Monthly Archives: November 2016

Saffron harvest in central France

Trying to socialise and explore this new part of France where I settled down a little while ago,  I randomly ran into a chance to explore a saffron farming, “Safran dans volcans”, and meet Michel, passionate about this flower and this precious spice.

The good thing when you don’t know nothing, is that there is plenty to learn about !

I can confess that I don’t remember everything he told us that day (and he has plenty to say), but already having the chance to see, understand, but most of all : smell and taste, was already great enough to remember, even if, so far, I’ve never used that spice when cooking.

Saffron is harvested in September/October, and at that time of the year, morning were already freezing cold.

The field was much smaller than I expected, but thinking about it, it made sense : saffron comes from a small crocus (safran being its pistil), so there is no need to have a huge field to harvest, unless you are a big team of workers, but that wasn’t the case here.

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it will take us a few minutes to see the actual flowers there.

Can you see them ?

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The goal there was to pick the flowers before they bloom, in order to have the purest pistil possible (no air, no light, no humidity, no animals walking around).

The purest = the better = the rarest = the most expensive.

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And then we went inside, to have more explanations about it, but most of all : to separate the pistil from the rest of the flower.

Saffron comes from a crocus, and that’s the red part of the pistil that we will cut, and then dry, to use as a spice.

Humidity and fragility of the flower requires that we work fast on this if we want to preserve the quality of the saffron.

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Petals will be used later on by the cosmetic and perfume industry.

🙂

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Our visit ends up with tasting several products using saffron, but also smelling the different ranges of saffron.

I think I’ve never tasted saffron before, or at least never a good one.

This is not a spice that I use when cooking but I now know that when I’ll intend to, I will buy a French one, and possibly a local one 😉

Gorgeous colors, mersmerizing smell, that was a great way to spend the morning and learn about saffron.

🙂

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A wedding in Laguiole

Antoine and Sarah’s wedding was a chance for me to discover Laguiole, a very famous city (for its knives), but much smaller than its reputation.

A July wedding is always a good idea, but that day, the weather was very hot (melting hot !).

The bride being shy, I’ve spent my morning taking photos of the groom and his friends getting ready, with the groom’s lovely grandpa 🙂

A celebration at  Laguiole cityhall , a decoration made in liberty, and flowers from  Comme une fleur

A little walk up the hill, to reach the church st Matthieu de Laguiole (but there was shadow!), followed by a cocktail (fouace, a traditional local brioche, and champagne = yummy !) at a friend’s huge garden.

Friends laughing, smiling, dancing and singing, yep, that was a lovely afternoon 🙂

And then, ending the day having dinner and partying at salle des Fêtes de Curières.

Here is a what I call a lovely wedding ! 🙂

So here is a little photo reminder of what happened that day 🙂

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Hiking on top of Plomb du Cantal

Because I lived for 10 years in Paris before settling down in Auvergne, the only “Plomb du Cantal” I knew was a very yummy restaurant near Montparnasse train station, where I get to taste my very first “truffade”  (and all the others I had after that because it’s soooo good !) 🙂

But now that I live in Auvergne, the land of truffade, the name “Plomb du Cantal” takes another meaning…..

I am irremediably attracted by Cantal since the very first time (of course, it’s the name of my favourite cheese), but not only, and this, I knew it without knowing it…

I had a confirmation of my attraction from my very first trip in this area, while on a roadtrip to Salers, when I havn’t even found an appartment in Auvergne yet.

I’ve left Clermont-Ferrand, the biggest city in Auvergne, this summer, to moove to the Cantal area, and I already feel so much happier around here !

Fall has come before my wedding photography season was over and temperature are going down, I guess it was more than time to discover and hike on top of Plomb du Cantal, the real one ! 🙂

Plomb du Cantal is the highest mountain of the Mounts of Cantal, and is 6085 feet tall (Puy de Dôme is another famous one, and is 4806 ft tall). Here are some more infos in English about this mountain

I took these photos last week after we hiked on top of it, but drove by it yesterday and it was already all covered with snow. I guess we’ve been lucky ! 🙂

I really love this nature, this emptiness, this silence and all of these mixing together and blowing in my fair and in my hair, but I still have a way to go until I feel safe hiking there : after this hike, I caught a cold and barely feel better today. I guess I’ve breathed to much fresh air up there 🙂

So here are, in photos, a little sumup of this awesome day on top of the Cantal ! 🙂

I hiked with my friend Valérie (have a look at here  instagram if you want to discover Auvergne and its pretty landscapes)

Are you ready ? Tie your shoes, and let’s goooooooooooo !!!!

Yes, we’re going all the way up there, on the top right ! 🙂

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And then, at the end of the path, by this little door, up there, was freedom….  an opening to new landscapes, wind blowing in your hair….

🙂

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Hold your breath…

Voilà… it was worth all the hills we’ve climbed

(and then, staring at this photo, I just want to be there again !) 🙂

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If you’re looking for Puy Mary, another famous moutain in the area (5849ft tall), you’ll find it on the left of the big flat moutain. Puy Mary is the triangle shape that stands just left to it 🙂

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And here’s a general view in video 🙂

and then, walk down the wooden steps from the top,

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And go for a walk on the crest of the mountains… I really loved loved loved this moment of the day !

It was a bit scary (I’m a sissy I know), but what an awesome feeling… and view ! 🙂

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And then, we decided to start walking back down, to make sure we don’t get caught by the night, because the temperature difference when in the shadow was already very cold 🙁

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I really loved this place, these landscapes, and this nature !

Quiet, but also a sense of force of the nature.

Even if the difference in height is not as strong as when you hike up to Puy Mary, it’s still hiking in the mountain, and safety should rule everything. Night can fall, shadows makes everything quiet colder, and the wind can hurt your ears.

I really love Cantal more and more each time I get to explore it, and so love Auvergne in general even more because of this.

Dear Plomb du Cantal, there wasn’t any truffade that day, but I like much better this side of you than anything I’ve experiment while living in Paris.

But… please, make sure you follow the signs when you hike down the mountain, because if you want to shorter your hike, like we tried to, you may have to crawl past barbwire.

Rolling on the ground was fun, and these fluffy wild grass were quiet comfortable to be honest 🙂

(thanks Valérie for this photo)

🙂

moi-barbele

🙂

 

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