So when my beautiful Mom (top photo, one month ago she celebrated a milestone birthday and no it wasn't 50 or 60) and her husband Leonard, were visiting last September and we just happened to try the fine wares at La Fabrique Givrée in Uzès...
...I immediately thought, "This place is fantastic. I should absolutely do a post about it...for next summer!" Eh oui, call it the Rainy Day Modus Operandi (one that life has been none too subtle about demanding that I abandon as of late).
But I digress, for no matter where you are right now, no matter the time of day, wouldn't you be tempted by a densely packed scoop of say...Vanilla from Bora Bora, Thai Lemongrass, Ethiopian Coffee or Iranian Pistachio? Can you feel the cold brushing across your lips? Of course, you could always fall back on the ever-reliable salted butter caramel or sesame praline (I did)...but regardless, one quickly gets the drift that this is no Dairy Queen (sorry, wonderful Ellie).
Can't decide which way to go? No one can, really, so don't worry about it. The line (and there will be a line) is full of indecisive hmmer's. Plus, if you are really in a bind, one of the cute staff just might give you a taste. If you are friendly. And it always is best to be friendly, now, isn't it?
I love the story behind La Fabrique Givrée and it most certainly shows in their final product (and I haven't even been able to go back to try their more complex creations yet). Three childhood friends married their love for their region (all of the milk, cream, fruit and yes, saffron come from the Ardèche and Provence) and their joy in traveling the world (the foreign products, such as the Valhrona chocolate, are all responsibly sourced under a protected designation of origin) into ice cream...albeit, la glace as an art form. Coup de grâce? Their Uzés location is the only and I do mean only spot that I can recommend for fine eats under the arcades of the exceptionally lovely but highly touristy Place aux Herbes. Enjoy.
La Fabrique Givrée
27 Place aux Herbes
There are other boutiques in Aubenas and Lyon.
During Summer 2016, certain tastiness is available in Paris at Fou de Patisserie in the 2nd.
Sheepishly, I will concede that there is not one but two wonderful treats that I have been meaning to share with you. And the second is to be enjoyed all year around. Taking the admissions to the blushing red level, I will confess that while I was quite excited to read Marjorie William's "Markets of Provence," there was also a rather Grinchy side of me that was gleefully hovering over its pages, tapping my fingertips together, just waiting to be able to shred it to bits.
Quoi? I know. Je suis terrible. But, but just because Madame Williams has already had a galloping success with her "Markets of Paris," to the point where it is now in its second edition, who is she to think that she could just come strolling down to Provence and conquer, like une vrai Parigotte? The world of Provençal markets is a complex panoply that even someone who has lived in the region for over ten years would hesitate to take on for fear of slipping into clichés or making a false step.
Save that she doesn't. "Markets of Provence" is just perfect. It is an incredibly useful resource for visitors and locals alike. The book is divided into markets open by day of the week (as it most certainly should be), delineates the musts with the maybes and is served with a pinch of history and culture on the side for context. Occasionally, she "sees" what is on offer through the knowledgeable eyes of someone who knows each market best. "Now who would that be for Arles?" I wondered, the final gauntlet thrown. For the former capital of Roman Gaul, the phenomenally talented (if somewhat temper-driven) Michelin-starred chef Jean-Luc Rabanel is a fitting ambassador, one who offers a witty and wise selection. That Maison Genin is featured for its saucissons d'Arles had me nodding in approval - but truly each suggestion at every market that I know well is spot-on. Chefs and producers in other areas across a broad swath of le Midi add their own tips to the pistou.
But it is the bright, crisp language of Marjorie's writing that makes this little big book sing with the precision of a cigale. The excellent index section (with restaurant suggestions and vocabulary plus specialty market listings) and encardrés throughout (asking such enigmatic questions as "What IS Provence?") are the final elements that make "Markets of Provence" something to savor slowly from a distance or keep tucked into our straw baskets when we are strolling like a conqueror - or just a happy flâneur - through each wonderfully unique marché provençal.
(Amazingly, she grew up in York, Pennsylvania where I did most of my high school years and it is also the Sister City to Arles)
As always, these are suggestions that I am happy to pass along on their own merit!
I hope that you find them as worthwhile as I do.
For those of you who delight me with your comments, I do apologize for not responding as much as usual - please know how much they mean to me - but, as I have mentioned, I am spending less time at the keyboard (typing on a phone just does not do it for me) and more reading at my Sister's house in the country.
Thank you all for being here and Happy Fourth of July to those of you in the States,