I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Provence, France. What a beautiful experience at this time of year. They are a few weeks ahead of us seasonally so I've actually been spoilt with a double spring and I'm loving that!!!! The farmers markets were abundant with fresh produce, from all over Europe, but also local asparagus, fava beans and beautiful strawberries. The strawberries were some of the best I have ever tasted, maybe because they were ripe and the soil rich?
I had the joy of using fresh white asparagus grown locally and combining it with fresh wild ramps and lovely woody flavored morel mushrooms was quite a delicacy. I love fava beans and used them in a variety of ways but a green asparagus and fava bean hummus with local pressed extra virgin olive oil really stimulated the taste buds. I remember as a kid, we ate the fresh tips of the fava bean plant as a green, the buds were broken off gently so the beans would grow more efficiently.
Its beautiful to be able to wander through the markets and experience the scent of freshly cut flowers, the aroma of fresh baked goods, the wafting smell of freshly cooked Paella in the largest pan I've ever seen. The abundant and variety of cheeses and colorful fruits and vegetables and the friendly and helpful vendors, who even tho I tried to speak my very best but limited french, quickly smiled, were ever so helpful and often answered in English.
The countryside is unique, I was especially struck by the light and then the observance of new growth as I walked along the canal near where I was staying. New and colorful blossoms paved the way and I really had a sense of the history of the land. I felt joyful and excited to experience newness in the oldness. It felt right just to stop and listen to the sounds of nature and observe the view in anticipation of the transformation to come.
My week of work left me feeling inspired, grateful, content and truly nourished.