The Flavors of Provence, France

When I think of spring, I often think of trips taken to Europe. It is such a lovely time of the year to visit. The weather is still a little cool, the countryside is green and the flowers are all in bloom.  A favorite destination of mine to visit during spring is Provence, one of the most romanticized areas of France. It has been made famous by the artists that went there for the light and wonderful scenery to paint.  Writers and poets  have written of the beauty and the way of life to be found in this section of the country.

Village Perched On A Hilltop In Provence

Warmed by the Mediterranean sun and cooled by the breezes coming from the sea, gardens flourish in this beautiful and sometimes rugged area. The gardens are filled with fruit and olive trees, vegetables and flowers. Goats and sheep wander the hillsides and provide milk that is made into delicious cheese. When butchered and cooked, their meat is delicious from grazing on wild rosemary and thyme.

From three-star Michelin restaurants to small bistros in the countryside, Provence is known for having some of the best food in France. When looking for a restaurant, I love it when I  discover a hidden gem in a centuries old stone building in one of the little villages perched high up on a hilltop.

A Centuries Old Building With a Few Tables Outside

The charming restaurants look like something out of a movie, with worn tile floors, white washed walls, dark wooden beams and simply set tables with fresh flowers or candles.

Small Restaurant In Provence

The restaurant will usually have a few tables outside where you can leisurely sip a glass of wine or pastis  and watch a game of boules being played on the square.

Boules On The Town Square

Go to any outdoor market being held in a town and you will find fragrant herbs, lemons, garlic, olives, artichokes, peppers, aubergines, courgettes, and tomatoes. When strolling among the vendors, I always wish I could own a little stone house with a lovely kitchen where I could prepare a meal from the wonderful ingredients at the market.

Vegetables On Display

Remembering the food markets in the south of France  inspired the meal that I prepared.

A Provencal Meal

A Provencal meal with tomatoes, olives, courgettes (zucchini) and spring lamb. The recipes for this meal are for two people and can easily be adapted for the number you are planning to serve.

Tomatoes à la Provencal

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. onion, minced
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. seasoned, dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. panko breadcrumbs
  • 6 oil cured olives, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp. capers and a little of their juice
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped mint
  • 1 tsp. fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil plus more to drizzle
  • 1 tsp. sherry or red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the top off the tomatoes and reserve. Cut out the hard core and discard. Carefully remove all the pulp and save. Lightly salt the tomato shells and invert on a plate to drain. In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the reserved pulp and any juices from the drained tomatoes and simmer until the juice has reduced. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl along with all the other ingredients. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Stuff  each tomato about half way and pack in tightly. Mound the remaining stuffing on top lightly and drizzle with some additional oil. Place in a ovenproof casserole with the tops on the side. Bake for about 5 minutes and remove tops to a plate. Bake the stuffed tomatoes for about 5 minutes more. You want the tomatoes to just start to get soft but keep their shape. The tomatoes are great served warm or a room temperature.

Herb Crusted Rack Of Lamb

Ask your butcher to “French” your rack of lamb and trim off all but the thinnest layer of fat. The fat is what gives lamb it’s stronger taste so remove as much as possible for a milder flavor. Mince 1 or 2 cloves of garlic and mix with some chopped rosemary, thyme, pepper (do not add salt at this time) and enough olive oil to make a loose paste. Rub all over the meaty part of the rack, cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for several hours or preferably overnight. Take the meat out of the refrigerator to warm up for about 30 minutes before cooking. Scrap off the garlic and herbs and season well with salt and pepper. Cut the rack into half.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In the meantime, prepare the herb crust. Warm 1 clove of minced garlic in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. This flavors the oil and takes away the raw taste. In a bowl, mix about a 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs with 1 tsp. each of chopped thyme and rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. Add the garlic and oil and mix until the crumbs are thoroughly moistened.

Heat a small amount of oil in a medium hot skillet until almost smoking. Add the racks and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate until cooled slightly.  Rub about 2 Tbsp. of Dijon mustard all over the meat and coat with the crumbs, patting to firm into place.

Place on a baking pan and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes or until an oven thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 130 for medium rare. Add about 5 minutes more for medium. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into double chops.

I served julienned courgettes (zucchini) sautéed in olive oil, garlic and fresh thyme to complete the meal. If you are having guests and would like to start with an appetizer, tapenade and toasted sliced baguettes, almonds and mixed olives would be very appropriate for a true Provencal meal.

Bon Appétit!

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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156 Responses to The Flavors of Provence, France

  1. savourytable says:

    What a nice way to start my day, with a trip to France. These recipes make me want to hop a plane.

  2. As you know I adore Provence.. what a lovely meal you’ve prepared here, it really captures the heart of this lovely countryside. I, too, wish to live there… <3 <3

  3. Mad Dog says:

    That looks delicious – you made me laugh too, in England if you French someone, it means kissing with tongues ;-)

  4. Amazing post! I had the funniest trip to France. I went with Windham High School as a chaperone, which was amazing–truly so fun to see the trip through their eyes. The weird thing was we ate the worst food! Our guide would slip us past these amazing spots, we’d turn and go into an alley, and go in the back way so not to bother real diners. Loved it though. Must go back someday just to eat.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Julie, for your nice compliment. I’m sure the tour guide had decided that the kids would not know the difference in a good restaurant and a bad one. What a shame. You must definitely go back to France…I have never had a bad meal there.

  5. Judy says:

    Karen, that is simply divine. I like the tomato recipe and of course, the rack of lamb. The entire meal is balanced and perfect for spring.

  6. I love the sound of “wild rosemary and thyme”.

  7. I love the market stalls, particularly in spring when all the fresh produce is coming through. And yes please do Europe in Spring, simply my favourite time of year whether it is Greece or Holland or France or even, dare I say it, England :). Just perfect!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claire, Spring really is a wonderful time of the year to travel. So many people go in Summer when it is hot and crowded…not my kind of traveling.

  8. I´ve never spent time in Provence but it´s on the list. Loved the photos especially of the little but oh so gorgeous restaurants. Your meal was a great tribute to a beautiful part of France and that lamb was cooked to perfection. Hope you had a lovely glass of wine to go with it!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much Tanya, for your lovely compliment. Provence should be a “must do” on everyone’s travel wish list. I opened up a lovely bottle of Syrah to go with the meal.

  9. Oh my goodness…I nearly expired on the sofa reading this. What a dream to be in Provence in the Spring! Your pictures and prose transported me there. In fact this post reminded me so much of the book/cookbook “Joie De Vivre” by Robert Arbor that I may pull it out and drool later. ~~Bliss

  10. What a nice version of Tomatoes Provençal–and the lamb positively makes my mouth water.
    Nice round-up of photos as well that tell a story all on their own.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Victoria, Thank you for your nice compliment. The tomatoes really were delicious as was the lamb. I have so many photos of this lovely area…I’m glad you enjoyed them.

  11. Karen, this is a lovely memory of past trips turned into a homey dinner menu.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Teresa, Thank you for your nice comment. My husband and I keep returning to France…especially for the food. The simple but extremely fresh ingredients of provence cooking makes it wonderful.

  12. Karen, you transported me back to France and Provence in this lovely, reminiscing snippet. Enjoy your spring lamb and enjoy Easter.
    Take care
    Kate

    • Karen says:

      Thank you very much Kate, I hope you have a lovely Easter as well. Just deciding on which photos of the area to include had me wanting to return.

  13. ASHLEA says:

    Ah, France. I just love it. Went to Paris for the first time this summer and I am dying to go to Provence. Beautiful pictures and these tomatoes look fantastic.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful pictures that bring many happy memories to life from our own trips around Provence.

    Happy Easter!
    Meggie

  15. rachelocal says:

    I’ve made tomatoes a la provencal before, but this recipe looks better than the one I used. I’ll be trying this for sure. Thanks for the lovely post. :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Rachel, for stopping by to visit and your nice compliment. I hope you give the recipe a try…it’s so good with the olives and feta.

  16. Larry says:

    Unlike my widecrack on the previous post, I’ve actually been here but didn’t stay long. We drove along the coast from Monaco to Marseille, on to Avignon, then drank our way up the Rhone River as part of a two week wine tasting tour of Europe. If I knew then what I know now and hadn’t been working I’d have spent 2 weeks in each wine region – thanks for showing me some of what we missed. Your meal looks fabulous and since we’re planting tomatoes this week, if all goes well, I should be able to try the tomato dish about mid June.

    • Karen says:

      You had me laughing Larry. Your trip sounds wonderful…my husband and I have drank our way up the Rhone as well. Not only great wine but wonderful restaurants in that area as well. Since it is not tomato season, I used hothouse tomatoes. Cooking them the way I did, improves the flavor immensely. Hope you enjoy the tomatoes when they get ripe…I’ll have to wait until August for mine to be ripe.

  17. Oh thank you for the little vacation you just gave me! How lovely! The vegetable market really caught my eye with those gorgeous colors all stacked together so neatly. And I know I would like the small little out-of-the way restaurants, too. They do look like they come from a movie set. Tomato season is coming soon, so thank you for sharing a little bit of Provence! Debra

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, I’m happy that you enjoyed the little vacation. Since it’s not tomato season, I used hothouse tomatoes. The time in the oven really improves the flavor. I’ll be making these a lot when our tomatoes are ripe in August.

  18. Diane says:

    Thanks for your visit and comment. I really enjoyed your tour around Provence. Mmmmmm can I come to dinner please LOL. Diane

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diane, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. A chair will be waiting for you anytime you want to come for dinner.

  19. viveka says:

    You have cooked the lamb, perfectly … just the way I want my lamb. Lamb my favorite meat and if on the menu is’t 90% sure I will go for it. Eat lamb chops regular – you have given a true picture of Provance – the only thing the french can’t get right and that is their vegetables. All that fanastic products on their markets and they cook it to death. Worked with French chef’s on one of our vessels. Great in everything else, but could never get al dente vegetables. One of my mentors said many years ago to me, you can judge a chef by his vegetables. So true. Rack of lamb, hard to beat. Done a very good job here. Again. Thanks for taking me to France.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Viveka, I’m glad you enjoyed the little trip to France. I’m glad you agree on how the lamb was cooked…it really does need to be medium rare as far as I’m concerned. Thank you for your lovely compliment…I really appreciate it.

      • viveka says:

        You’re so welcome .. always a pleasure reading your post, recipes and photos. Love to walk along with blogging sisters.

  20. Karen. This meal is heavenly and so is that vegetable stand. It jumps off the page with all those bright colors…so inviting. I wish I have been to the South of France and to that little cafe. I can’t wait to get to travel when my kids are out of college and we aren’t counting pennies anymore! At least I can see some beautiful sights here though.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Geni, Thank you so much for your lovely compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed a little tour. I know that when you get the chance to visit France that you will enjoy the trip.

  21. Sissi says:

    Karen, thank you for another surprising culinary journey. I also love the South of France, even in the middle of the Summer, when it’s really hot. I love the landscapes, the typical plants and trees and of course the food… You know, I have eaten one of the best pizzas in my life in the South of France and not in Italy! (I have never been in Southern Italy though).
    Your complete Provençal meal looks fabulous. I am impatient to see good, aromatic tomatoes here too and you have made me crave lamb (I haven’t had it for ages).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sissi, I’m glad that you enjoy going on my little culinary journeys. You never know which country my food recipes will take you to…that’s for sure. I know what you mean about good pizza, we had a good one in the south of France as well. I hope you get a chance to make this meal…it was delicious.

  22. Love the picture of the outdoor market! It’s gorgeous.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Hollie, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. The outdoor food markets are wonderful in Europe, they remind you of still life paintings.

  23. Purely.. Kay says:

    I wish I could eat this (allergic to tomatoes) because it looks absolutely amazing. I’m wondering if this would taste just as amazing if I used a red pepper. And I love all the photos.. I can’t wait to visit France one day :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kay, Thank you for your nice compliment. This stuffing would be good in all types of vegetables. I know that you will fall in love with France when you get a chance to visit.

  24. Eva Taylor says:

    What a gorgeous post, Karen. My hubby and I dream of spending a month or two in the south of France when we retire. In fact, we will be going to Lyon for a few days in the fall. The tomato recipe looks amazing and I love the look of the lamb. Very nice indeed.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Eva, for your lovely compliment. The fall is a wonderful time to visit…nice weather that time of the year as well. Lyon is famous for wonderful restaurants, I know you will have a nice trip and eat very well.

  25. A_Boleyn says:

    What a wonderful looking meal (although whole tomatoes made me go ewww so I’d stuff portobellos instead). I love going to outdoor markets like that when you can see all the fresh foods displayed for you to snap up.

    • Karen says:

      That is so funny Boleyn. I certainly don’t want you to go ewww. Besides portobellos, you could stuff zucchini and other squash. Outdoor food markets are so wonderful and give great inspiration on what to prepare for a delicious meal.

  26. Thanks for a walk down memory lane. My husband and I toured provence on our honeymoom, but we really only scratched the surface of things to see there….and missed the spring (we went in fall). This looks like a beautiful meal — I just love stuffed tomatoes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi BJ, I’m glad that my post brought back wonderful memories of your honeymoon in Provence. I enjoy going to Europe in the fall as well, especially when you are in the areas where they are harvesting grapes.

  27. ChgoJohn says:

    This was such a great post, Karen, from start to its delicious finish. One of my favorite things about Summer is enjoying baked tomatoes and I’ll definitely give your recipe a try. And that rack of lamb was crusted and then cooked to perfection! Yeah, this was a great post, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you John, for your very kind compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post so much. I tomatoes are great with the herbs, feta and olives…I hope you will enjoy the recipe.

  28. Caroline says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous meal, Karen! Love the array of colors on the plate. I dream of visiting Provence. It’ll happen…someday!! Thanks for sharing all of these photos. :)

  29. hotlyspiced says:

    Oh, Provence should pay you to sell their city to the world. You have so inspired me to start saving for my trip. I just love the image of the small restaurant. Like you say, it is like something out of a movie. How beautiful. I would love to have dinner there and experience that setting. Happy Easter Karen xx

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Charlie, for such a nice compliment. I am thrilled that you enjoyed my post so much. This area is France is what everyone dreams about when traveling to France. The small restaurants really are everything you would imagine them to be. Have a wonderful Easter day as well Charlie.

  30. Cheryl says:

    Love your ever so tasty blog… Very glad you stopped to visit and comment at Green Way Gardening, because now I’ve found YOU!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cheryl, Thank you very much for visiting my blog and your nice comment. I love gardening…not only for the pleasure of watching a garden mature but the wonderful produce that I use in my recipes. I hope to see your visits in the future.

  31. Spoon Feast says:

    Beautiful meal! Thank you for sharing your lovely photos. If you can’t go, this is a great little trip.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so very much for your lovely compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos enough to think of it as a little trip to Provence and the food from the area.

  32. Your blog came in just when I was trying to decide on something different for Easter Dinner this weekend. I’m going to make a rack of lamb for a change. I would love to see Provence! Lovely post! I enjoy your blog a great deal, it’s very inspiring.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jilly, Thank you for stopping by my blog and your nice compliment. I think you will really enjoy making the rack of lamb for your Easter meal. It makes a lovely presentation besides being delicious. Make sure you use Dijon mustard as it gives so much flavor besides holding on the breadcrumbs.

  33. You have captured the essence of France beautifully through this dish :D
    Lovely my friend!

    Happy Easter!
    Choc Chip Uru

  34. Charles says:

    Wow, the outside of the restaurant looks incredible – like one of the artificially constructed places in Disneyland or something. So pretty, and the food as well looks wonderful!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Charles for your nice comment. So many of the villages perched on the hilltops of France have a feeling of something that Disney would have created. Actually he got a lot of his inspiration from Europe. Sometimes the villages only have a couple hundred people living in them but their buildings are maintained and marvelous.

  35. Thanks for the post. My sister and I are thinking of going to Provence next. Have a great weekend!

  36. Kristy says:

    You have no idea how much I would love to be in France right now. It’s been quite the week, and those pictures just look like the perfect place for me to unwind. :) You always give me such wonderful places to day dream about!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Kristy, for your nice comment. Always have dreams…they get us through the stressful days and the best part is that they can come true.

  37. Those markets look magnificent! It would be so inspiring to cook with that produce!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lorraine, I know exactly what you mean. We have farmers markets in our area but nothing like what I see in Europe, especially the way the produce is displayed.

  38. mykitchenstories says:

    Your description of Provence was beautiful. I long to go back and sit at one of those restaurants……. the pictures are fantastic
    http://www.mykitchenstories.com.au

  39. Petanque, Karen! The Old Men would scold you for calling it Boules… ;)
    We were in Avignon last Easter…the wild herbs growing out of the ancient stone walls were in full-bloom…it was heaven!
    Lovely recipe – pure, simple flavors are so satisfying.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Marie for your nice comment. I’m glad my post reminded you of Easter in Avignon. You are correct that in the south of France the game is referred to as Petanque. It is referred to as Boules in some parts of France and in other countries around the world. Since I have readers from so many parts of the world, I really have been trying to use the most generic words possible when I write my posts. It is like when I used Wondra in a recipe and no one had heard of it…now I just use the word flour.

  40. Karen, this is a wonderful post! I’ve been to France but never to the Provence area, now you’ve got me itching to go …………….. well, maybe I’ll just prepare your dinner and pretend that I’m there! :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Chris, for your very nice compliment. Until you get a chance to travel to Provence, please do try my dinner. Put on a little French music and pretend you are there.

  41. Tandy says:

    What a lovely meal! I was looking yesterday at accommodation in Provence as we are planning our holidays :)

  42. lulu says:

    Provence, the wonderful simplicity of it all. Since our first experience there, my own food preparation has been influenced by what we ate. We loved the freshness, the simple flavors and the pizza which we bought from roadside trucks. As always, your food presentation is terrific. BTW, I’m serving your portobello mushroom dish tomorrow night to friends. Off to shop!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Lulu, for your nice compliment. The flavors of Provence are some of my favorites as well. I hope you and your guests will enjoy the portobello mushroom dish.

      • lulu says:

        Omigosh, I tripled your recipe since I am making for 6 and have enough stuffing left for that many more mushrooms!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Lulu, Two things that I might mention about the stuffing…my portobello mushrooms were big. Second as the mushrooms were our main course they were overstuffed as you can see from the photo. I hope everyone will enjoy them.

  43. Those stuffed tomatoes contain all of my favorite flavors: when summer comes I’ll try them. Beautiful photo of the market and of the small restaurant.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sharyn, Thank you for your nice comment. The vegetables in the market were displayed so beautifully. I hope you will enjoy the recipe for the stuffed tomatoes…they were delicious.

  44. Beautiful pictures and great recipe!

  45. Ah, to leave here for a week to visit France. That would be heavenly. Your photos make me want to leave now!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chunklet, My photos make me want to leave now too. Oh well…we both just have to wish the day will come. Thank you for your comment.

  46. Love the photos of the vegetables on display in the markets in Provence! I love European markets and how they have fresh fruits on display and they are vibrant and colorful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ducky, One of my favorite things to do in Europe is to go to the food markets…they are wonderful. It makes me depressed when I get back from a trip and go to our local market. I should take photos with me and show them to the produce manager.

  47. Mmmm, must pop down to the market tomorrow morning.

  48. Karen, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! I have to say, I’m sitting here with my husband, and my stomach is growling…and I stumble upon your lovely photos of provençal tomatoes and herb-crusted lamb. Be still my heart…and my stomach.

    Yes, Provence is beautiful in the springtime. The cherry trees are beautiful right now with their white flowers and the villages are still relatively quiet. In a few weeks things will be different, of course, but the villages will continue to be lovely after the tourists leave.

    I’m happy to have found your blog too; I will be back to read more. Now, it’s time for dinner at one of my favourite restaurants!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya, I am happy that you stopped by for a visit to my blog as well. I love traveling to Provence when the tourists aren’t around. I especially enjoy finding the little out of the way places that haven’t been discovered by the masses although that is getting harder to do.

  49. megtraveling says:

    Your beautiful photos and story make me homesick for Provence, and I haven’t even been there yet! (I like the outdoor markets, too).

  50. Really beautiful shots of Provence. The one of market produce just made me sigh. The size of those artichauts is insane!

    The meal looks like the perfect distillation of Provence. Tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, lamb . . . yum!

    I can only imagine what lamb fed on wild herbs must taste like. Amazing, I bet!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Daisy, for your nice compliment. The lamb raised in Provence has a wonderful flavor. I glad that you liked the dinner that I put together…I did want to included as much as I could that the area is known for.

  51. Claudia says:

    You have given me “itchy” feet and now I am wondering if I could mortgage my cat and daughter and go to Provence. Love the recipes (and for an Italian – Easter dinner is lamb). Saving the recipe for when the tomatoes and zucchini come in… what a heavenly dish.

    • Karen says:

      Oh Claudia, you really had me laughing. I know what you mean about “itchy” feet. As soon as I get home from a trip and see a post of somewhere I want to go, I start dreaming. We are usually invited to friends for Easter, but if we cook…it is always lamb for Easter. My husband is Italian as well and lamb is what he always thinks of having on Easter.

  52. cabinet stew says:

    That is an incredible meal pairing two of my favorites: lamb and tomatoes!SO glad the beginning of decent tomato season is in sight, it has been a long winter of crappy supermarket tomatoes
    but I am in love with the photo of the vegetables-breathtaking! Thank you for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, Thank you for your nice compliment. Yes, I’m happy that we will be getting a better crop of tomatoes in the markets. I’m also looking forward to a good supply of tomatoes from my garden this year.

  53. charukesi says:

    Karen, Thanks for dropping by my blog (by the way, it is called “itchy feet” :) – I love Provence so this post brought back some great memories! and am going to try out your Tomatoes à la Provencal right away…

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Charukesi, for visiting my blog. I am happy that the post brought back nice memories. I hope you enjoy the tomato recipe.

  54. Your dishes were especially beautiful and love hearing the history and showing us where they came from. Of course now we all want to book this holiday… Take care, BAM

  55. This is a keeper!!!! Beautiful words and photos and a great recipe! thanks!

  56. I love this post, Karen. I’m going to Provence next April and I’m so excited about the trip. I know we will love everything about the region. Thanks for the recipes too. They will give us a little taste of what we can look forward to next spring.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Cathy, for your nice compliment. I know your birthday trip to France will be wonderful. We had beautiful weather on our spring trip, I hope you will as well.

  57. Rachel says:

    Are you *trying* to make me cry? Wow… what beautiful photos! Mmmm… I wanna go there *now*!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, Thank you for your nice compliment. I know…every time I look at my photos, it makes me want to return to that beautiful area.

  58. Angela says:

    I used to live in Switzerland and had friends who lived in Provence. I always loved going to visit. To me, it’s the best part of France, and the food . . . to die for! Thanks for taking me back to those years.

  59. Mary says:

    I loved the quick trip to France and I especially appreciated the food you are sharing with us today. Rack of lamb is a family favorite and yur photo has made me quite hungry. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

  60. This post has it all. Lovely photos and travel log, plus a recipe to try out!

  61. What a gorgeous meal! I will be in Provence for the first time this June…you’ve amped up my excitement with your post!!!!

  62. Debra Kolkka says:

    It all looks so delicious!

  63. Karen, what a beautiful post! We don’t get to travel, but I feel like I’ve been on a brief holiday through your photos. Thank you.. :)

  64. I’ve always wanted to make stuffed tomatoes. Never tried it. This looks very good! Bookmarking this, and thanks for sharing.

    Lamb is pretty expensive where we are and imported from New Zealand. We don’t have it very often. I am trying to see if there is a local source (there’s gotta be!).

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m sure that you can find a source for local lamb. If you have a farmer’s market, you might check with some of the vendors. They usually know the other farmers in their area and might be able to give you a source. I hope you enjoy the tomatoes…they are very good.

  65. Hey, I love your recipe for the rack of lamb – one of my favourite meals. Have you tried adding some wasabi to the crust – really is sensational and adds a new twist to the classic – I have a recipe on my blog if you fancy checking it out.

    I’m loving your blog too by the way!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Paul, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your very nice compliment. I do like wasabi and will try your version as I like adding a new twist to some of my favorite meals.

  66. Joanne says:

    Is that the french version of bocci ball!?!? So cool.

    These tomatoes au provencal sound delicious. I love the flavors of provence food…so simple and tasty.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, Thank you for your nice compliment. The tomatoes are really delicious and simple to make. Yes…that is the French version of bocci ball. You see it being played on the town squares in many towns.

  67. gmaphotos says:

    Karen – your photos and journaling are just inspiring. And then, the recipes – I will show it to my husband, he LOVES to cook and is quite good at it ;) I hope someday to return to Europe – so much to see and experience! So many of your readers are blessed to be able to travel often. Someday……………until then, I will live vicariously through your blog. Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi GMA, Thank you for your very nice compliment. I’m really glad that you enjoy my posts. I hope your husband will be inspired by the recipes. I am lucky that my husband loves to cook as well.

  68. musingmar says:

    Mmm, this meal looks like the next best thing to actually being in Provence.

  69. Thank you for taking us away to Provence. We spent two fabulous months there several years ago and hope to go back again next year. It’s a magical and charming place. Love your tomatoes provencale. They have been a family favorite in my husband’s family for a very long time. Love your version with the olives.
    Sam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sam, I’m happy that you enjoyed the little visit to Provence. Oh, I would love to spend two months there…so many lovely little towns to discover at your leisure. I thought the olives added a nice flavor to the tomatoes.

  70. Susan says:

    Delicious flavors of Provence and the spring lamb so perfect for this time of year too. What a lovely meal!

  71. I could get lost in your pictures of Provence, Karen. The little restaurant is adorable and the produce at that market is glorious! We had a discussion about rack of lamb at work yesterday and now I really want some! Your crust looks so good. The veggies look quite tasty, too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Becki, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. I think you would really enjoy the rack of lamb and it is so simple to prepare. The whole meal really reminded me of our time in Provence.

  72. I haven’t been to Provence, but your pictures are beautiful and look at that produce! It reminds me of some of the fruit and vegetable stands I shopped from in Italy. This whole meals sounds delicious, especially the stuffed tomatoes. I’ve never met a stuffed tomato I didn’t love!

  73. My s-i-l live near Avignon and when we visit, I love to go to the markets for both food and lavendar. Some amazing food there, although I’m always a little surprised at how few vegetarian choices there are in a land filled with wonderful veggies. Oooooo, wish I were with our younger daughter who’s headed over there for three weeks to help my s-i-l with a soon-to-arrive litter of puppies!!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. Avignon and the area around it are very lovely. Most of the open air markets that I have been to have a nice selection of vegetables. Maybe the open air markets don’t have as big of a selection as what we have in our markets but it is nice to know that they have been freshly picked when fully ripe…usually the same day as they arrive at the market.

      • Karen, I guess I didn’t say that very clearly. There are tons of vegetables at the market. They all look and taste wonderful. But the restaurants tend to have lots of meat and cheese, in all the courses; all very tasty, I hasten to add, but I always feel there should be more vegetarian choices at the restaurants since there ARE so many great veggies.

  74. BTW, that restaurant is lovely!!

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