Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Weekend Hiking in the Alps

Our second weekend in Nice, the university professor here took us hiking in the southern part of the French alps, near the Vallée des Merveilles (which we were supposed to visit, but unable to because of the snow that followed us up and down the mountains). After we returned to the bottom of the mountain, however, we wandered around the picturesque small village of Saorge (pictured above). As we walked on the paths of the mountainside there, I stumbled upon so many edible items (fruits, herbs, flowers, etc.) growing wildly. I tried to photograph as many of them as I could but some of them ended up getting loss in the mass of green (wild figs, for example), so enjoy the ones that didn't turn out tottally indistinguishable. I even managed to pocket some fresh thyme which I used the next morning in my eggs!

Here are the blackberries we picked from these tiny tree-type things that were very close to the ground. They were smaller than the typical American blackberry but perfectly ripe and delicious!

Here's the handful of wild thyme I stuffed into my pocket. I used a tiny bit in my eggs the next day and it was so fragrant and woodsy that the flavor penetrated the whole dish. I should have made Ina Garten's herbed-baked eggs, SO delicious!

Our guide told me these are rose berries or rose buds (my French isn't really that good...). I'm not sure what relation they have to flowering roses, though. I tasted one and it was incredibly tart, but I our guide told me they are often used to make a jam, which I can imagine being good. I looked around for a recipe, but couldn't find one. If anyone has more information about these little guys and what they're used for, I'd love to know!
*I now know these are rose hips. Thank you, Jen!!!

This photo is not the greatest, but YOU try photographing everything while your group keeps going without you! Here is one of the most common things ever in this corner of France: lavender. I see it everywhere here, used for everything from cleaning to freshening up stinky places (like your garbage bin, for example).

Finally, these are the raspberries we encoutnered on the trail, still on the vine. The darkness is the perfect indicator of ripeness and I managed to have several that were juuust right.


Manggy said...

That is just absolutely breathtaking! Wait, what was your course, again?
They weren't even stopping to take pictures with you?! Sacrilege!!!

Sara said...

hahaha, everyone else mastered the art of photographing while walking. unfortunately, the digital macro option of my camera doesn't work that way!

it's not really a "course" per-se, it was more of a field trip, involving all the students from my university that came to study abroad in Nice. :-)

Jen said...

I stumbled upon your blog reading up on the daring bakers and noticed your post from France. The parts of rose you photographed are called rose hips and if you type that into your search engine you will find plenty of information on harvesting, storing, and cooking them.

Nayereh said...

this is a great representation of your experience by sticking to the details.. it makes it Sara, not the French Alps. A little bit of that too :)

Anonymous said...

Benvengut a Nissa la Bella :) !

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the last image are blackberries, not raspberries. We grow both in my family garden. They're just red becuase they're not ripe yet.