If I could write a letter to the fading summer, I would ask, no beg, for it to linger a little longer. Fall has unwritten magic of its own, with gifts so wondrous, just the thought of them has me swooning, but I am not ready to bid adieu to summer yet.
I’ve been journeying to and from Provence of late, where cigales still sing and summer firmly holds it’s stand. One trip for pleasure and one for work, though it can be barely called work when you have search for hidden corners and trail through market after market seeking the best the region has to offer and tell tales of art of living in Provence.
Though I’ve been coming to here for nearly a decade to visit loved ones we never get to see enough, during trips that are always too short, this was the first time I got to see towns awake, villages and markets come to life and the daily spectacle unfold.
It’s both poetic and picturesque the way the first light touches the rooftops and sneaks through tree crowns to illuminate forgotten corners; the smell of freshly baked bread spreading in the air and seeing the first visitors of boulangerie walk around hugging baguettes in deserted streets (it’s also priceless to see their expressions seeing this early a crazy woman (me) sitting in the corner trying to capture the moment, dangling camera in one hand and coffee in another).
Van Gogh once said that in Provence one begins to understand what colour really is and it is truly a place where everything calls to be captured. Between the beauty of surroundings and slow way of living illuminated by the crispiest of lights, lies inspiration like no other.
Back home though the sun is still warming, I am desperately missing the air so sweet you can almost bite upon, bountiful market stands and ficus growing at every corner.
As fig season is in full swing, they are ripe and bursting with flavour and I found a brand new love for this once unappreciated fruit. A love that has sent me down the sweet path again, but with chocolate and almonds it is a swooning marriage for anyone with a sweet tooth and I urge you to savour it.
- 5.3 oz/ 150g dark chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa
- 10 tbsp/150g butter
- 4 eggs, separated
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup/ 125g almond flour
- pinch of salt
- 8 fresh figs, quartered plus extra for serving
- whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180C/356F.
- Melt chocolate with butter in bain marie and let it cool a little.
- Beat egg yolks with sugar till pale and double in size. Stir in melted chocolate and almond flour.
- Beat egg whites with pinch of salt till stiff peaks, and gently fold into the batter ⅓ at a time.
- Grease a cake tin with butter and scatter figs on the bottom. Pour over the batter and bake for about 35-45 minutes, a toothpick should come out clean, once its done.
- Serve with fresh figs, ice cream or whipped cream.