As late Summer gives way to early Fall with the wine harvest, the scene starts to change all around Provence. November 1st is the Feast of Toussaint (All Saint's Day) – a holiday in France and it marks the mid point in Autumn. In Provence, the warm, bright and sunny days of October have given way to misty mornings and more frequent Mistrals and much cooler although very often sunny days. The short but spectacular thunderstorms become a little more regular.
Vines being trimmed, bonfires and smoke rising into the air from the trimmings bonfires.
Olive harvest and olive mills hard at work. Last year, Pere Pierre (our next door neighbor) picked the olives on our tree and put some in the freezer for us. He cured some, and one of our other neighbors cured another batch. Yum! Our own olives!
The leaves of the Virginia Creeper on the arbor outside Maison des Pelerins and at the front climbing the old walls have started to change from a fresh deep green to bright red. The wisteria creeper is bright yellow before the leaves start falling and it goes to rest for the winter.
In the Fields - Champignon hunters venture out into the woods to forage for campignons and the heading off to a local pharmacie for confirmation that their harvest is edible.
In the markets - All kinds of potimaron (squash) and champignons (mushrooms).
- Truffle markets start up – Carpentras early on Friday morning and the more well known Truffle market at Richeranches.
- The first cardoons, a popular cool weather vegetable that looks like celery ribs at the center of very light green leaves and tastes like artichoke hearts are showing up on the market stands.
The hunting season is in full swing. It is not unusual to hear shots from the hunter’s in the countryside around Sablet. The stores and markets also offer game for those rich cool weather meals.
Restaurant menus feature menus of rich lamb or game stews (Provencal Daube), often with wild mushrooms, wild mushroom tartes, rabbit, pintade (guinea fowl), pigeon, tartes made from the new season’s champignons, fig tartes or figs with fresh goat cheese.
|The official "Affiche" (poster) for the 2010 Festival des Soupes, |
expertly drawn by local Cartoonist Jean Marcellintion
The River Ouveze begins to flow more freely after the dry weather of summer. Soon the scene will change again with lights going up in towns and villages, signaling the beginning of the Christmas season and all the fun that goes along with the Winter season.