Valley. I loved meeting many of the winemakers, hearing their stories, walking through the vineyards, and driving to the tops of (so many) peaks. There was so much to see in addition to the wine – olive trees, lavender, cherry trees, apricot trees, wild vegetables, and herbs growing everywhere. It’s a heavenly place to visit if you love fruit, vegetables, and wines as much as I do.

All of the vineyards listed here are open daily for tasting. If you call in advance you can schedule a more personal tour or another activity (segway tour, picnic, etc). To get around in the Rhone Valley, I suggest you rent a car with a navigation system in Avignon.

The Rhone Valley, France The Rhone Valley, France

Day 1:

I spent the morning on my own in Avignon, after arriving on train from Paris the night before. It’s such a charming city that I had fun just wandering the streets. I walked through the Les Halles d’ Avignon covered market before heading to brunch at L’ Amuse-Bouche, a cute cafe that serves their food on shareable boards. I started my trip with croissants & chocolate mousse.

In the afternoon I took a tour of the Palais des Papes. I recommend getting the helpful audio guide, which is available in a few different languages.

The Rhone Valley, France The Rhone Valley, France

In the evening, my guide drove me to Domaine des Peyre in Luberon. It’s a gorgeous vineyard with 5 newly renovated apartment-style rooms and a beautiful infinity pool. I was surrounded by cherry trees, almond trees, and olive trees. My room had a view of the vines – it was basically heaven. We tasted the wines before the winemaker Patricia took me to her home for dinner where they served ratatouille – which I love – and apricot cheesecake with chocolate. I was pinching myself the entire time.

The Rhone Valley, France The Rhone Valley, France

Day 2:

We visited Domaine de la Citadelle in Menerbes. The winemaker took us through his corkscrew museum (with over 1200 unique types of corkscrews!) After that, we visited his gardens (hike up a little bit and the view is amazing) and tasted the wines.

I then went to Cafe Fleurs for lunch. It’s a lovely spot in the Isle sir la Sorge. Their menu changes seasonally – everything was delicious, especially the gazpacho with savory tomato sorbet. I skipped dessert but regretted it later when I took a photo of my guide Clemance’s cake (pictured above) with lemon curd and strawberries. After lunch, we walked around the town and visited some of the many antique stores.

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Later in the afternoon, we went to Vacqueyras to the Rhonea Winemakers club of Beames, Venise and Vacqueras wines. You can take a tour in a 4×4 of the nearby villages and vineyards (about 2 hours total). Because I’m a wimp, skipped that and drove straight to the top of Beaumes de Venise to taste the wines on top of the mountain.

The Rhone Valley, France The Rhone Valley, France

Day 3:

After spending the night in Vaison la Romaine, I woke up and visited the big street market that takes place every Tuesday morning during the summer. Whenever I travel, visiting markets is one of my FAVORITE things to do and this one didn’t disappoint. I took pictures of pretty vegetables and bought a few olive wood cutting boards.

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We then drove to Domaine Rozel (one of my favorites). The family has been making wines for 22 generations! The winemaker Matthieu walked us through the vineyard showing us the farmhouse where he grew up as well as the lavender field, olive trees, wild asparagus, wild fennel, and wild honeysuckle. We were supposed cover this ground on Segways – but alas, I’m still a wimp, so we walked. Afterward we tasted wines – I especially loved their rose.

We had lunch at a cute cafe in the village of Valaurie. (I can’t remember the name, but it was the only cafe you see see walking up to the village – pictured below).

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After lunch, we had a tour of Suze la Rousse, a medieval chateaux which is now a wine museum and also a wine university. The photo below is the view from the castle. Driving in this area was one of my favorite parts of the trip because there are lavender fields everywhere.

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Later that night, we drove further north to Tournon-sur-Rhône and stayed at Hotel de la Villeon which I LOVED. It’s a very very nice boutique hotel in an 18th century building that was recently renovated. My room had a view of a castle, and we had dinner outside in the garden. They had a lovely breakfast in the morning too.

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Stay tuned for more!

Special thanks to Atout France & Air France for sending me & to my new friends at Inter Rhone for taking me around!

Vegan Cobb Salad with Coconut “Bacon”

Vegan Cobb Salad with Coconut "Bacon"

This salad was once again inspired by my bi-weekly Farmhouse Delivery bushel. What I love most about receiving a box of “surprise” vegetables is that it takes the guesswork out of deciding what’s for dinner. My general CSA strategy is to try to use the lettuces first so I usually start my week with a big salad for dinner.

This salad is an all-veggie version of a cobb salad. It’s packed with fresh summer corn, crispy cucumbers, zucchini and the first of the seasons’ cherry tomatoes. I made a creamy vegan cashew-based “buttermilk-like” dressing and coconut “bacon.” It’s a lot of quotation marks for one meal, but I promise (whether you’re vegan or not) you’re going to love it.

Vegan Cobb Salad with Coconut "Bacon"

I made my salad a full meal by adding baked tofu and avocado, but you can customize this with whatever proteins and cheeses you like.

The coconut “bacon” here is a wonderful thing – just bake unsweetened coconut flakes with tamari, maple syrup and smoked paprika and you get these tasty little crispy salty bacon-like bits. I also have a recipe in the cookbook (page 171) for shiitake bacon, which would also be wonderful here.

Vegan Cobb Salad with Coconut "Bacon"

Store extra dressing for around 5 days. You’ll want to pour this yummy creamy dressing on everything.

Vegan Cobb Salad with Coconut "Bacon"

hello from France!

Rhone Valley France / Love & Lemons Rhone Valley France / Love & Lemons

Hello from France!

This past week, I’ve been in the Rhone Valley touring vineyards, tasting wine, taking in amazing views and of course eating great food. I’ll be back later this week with a new recipe, but for now here are some photos from my trip – of course, follow along on Instagram to see more!

Au Revoir!

Rhone Valley France / Love & Lemons

Special thanks to Atout France & Air France for sending me & for my new friends at Inter Rhone for taking me around!

Homemade Vanilla Hazelnut Milk Latte

Homemade Vanilla Hazelnut Milk Latte

Happy Friday! I have a fun little weekend project for you – take a few extra moments to make your own hazelnut milk! It’s so delicious, I promise it’s worth the effort.

Actually, it requires very little effort, it just takes some planning ahead for the proper amount of soaking and chilling. The result is a delightfully lightly sweet & nutty milk that’s so yummy mixed with espresso or coffee. This time I made lattes with Nespresso’s Solelio & Giornio coffees which are light and medium in roast with red fruity & white floral notes respectively.

These are absolutely perfect for lazy Sunday mornings.

Homemade Vanilla Hazelnut Milk Latte Homemade Vanilla Hazelnut Milk Latte

The hazelnut milk is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and gently spiced with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s quick to make – blend your (soaked and rinsed) hazelnuts with filtered water (and the rest of the ingredients), strain the liquid through a nut milk bag, and voila – “milk.” Bottle and chill it overnight for the best flavor.

Homemade Vanilla Hazelnut Milk Latte

Jack and I have this ritual where whenever we stay at a hotel, the first thing we do is look for the Nespresso. We love that the coffee is really high quality and Jack always loves the selection. So we’re really excited to be partnering with them on their “See Mornings in a New Light” campaign. Making coffee and espresso (the same machine does both!) with the VerutoLine Evoluo machine made our weekend coffee ritual feel like we were back on vacation.

Because the days are getting warmer, I poured my coffee over ice before mixing it with the hazelnut milk. (Tip, brew some extra coffee capsules ahead of time and freeze your coffee into ice cubes to retain the full flavor of the coffee)

I also used the Aeroccino4 to make froth (you can make hot or cold froth), which made my Sunday coffee all that much fancier.

Homemade Vanilla Hazelnut Milk Latte

Jack and I usually spend our weekend mornings on the couch. This time, Jack snapped photos while Annie, our crazy little dog (who by the way is not allowed on the couch), told me all about her morning while she tried to get a lick of my coffee.

Homemade Vanilla Hazelnut Milk Latte

One last thing I just found out about that I want to mention is that the coffee capsules are totally recyclable. They have a bunch of ways to do it (you can drop bags off at various stores or UPS locations, click here to search by zip code) and it makes me feel good that they thought of this.

Strawberry Pistachio Crumble

Strawberry Pistachio Crumble

I’ve had a torn page from last month’s Bon Appetit issue sitting on my desk for the last few weeks. Whenever I’d look away from the computer or pace around the room while on the phone (P.S. does anyone else need to walk while they talk?), I’d glance at this pie recipe out of the corner of my eye and think “strawberry pistachio, YES! Why didn’t I think of this combo before?”

This red and green ingredient pairing of pistachios and strawberries is like christmas in July, er… June. This recipe works just as well with walnuts or pecans, but it’s just so pretty with pistachios.

Strawberry Pistachio Crumble Strawberry Pistachio Crumble

While I got the ingredient idea from Bon Appetit’s pie recipe, this recipe is actually a version of a peach & plum crumble that I made last summer. It’s not too unhealthy as far as desserts go and it’s much easier than pie. I use almond flour (that I make myself by blending raw almonds) so that it’s entirely gluten free. It’s also vegan, made with coconut oil instead of butter.

The crumble topping is so nutty and delicious, I also just love it raw on top of cold sliced strawberries. If it’s too hot outside to turn your oven on, make this parfait-style! The crumble will keep in a container stored in the fridge for at least a few days.

Strawberry Pistachio Crumble