Category Archives: Non-Food Related

A Weekend in Switzerland…

I sorry for the lack of posts….CH and I got back last night from a wonderful weekend getaway to Switzerland. We visited mostly the Swiss-French region and it only fueled my desire to stay in Europe for good, as not only are these weekend destinations at my back door, the people we met were incredible and the food (for the most part!) was delicious.

We love to explore the backcountry, and this weekend was no different.  We added 2hrs to our drive, each way, just to avoid all of the main highways (not to mention that France charges you to use the freeways, and it adds up fast!).  In any event, we enjoyed our drive through all of the very small French towns and farms and the scenery just can’t be beat – it was truly beautiful.  CH did get frustrated on Sunday when no gas stations were open and my bladder may have suffered a little trying to find somewhere in all the small towns, but we survived.  In any event, the drive was worth it and we really enjoyed ourselves.

Switzerland took our breath away and we can realistically see ourselves living there in the not too distant future.  I love the blend of cultures and traditions, and I fell in love with the dairy cows, which wore these gorgeous sounding bells around their necks, so the farmers can find them when it’s time to heard them in.  We stayed at a family run B&B at the base of Gruyere, and they have a heard of 30 cows on their property – I may have purposely kept the window open at night, just to hear the bells in the morning.  I wanted to buy a bell, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it back in Canada….hummm…maybe one more argument to get that dog I am yearning for (only kidding!).

Although we weren’t blessed with the best weather, we took it in stride and still managed to see the Alps and a lot of other beautiful Swiss countryside.  We also met some truly wonderful people, and we hope our paths cross again in the near future!

PS – Here are a few shots from our weekend!  If you squint, you might be able to see me in the picture of the “Du chocolate pour ton bonheur”.  You have to love that they promote “Happiness is…..chocolate!”

PSS – Can you believe that we did NOT eat fondue, the entire weekend?  I was shocked too, but we ate lots of other delicious (and very heavy) foods, including plenty of Gruyere cheese.  CH also ate his fair share of Nestle chocolate at the factory….don’t look at me if there is a shortage of Swiss chocolate in the coming months!!


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JBean’s New Kitchen…

CH wanted me to name this post “The JBean Cuisine Creation Station”, ummm, wow…can you say corny?

Anyways…we are settling in France and loving in.  We’ve secured an adorable little apartment, in the oldest/most historic part of town.  The apartment is very traditional, has lots of charm, has a little cafe as one neighbor and a boulangerie on the other side. That’s called French perfection!

I wanted to share a little bit of my new found “bliss” with you, especially the kitchen, because this is a cooking blog after all.

Just to give you a bit of a reference point, I’ve also included a photo of my Canadian kitchen.

The JBean Cuisine Kitchen in Canada (note that this was just as we moved in last year – none of my “friends” are in place yet – i.e. my KitchenAid or any of my accessories – trust me, the counters are plenty full now!):

The NEW JBean Cuisine Kitchen in France:

Hummm, this will be interesting and will definitely challenge my culinary skills.  But, I have the best of the best ingredients available closeby and all the inspiration I need to get creating some amazing recipes (I even bought my first all-French cookbook today – Le soleil dans votre assiette – which means “The sun on your plate” – yay for spring/summer produce and ingredients).

Not to mention, look what just happened to come along in my suitcase – not sure how that happened :)! Yes, those are 2 of my favourite All-Clad pots/saute pan, my green pan, my Global knives (can’t see them hiding), measuring cups & spoons, cheese grater & zester and a few of my favourite accessories.  It was well worth the extra baggage fee that I had to pay to have some of my best tools along for the ride in France.  Yuppee!

CH just returned home with a pain au chocolat from the boulangerie as a late-night cleaning/organizing snack (it’s 10pm as I finish this post), so I have to go enjoy it, along with a well deserved glass of wine.  For those of you in Canada and the US, bonne journée (and my fellow Canadians – I hope you vote today!)

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JBean Is Baguette, Bordeaux and Bliss Bound!

That’s right, CH and I are headed to France.  And we aren’t talking about a vacation here, we are moving our lives and personal belongings to France for 3 months.  Three whole months of pure French living!!!

I have been granted the opportunity to finish my BA in French in France this Spring/Summer.  After a thorough application process, many sleepless nights hoping and praying I’d get it, and many more nights figuring out how we’d make it happen, we are less than a month away now, and I can hardly contain myself.

The timing in our lives couldn’t be better. CH has three months off before he starts his law job, we are moving to a new city anyways,  so we figured  we might as well add one more adventure to the pile.  I am so grateful that CH gets to experience this adventure with me, it just wouldn’t have been the same without him (and trust me, he is excited too – who wouldn’t be…he gets to eat baguettes, drink wine and study for the Bar exam in France!)  I am so fortunate that I get to study and live in the culture that I have studied for the past 3+ years.  Not to mention that I get to experience the food, wine and everything else about the French way of life for three months!  I’ve been twice before in my life, once in 2003 and again in 2009 with CH.  That said, I know my experience will be different living there, as a temporary resident instead of tourist.

However, NOT TO WORRY, JBean Cuisine is coming with me!  I will be cooking in a way different kitchen (I am already emotionally preparing myself for that, and planning what to take with me to survive a teeny-tiny French kitchen).  The nature of my posts will definitely change while I am there, but I am so excited to feature local products and French wines and try to de-construct some of the amazing meals I will be eating.  I am SO excited to bring out my inner-Julia Child.  You just know that cookbook is coming along with me!

For those of you who follow my blog, I am EXTREMELY grateful and I hope you will continue to follow me during this side-adventure in my life. I guarantee some amazing experiences will be blogged, as will some amazing food. I cannot wait to share my taste of France with you.


PS – Any recommendations for things to do/see/eat in France would be absolutely welcomed and appreciated!  We plan to do lots of weekend trips while we are there too!

Photo Credits:  Top Eiffel Tower and French Heart

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Filed under French, Non-Food Related