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Traditional Apple Frangipane Flan

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Saint Paul de Vence, France

A medieval French hilltop village in between two deep valleys, Saint Paul de Vence is filled with quaint old houses, art galleries, boutiques, narrow winding streets, stone walls covered in vines, romantic fountains, majestic statues, cobblestones, and sidewalk cafes. Undeniably spectacular views of the mountain and the sea make this a top destination. 
Because of its captivating beauty and laid-back atmosphere, an average of 2.5 million tourists visit the village every year so it is not exactly the place to go if you desire peace and quiet. It is also not the easiest place to get to since it is not accessible by rail. You can either go there by car or by bus from the major Riviera cities. Still, the trip is worth it for the stroll within the ramparts alone, allowing yourself the pleasure of simply "hanging out" with the locals.  
Two of the best places to dine at Sain Paul de Vence is at the Le Colombe dâOr at the Place du General-de-Gaulle, or at Mas dâArtigny at Route de La Colle. La Colombe is where the stars eat and stay and where artworks by Picasso, Léger, Miró, and Roualt are displayed and can be viewed. Matisse, Picasso, and many other modern painters used to stay at the hotel and paid their bills with paintings. Mas dâ Artigny is off the beaten track located in the countryside in the middle of the forest.   
Long a haven for the famous, Saint-Paul de Vence was a favorite destination of French actors in the 1960s including Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, and Lino Ventura. The poet Jacques Prevert also frequented the place. It was also home to Russian born painter Marc Chagall who is buried in the Saint-Paul-de-Vence cemetery. To get to his grave, which is a simple white tomb, take the first right from the entrance and then take the next left.
Saint Paul de Vence, France
Cannes, France

Known worldwide for its famous annual film festival, Cannes in France is also a gastronomic destination and has some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts in the world. All types of eateries and restaurants can be found in Cannes from charming hole-in-the-walls to the ultimate in glitz and glamour. A small seaside town, Cannes is easy and fun to explore and has pretty and busy beaches for relaxing and sipping cocktails and fine wines.     
Cannes, all along the Riviera, its De Luxe hotels and its world famous International Film Festival, opens its doors wide for you. Following in the footsteps of a great number of stars who close up and crowd here, you can lunch at the Restaurant of the Hotel Gray d'Albion where you can appreciate the famous smoked haddock in salad, recommended by Jacques Chibois. Or enjoy the famous crusty-crunchy chicken, "Gérard Depardieu" suggested by Mario at the Majestic. Go for walks all along the well-known Croisette overhanging the ancient village "Suquet" and avail of the smooth and mild evenings illuminated by wonderful fireworks let off the bay.
Considered to be one of the social hubs of Europe, Cannes is at its most glittering come May when the Cannes Film Festival is held and where the rich and famous flock in what was formerly a fishing village. The festival is held at the Palais des Festivals at the end of La Croisette. Casinos and high-end restaurants abound in this area as well as spectacular architecture and culture.     
Cobbled streets and breathtaking views of Le Suquet are worth visiting. Down the beautiful marina, street side tables and cafes are lined up where you can watch people pass by and have coffee, tea or wine.  Walking is the best mode of transportation around the city and allows you to stumble upon obscure sights and hidden gems that you might miss otherwise.
Cannes, France
Le Mont Ventoux, France

Known as the âGiant of Provenceâ or the âBeast of Provence,â or the âThe Bald Mountain,â Le Mont Ventoux is most famous for being one of the most grueling climbs in the Tour de France bicycle race. Located in the Provence region of southern France, 20 kilometres northeast of Carpentras, Vaucluse and bordering the Drome department on the north side, Mont Ventoux is the largest mountain in the region and is one the most important tourist spots in Provence.
There is little infrastructure on top of the mountain but there are a lot of villages around with hotels and restaurants. Mount Ventoux is only the highest part of the mountain range, which runs from the village of Montbrun-les-Bains in the east and to Malaucène in the west. The range rises up again further to the west at the Dentelles de Montmirail.  
From the top of the mountain, you can see most of the Alps including Mont Blanc, Chaine de Belledonne, Vercors, the Queyras, the Ecrins, and the Mercantour especially if the air is clear and the weather permits. If you plan to bike up to the mountain, be sure to take some food with you and plenty of water as there are no places to stop by for snacks. It is also a good idea to bring a wind jacket and a sweater even in the summer, as well as a mobile phone. Other activities in the area besides cycling are hiking, rock climbing, and visiting historical sites.       
In the surrounding small villages, there are a lot of B&Bs, country hotels, self-catering vacation rentals, and markets that carry local products like strawberries, cherries, vegetables, lamb, wine, aromatic herbs and other fresh ingredients. While Le Mont Ventoux is quite busy during the summertime, it is never overcrowded and has a tranquil air and peaceful charm.
Le Mont Ventoux, France
Chez Caroll Duval-Leroy, Champagne, France

In the heart of the Côtes des Blanc at Vertus, the second largest wine growing region in Champagne (after Les Riceys) in France, the Duval-Leroy family have been producing some of the finest wines in the world since 1859. In 1911, Duval-Leroy was the first champagne house to elaborate a Premier Cru, known as Fleur de Champagne 1er Cru.   Today, it has 200 hectares of vineyards producing mainly Chardonnay Grand Crus. The current head of the house is Carol Duval-Leroy, a passionate woman who has transformed Duval-Leroy in the last ten years from a family-run business into a top champagne house.
Born 1955 in Belgium, Carol Duval-Leroy (then Nilens) studied economics at the University of Brussels. As a teenager, she frequently visited the Champagne region with her family because of the Rotary Club. During one of the dinners, she met and fell in live with Jean-Charles Duval-Leroy, the son of local champagne grape growing family. After finishing university, they soon married and she became a champenois wife, and helped out in the vineyard and took care of the vintage workers who came to stay during vintage. Carol immediately took an active role in the family wine business.  
In 1991, Carolâs husband died from terminal cancer at just 39 years old. Jean-Charles turned over the management of the business to his wife until his sons are old enough to handle the business. Under Carolâs care, Duval-Leroy was established as a worldwide brand. Today, Duval-Leroy is in 200 Michelin Star restaurants in France. In 1991, they had an annual production of 2,5 million bottles. Today, they produce about 5 million bottles and have expanded their market to Asia and the United States.   
One of the last independent family-owned champagne houses, Duval-Leroy keeps tradition alive with vintage and non-vintage cuvee but has also adapted to the modern market with its line of organic and bio-dynamically produced wines.
Chez Caroll Duval-Leroy, Champagne,...

Cooking Recipe Videos

There are many ways to improve your cooking skills: reading great cookbooks, taking cooking classes, and good old fashioned practice in the kitchen are traditional methods. But these days, online cooking recipe videos are another excellent resource for aspiring chefs. Here's how to get the most from the cooking videos you encounter.

Find Them

There are lots of cooking recipe videos out there, but not all are created equal. Before you spend time watching any, consider the source. If you want to widen your cooking horizons, videos featuring famous chefs are a must. Such chefs might include television personalities (who may or may not have formal cooking backgrounds), cooking legends (like Julia Child, Graham Kerr, and Wolfgang Puck), or Michelin star-awarded chefs who've impressed the cooking world with their expertise and talent.

Live Demos

Once you find cooking recipe videos by esteemed chefs, you will probably discover you learn the most if you watch the videos more than once. In the first viewing, you'll likely only get the overall picture of what the chef is doing. If you watch the video once or twice more, you may notice and remember details you didn't before.

Bear in mind that you're not just learning how to make a particular recipe. You're also hoping to learn cooking techniques you can rely upon for other dishes. For example, you might see a Michelin chef chop up food in a faster, simpler way than you've ever seen before. Or you might see how a meal is flambéed. Or you might learn a new way to cook meat so it's crisp on the outside and tender and juice on the inside. There is nothing quite like a live demo, to make those techniques stick in your brain and come to life next time you are in the kitchen.

Share it

Although cooking recipe videos are helpful and educational, they're also fun. You can make them even more entertaining by sharing them with friends. What does your best friend think about trying to make a flambéed meal with you? Does she have a funny story to tell about attempting this on her own? Does your work mate drool over gourmet desserts as much as you do? Are you and your friends inspired by a certain video to try a pot luck gourmet party? Let cooking videos be part of you and your friends online entertainment, and you'll have fun while you improve your cooking skills.

Try it Out

After watching cooking recipe videos, it's a great idea to make the recipes in your own kitchen. The best cooking video websites also have printed recipes to go along with their videos. Print one out and give the recipe your best go.

Or, you could just try out one or two techniques you learned by watching a great chef. For example, maybe you've never tried blanching vegetables before. After watching a chef demonstrate this on a video, you can try the technique almost any time you're preparing veggies.

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