French style: inspiration from Rhone-Alpes, France

There’s nothing like summer in the RhôneAlpes region of France. The images of sky blue tablecloths, crystal wine glasses filled with rosé wine and pure lakes will stay with you long after you return home. Not only do the French have fabulous food and wine (check out my story on the cuisine of the RhôneAlpes in the Summer 2014 issue of Taste & Travel magazine for more), but they have great style and flair. Here are five ways to bring the feeling of southeastern France into your home and kitchen.

#1  Pop of Colour

Much the way the French focus on one colour in their window boxes (hello red geraniums), adding a splash of brilliant red to a dish stimulate appetite and creates a feeling of excitement and energy. So go ahead and go rouge.

Hôtel restaurant du Port à Yvoire

You can’t go wrong with a window box of red flowers like these ones at Hôtel restaurant du Port in Yvoire

 

Strawberry dessert in Rhone-Alpes france

Sliced red strawberry as garnish

#2 Landscape Layering

The beautiful medieval village of Annecy is known as the “Venice of the Alps” due to its network of canals, historic buildings and alpine lake. I loved how this pretty lunch salad echoed the colours of the town itself. Try using landscape as the inspiration for your next dish.

Annecy

 

Composed salad

#3 Flair on a budget

The French know that chic doesn’t have to be expensive. Whether it was a row of bright red umbrellas against the backdrop of the French Alps or a magenta pink napkin that echoed the beet gazpacho at the Rest’o de la Plage, a beachside restaurant on Lake Annecy, I learned that drool-worthy style doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.      

Aiguille du Midi on panoramic Mont-Blanc

Aiguille du Midi on panoramic Mont-Blanc

 

Beet gazpacho on a picnic table at Rest’o de la Plage on Lake Annecy

Beet gazpacho on a picnic table at Rest’o de la Plage on Lake Annecy

#4 Composition 

French style can be summed up in one word, composition. Even a simple post-lunch coffee can be presented with drama if you consider the artistic elements of line, space and texture when arranging spoon, cup and sugar.

annecy village

 

tablecloth

#5 Garden inspiration

 The Garden of Five Senses in Yvoire is the former kitchen garden of the medieval Château d’Yvoire. It changes with the seasons and offers  inspiration for sight, sound, smell, textures and colour. I loved how local restaurants in the village used vegetables to hold salad. It’s an easy idea I plan to try at  home assuming I can convince my husband to grow zucchini at a size somewhat smaller than my thigh.  

Medieval Garden of Five Senses in Yvoire

Medieval Garden of Five Senses in Yvoire France

 

Salad in Rhone-Alpes

Use a thin slice of grilled zucchini or cucumber as a salad bowl

Free Zinio Subscription Offer 

If you’d like to explore more about the cuisine of the French Alpes, read my feature story about cycling and eating my way through the Rhone-Alpes in the Summer 2014 issue of Taste & Travel magazine. You can purchase this glossy magazine packed with recipes, travel tips and inspiration on newsstands or purchase a subscription for $25 for one-year online. For a limited time, you can also get a free one-year Zinio subscription to Taste & Travel magazine on iPad/iPhone, Android and Windows 8. Visit the Taste & Travel website for details.

Taste & Travel magazine Summer 2014 cover

Explore the world of culinary travel

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Showing 22 comments
  • santafetraveler
    Reply

    What fabulous photos, Makes me want to be there. I would love Annecy!

  • Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    Reply

    Wow! These are gorgeous images! I am often inspired as I travel to copy at home a color grouping or a restaurant meal. I also use my camera to help me remember.

  • Donna Janke
    Reply

    Great photos. I like how you related a landscape photo to a food photo. And the presentation on the food dishes was wonderful. My mouth is watering.

  • Betsy Wuebker
    Reply

    Aloha! Love the analogy! Gorgeous photos., beautifully paired with the lovely scenery. What a treat!

  • Nancy
    Reply

    Vive la France! Oh, to be in France anytime of year ~

  • Nancy
    Reply

    Oh, to be in France anytime of year ~

  • Irene S. Levine
    Reply

    Your photos really grabbed me! You have a wonderful eye for capturing beauty and small details that make a place special.

  • noel
    Reply

    Wow that setting and those gorgeous dishes, i want to go visit there now. This is an area of France that I have never been to, need to add that to the must see lists!

  • Patti
    Reply

    Beautiful photos! We spent 3 weeks in Paris – in winter – and had a fabulous time, but I would love to return to France to explore more, especially the south of France. I think the country has to much to offer with food, culture, history and color!

  • The Gypsynesters
    Reply

    Great photos! We have been through the area several times and I can’t believe we have missed Annecy. It is certainly on our list now, thanks.

  • esperanza
    Reply

    What a wonderful sight – the mountains, the lovely medieval towns and all that glorious food presented in such an artistic fashion. I’ll try to emulate some of the dishes, close my eyes and dream I am in the Rhone-Alpes.

  • Wandering Carol
    Reply

    I’m so immersed in all things France after 6 weeks there, that this post was perfect for me. I went high style in Annecy with a Michelin-starred restaurant. Superb! Great original story idea.

  • Neva @ Retire for the Fun of it
    Reply

    France has so many different types of landscape and Rhône-Alpes region is amazing to view in your photos. I’m a history buff and this beautiful medieval town would be wonderful to visit. Thanks for the tour.

  • Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    Reply

    Loved the idea of using vegetables to frame or act as the dish. Your photos were beautiful!

  • A Cook Not Mad (Nat)
    Reply

    Such beautiful photos, thank you for sharing, we need to get back to France.

  • Sand In My Suitcase
    Reply

    Annecy looks particularly delightful! Bookmarked for a future trip to France :-). (And congrats on getting your travel story published in Taste & Travel magazine.)

  • Cacinda Maloney
    Reply

    Your photos were gorgeous! I want to go there!

  • Linda ~ Journey Jottings
    Reply

    I love your juxtaposition of food alongside landscape – That each can feed off/be inspired by the other –
    Stunning photos and I love too that drool-worthy style doesn’t have to cost a lot of money!

  • Suzanne Fluhr
    Reply

    Note to self: Add Annency to bucket list. Lovely “you are there” food photos. I’m pinning the photo of the vegetable salad bowl so I remember to give it a try. I haven’t seen that yet—-in Philadelphia.

  • Doreen Pendgracs
    Reply

    I’ve never been to this part of France, but your amazing pics certainly make me want to go. Thx for sharing.

  • Lesley Peterson
    Reply

    Congrats on your T&T cover photo; enticing article. These, too, are beautiful! Rhone Alpes looks like pure heaven for lovers of food and landscapes.

  • Kirsten
    Reply

    I have never visited this region of France, but your photos of the region and the cuisine make me definitely want to visit. What a great post!

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