I’ve Moved

I recently found a couple of blogs that I was interested in only to find that for some reason, they had been abandoned. I pored through the posts, wondering why someone would just stop writing.

And then I remembered that I had done just that.

I started this blog as a test — to see if the tablescaping world was more welcoming than the book review world was. Lo and behold, it was, so I consolidated my posts in one place and use linkys to meet more friends in my areas of interest.

Thank you for visiting The Seasoned Dish. You will find me at Got My Reservations now. Please click in and come over to visit!

Farmer’s Market in Aix-en-Provence

And….. I’m back from France full of inspiring adventures to share with you!

Today we’re visiting the Farmers’ Market in Aix-en-Provence. Since we were there on a Monday, we toured and shopped the Marché Place Richelme: a local producers market on Place Richelme near the city hall, daily 9:00AM – 12:30PM.

5553169352_5475c24053_z

In early April, there isn’t much produce grown locally as it is early in the season. The strawberries, however, were just starting and we saw tender new asparagus.

DSC03984 DSC04001

Other produce is imported from Spain and warmer climates, but the produce is still quite fresh because it doesn’t have to be shipped very far (France is the size of Texas).

DSC03981 DSC03982 DSC03983 DSC03986 DSC03987 DSC03995 DSC03998 DSC04000 DSC04002 DSC04003 DSC04004Then there was the cheese! The Provençal locals take their cheese very seriously. Their olive oils, tapenades, sausages and pates are also palate – pleasers.

DSC03994

I gave this vendor my business card and told her to watch for her farmstand on my blog.

DSC03989 DSC03988 DSC03990 DSC03991 DSC03992 DSC03993What do you think of when you think about the south of France? Do you visualize fields of lavender?

Lavender-Field_-Abbey-of-Senanque_-Near-Gordes_-Provence_-France

We visited this abbey, but it was too early in the season for the lavender to be flowering.

Local farmers sell many types of lavender products in the markets and tourist shops. Our group bought lavender sachets and the famous Savon de Marseille soap in the market.

DSC03997

DSC03996

I found the market to be very inspirational and now that I’m home, I’m back to cooking with fresh and organically-grown ingredients. I can’t wait until our own farmers’ markets open in early June!

Tablescape Thursday: Spring into France

One thing I’ve learned since I’ve started stalking following tablescaping blogs is that when I see a wonderful piece at a good price, I should grab it.

That was the case with this beautiful 60″ x 120″ Indian cotton tablecloth from April Cornell that I got at Home Goods for $39.99. The blue and green paisley with yellow accents was just the shot of spring I needed in my dining room — it’s unclear here in Chicagoland whether it’s winter or spring, so I voted for spring! The tablecloth has mitered corners with a sewn-in border and is stunning. Although it’s actually a traditional Indian paisley, to me it says country French and that was where I went with it.

I got to work gathering up pieces from around the house that would complement the colors of the bold tablecloth but not necessarily compete with it. I started with these very bold placemats. Nope. Too much.

I went back to my trusty pewter chargers from last week (sending a quick thank you to my mother-in-law’s memory) and layered my mom’s sweet china (Claridge from Four Crown China) with the World Market Indian cotton napkin. I like how the clear salad plate shows off the beautiful blue and grey stripes of the napkin.

Since every party at my house always starts with appetizers as people gather, I envisioned the dinner beginning with Basil – Lemon Sorbet as a palate cleanser. It would look beautiful in my inherited sorbet glasses. My mother-in-law loved these swirl dishes; does anyone know what the pattern is?

I grabbed the antique etched glass goblets and simple water glasses for beverages. The combination of complex and simple helps to balance the table.

For my centerpiece, I started with a crystal cake plate and put a large hurricane on it with the bright blue candle. Again, too much and too tall. Then I turned the cake plate upside down and put another of my glass plates as a candle bobeche. Perfect proportions.

As the pieces started to come together, I knew I didn’t even have to get fresh flowers for this table. The silk flowers and vines that I already had were perfect for the setting. The “white” flower ring from Partylite turned out to actually have a complementary yellow cast, and the ivy sets off the beauty of the Chinese and Delft teapots.

Finally, I knew that I had to have some pops of yellow to complement the yellow in the tablecloth, so I pulled out a few pieces of French Quimper pottery from my (mother-in-law’s) collection. They are not usable for eating as they are old and likely have lead in their glazes, but putting four small plates on stands completed the centerpiece.

After I arranged the fake ivy, I realized there was room for another set of candlesticks at each end, so on the table went more Quimper with votives set on top. (You’ve probably figured out by now that I hate getting wax on my tablecloths and almost always use bobeches and votives.)

If my table could talk, it would say, “Passez une bonne journée!”


I’m linked up today to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Be sure to stop by and see some other inspirational tablescapes!