to cradle in French + garden photo
A trend in France this summer + photos of Ramatuelle

A food that garantees happiness, luck, health and offspring?

Almond harvest

Happy, lucky, and healthy and we haven't even eaten an almond yet! Just goes to show the power of this fuzzy, favorite French fruit. Read on...

Mas la Monaque: rent this beautiful French home

Mas la Monaque - Rent this beautifully restored 17-century farmhouse. Click here for more pictures.

une amande (ah-mahnd)
    : almond

sugared almond = la dragée
almond paste = la frangipane
almond tree = un amandier
sweet/bitter almond = amande douce/amère
almond tartlet = une amandine
... and have you ever eaten a "Pithivier"? A pie made of puff pastry with almond paste inside.
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Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentences from Wikipedia.frDownload MP3 or Wav 

  • recouverte d'une peau veloutée au toucher, verte et duveteuse, l'amande est un fruit à coque/ Covered with skin that is velvet to the touch, green and fluffy, the almond is a nut.
  • au temps des Romains, on jetait des amandes sur les mariés pour leur garantir bonheur, chance, santé et une belle descendance. In Roman times they threw almonds at newlyweds, guaranteeing them happiness, luck, health, and many descendants
  • L'orgeat que l'on consomme de nos jours est une boisson fabriquée à partir d'amandes. The orgeat we drink these days is a beverage made partly from almonds.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

We continue this twice-weekly journal with photos rather than essaysThis way I can relax and focus on Mom. Only two more weeks together, time is flying past! Enjoy today's snapshots of our almond récolte and see you in a few more days, with even more pictures :-)

Kissing the almond harvesters

Mom and I returned home to a flurry of activity. Jean-Marc and his friends were tackling the almond harvest. We had been wondering how to approach the chore, hemming and hawing about it for days. Then Guillaume, his brother Benjamin, and Eric (all skiers from Serre Chevalier) showed up! In the no-nonsense fashion typical of les montagnards, or mountain men--the guys brought down the fuzzy shelled fruit in a shower of efficiency!

(There's Mom, kissing Benjamin each time he offers her une amande fraîche.)

Hugging the almond harvesters

Mom's right, a little show of gratitude leads to even more harvested almonds! That's Benjamin's brother, Guillaume, standing on the chair raking in the velvety "fruit."  


But let's not be too kissy-huggy... not with Chief Grape looking on! Good thing his specialty is wine, or he might be called Chief Nut. Just sayin'.


Back to business. Here's Eric, ski instructor and pub owner in Serre Chevalier. Looks like he is holding plyers in one hand. Other alternative nut-crackers included those heavy pétanque balls, which were handy for cracking the shells (see first photo of this series, lower right corner) 


 Trying my luck with the le râteau, or rake. How do you harvest almonds?

More importantly, how do you like your almonds? Roasted, raw and fresh (as devoured here, by the guys), in frangipane (le gâteau des rois...) Comment here, and share ideas on more ways to enjoy almonds!


 Favorite photo of Guillaume: The Art of Almond Harvesting


Benjamin, right, was just a kid when I first met him. Last year, after retiring from professional skiing, he coached the French Women's ski team in Sochi!


In addition to plyers and steel pétanque balls, another alternative to the nutcracker is displayed here. Guillaume, careful with your teeth! 

A message from our sponsors, and one more photo to come...

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Did you enjoy the almond harvest? And learn a thing or two? Here's another tip: A big straw hat makes a charming harvest basket. This one, found at the farmers market, was a gift from my belle-mère, Marsha,  and my Dad

Capture plein écran 16122011 162653Very excited and grateful for the latest review of Blossoming in Provence:

 "I loved this book, and wanted it to go on forever! I'm hoping for a lengthier book from her sometime in the near future." --LuAnn

If you enjoyed this book or the memoir, First French Essais, and would like to leave a review, please click here. Your ratings are so helpful in getting the word out about these books on French life.

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A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation of any amount.

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