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!

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!

A Trip to Sonoma

A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com

I love my job more than anything, but working from home can sometimes get a little isolating. So when opportunities like this come my way, I’m all in! Last month, I spent an amazing few days with Williams SonomaFortessaThe Fairmont, and a group of lovely bloggers in Sonoma. We were wined and dined and wined some more… Here’s just a quick recap!

A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com

I’m a sucker for kitchen gear so it was fun to visit the original Williams Sonoma store. It just reopened this year – many of the charming details were replicated from the store that Chuck Williams first opened in 1956. If you’re in Sonoma, check it out. We were also treated to a pasta-making class:

A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com

Isn’t it fun to watch other people cook? Chef Thomas McNaughton of San Francisco’s Flour + Water Restaurant made handmade pasta for us. I’ve eaten a lot of pasta in my life, so this is a big statement: his pasta was the… best… ever. (It was even tastier on this beautiful dinnerware!). Check out his book, it’s a stunner. He also made a darn good kale & roasted squash salad too. I wish I had gotten the recipe:

A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com

I wanted one of everything from these gorgeous wall displays:

A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com

After lunch, we took a tour of Silver Oaks Winery – I especially loved their vegetable garden. I had major meyer lemon tree envy, and their kohlrabi was especially beautiful:

A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com

Our group! (bloggers from: What’s Gaby CookingWaiting on MarthaSugar and CharmThe House That Lars BuiltStyle Me PrettyOnce WedSnippet and InkCoco + Kelley, Green Wedding ShoesIntimate WeddingsWedding Chicks)

A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com

The trip ended with a beautiful dinner at the Fairmont. Below Chef David Blum plates up chocolate soufflés for dessert.

A trip to Sonoma / loveandlemons.com

Thanks to Fortessa, Williams Sonoma & The Fairmont for a lovely trip! This post was created in partnership, and is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fortessa. The opinions and text are all mine. (Some photos by Mark Poss).

Almond Breeze Brunch Workshop

almond breeze brunch workshop / loveandlemons.com

Happy Friday! I hope you have brunch plans this weekend, because today I have a little brunch recipe inspiration to get you started…

Last weekend, we flew to California to host this super fun brunch cooking class with Almond Breeze. It was a blast getting to meet & cook with a few fans of the blog (of all ages!). First we made my favorite frittata recipe with summer squash, cherry tomatoes and basil. This is a great easy recipe, especially with the abundance of late summer produce that’s in season right now.

Brunch Workshop / Summer Tomato Basil Frittata @loveandlemons almond breeze brunch workshop / loveandlemons.com

Of course we couldn’t have an almond milk party without smoothies. At the class, we made super fruity Emoji smoothies. What is an emoji smoothie, you ask? It’s an instagram-able smoothie where the combinations are based on your favorite little phone icons!

Brunch Workshop / Emoji Smoothies @loveandlemons Better with Breeze Brunch Workshop w/ Love & Lemons Brunch Workshop / Whole Grain Vegan Waffles @loveandlemons

And for a sweet treat – waffles! We made these vegan waffles which are made with whole grain spelt flour. The recipe uses flaxseed meal instead of egg, coconut oil instead of butter, and they’re sweetened with maple syrup. Everyone mixed their batter and took turns at the waffle irons before moving on to the topping bar – a.k.a. the “take the picture of your waffle” area.

Steal this waffle bar idea for your next brunch party: set up a bunch of toppings (yogurt, assorted fruits, maple syrup, etc)… have your guests mix their own waffle batter and then and top them however they like!

Brunch Workshop / Whole Grain Vegan Waffles @loveandlemons almond breeze brunch workshop / loveandlemons.com Brunch Workshop / Whole Grain Vegan Waffles @loveandlemons

If you make these recipes, tag your photo with #betterwithbreeze on Instagram!

Peach, Basil & Radicchio Salad

Peach & Radicchio Salad / loveandlemons.com

So… it turns out that it actually is possible to have too much gelato. It’s also possible to have too much burrata, too much bread, and too much pasta… Normally, my matcha and kale-loving self would say that these truths are obvious – but when in Rome… well, you know the rest.

Peach & Radicchio Salad / loveandlemons.com

We created this post on the day of the vacation when I needed salad most. Not that it’s hard to find good salads in Rome, but we enjoyed spending our early evenings on this terrace of the Airbnb apartment where we were staying.

Earlier that morning, we picked up a few ingredients from Campo di Fiori. The radicchio looked especially gorgeous and the peaches were ripe and juicy. I chose things that would balance each other in the most minimal way possible because I didn’t have any sort of pantry ingredients or anything sharper than a butter knife.

Peach & Radicchio Salad / loveandlemons.com

This salad is SO simple but I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this combination before – slightly bitter radicchio is so delicious with sweet tomatoes and (even sweeter) peaches. The only requirement of this 5 ingredient salad is that your ingredients need to be perfect, even your olive oil. If your radicchio is overly bitter, sub in arugula or mix it with a lettuce that’s a little more mild.

Peach & Radicchio Salad / loveandlemons.com

This salad would also be fantastic with fresh mozzarella or burrata. Since I was burrata-ed out by this time I added just a little bit of shaved padano which added a nice rich salty bite (It’s similar to parmesan or pecorino). If you’re vegan, just skip it and add a sprinkle of sea salt.

Peach & Radicchio Salad / loveandlemons.com