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When life gives you vinegar ... make vinaigrette!

We may be quarantined, but we can still eat healthy!

When you go to the supermarket, you see that the pasta, rice and cereal aisles are all wiped clean (as well as toilet paper and cleaning products, but that's another story!) Packaged food may last longer than COVID-19, but I am just going to say that maybe a Ramen-mac-n-cheese-spaghetti diet isn't going to keep you en forme! (I would like to fit into my clothes once I finally stop wearing pajamas all day). May I suggest you grab some fresh lettuce and whip up a salad?!

Salads are supposed to be healthy, but if we use bottled dressings filled with sugars and more preservatives, is it really a better choice? It is so easy to make your own vinaigrette. No one would ever confuse me with a chef or even a good cook, and I can pull this one off!

Basic Vinaigrette

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( CastelineS "Classic")

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (Olivewood Balsamic)

1 teaspoon mustard (Moutarde Fine Pommeau)

Minced shallot to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste

The variations are endless, and I encourage you to share your favorite recipe in the comments! The key to success, is using fresh, quality ingredients. Yes, they cost a bit more, but for me, good taste and maintaining good health are worth it.

The balsamic vinegar I used comes from Italy, but the olive oil and mustard are made by artisans in France. Let's take a closer look ...

Huiles d'Olive

I first discovered the award-winning olive oils of Moulin Castelas when I opened a small French boutique in my barn in Minnesota in 2010. I wanted to have authentic French products of the highest quality, and these artisanal oils became a much-loved staple! Quite honestly, I haven't used any other oils since, and have a large client base that feels the same!

What makes these oils even more special is discovering the idyllic hamlet where they are made in Les Baux-de-Provence. I accompanied a group in 2011 and we visited Moulin Castelas for the first time. I have been back countless times, as it is my idea of perfection: the winding cobblestone streets, the panoramic views of olive groves and vineyards, the chalky cliffs ... I can understand why owners Jean-Benoit and Catherine Hugues fell in love with this place!

Speaking of the owners, this dynamic couple sets high standards and is not afraid of hard work! During harvest time, there is a constant flurry of activity, and yet they are all smiles and always have time for warm hospitality. I am so proud to offer you their oils in my online boutique, and even more grateful for the friendship we have developed with Jean-Benoit and Catherine over the years.

Our culinary tour de France continues!

Provence does not hold a monopoly on charming villages and welcoming artisans - they can be found in every corner of France. Et voila - you see how French Detours was born! I simply love discovering a new place. What better way to understand the culture than experiencing what is made there? All of the artisans I have met share a particular outlook on life. They are genuine, great caretakers of their homeland, and have a passion that they share willingly with others. If you want to get the most out of your next trip to France (we will get back there, I promise!), meet the artisans in the area. Of course I will do my best to direct you there!


One of the upcoming detours on my list is to Dijon, the capital of mustard. I look forward to visiting the mustard mill of Edmond Fallot, as I carried their mustards in my boutique and love their story. Until then ....

I seem to collect a lot of things along my travels. (I usually bring an extra suitcase AND send packages home!). I can spend hours pouring over jars and tins of hand-crafted foods. It was when I was at La Ferme de la Sapiniere, near Omaha Beach in Normandie that I found Moutarde Fine Pommeau.

I had never heard of Pommeau, but owner Michel Legallois explained that it is a blend of hard apple cider and calvados, both made here. (Pommeau is hard to find in the US, but it is delicious! It is heavier than cidre, but not as strong as Calvados - a perfect blend!). The mustard has a nice freshness that comes from the apples, and adds a lot of flavor to the vinaigrette. Pick up some the next time you go to Normandy. You will want to go to the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach, and La Ferme de la Sapiniere is right next door! It is humbling to see the photos of how this village, these buildings, were impacted by D-Day.

It seems that more and more, people want to know where their food came from and how it was made. This has always been important in France, and I'm so glad to see this trend catching on. I will keep searching for the best of France to share with you! Want more? Watch the videos with Moulin Castelas and La Ferme de la Sapiniere!

Please share your favorite vinaigrette recipes in our comments!

A bientot!


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