I love it when I come across a new local food speciality; one that I didn't know existed but has been around for the best part of a century delighting all who taste it. This particular discovery is called the Craquelin. It consists of an exquisitely light buttery brioche topped with crunchy caramelised whole almonds, infused with the taste of honey. I stumbled across it while showing a cousin from Australia around its home town Vence. We stopped for coffee and cake little realising as we ordered that we'd found a gastronomic treasure.
In 1927 a baker named Joseph Palanque opened a patisserie in Vence, in the Alpes-Maritimes near Nice. From holidays spent in Brittany he could remember a special cake made with honey and it was in recreating his version of this that he invented the Craquelin Vençois. The recipe has been passed down the generations and it is now Joseph's grandson, Gérard, who runs the very same patisserie and continues to produce this mythical cake. Vence has become renowned for the Craquelin and many other bakers make their own version of it but if you want to try the original, and most say the best, then head to Patisserie Palanque just off the main square. I'll certainly be back soon.
Do you have any local food specialities where you are? Do let me know.
Adventure. Oh this word conjures up so much!
My life has been one big adventure so far. Having lived in nine different countries, and travelled in 60, I'm eternally curious, forever wanting to explore more. In this sense adventure means physically exploring new unknown places, the less discovered the better. I've been lucky and have experienced plenty of this, one highlight being a train journey from Hanoi to Helsinki in 1994. My friend and I shared a second class cabin with Russian newly weds and a cat called Genghis Khan. We provided the alcohol and chocolate, they provided bread and meat. We made a great partnership despite a lack of communal language. We had few plans and took the adventures as they came. We jumped off the train and explored the wilds of Western Mongolia by horseback; we stayed with local nomads in their gers. This was how adventure used to be.
But circumstances change and my life is more settled. Adventure now encompasses family and running a business; less physical perhaps though I still discover new and unknown places regularly, both metaphorically and actually. Recently, however, I found a new, unexpected and serendipitous adventure - blogging! I blog, I follow other blogs and so the adventure continues!
This post is my entry in an adventure photo competition being run by Southern Cross Travel Insurance, suggested by Aussie in France. I in turn nominate Rear View Mirror and The Riviera Grapevine to define adventure. And you, readers, what is it for you?