Mary, The Cathars and The Knights Templar
Mary, The Cathars and The Knights Templar
The Lore of Mary Magdalene by Allysha Lavino
After the death of Jesus, the disciples were spread to the four winds. Across the sea in Southern France, a myth arose. Legend says that a boat with no sails and no oars landed on the shores of Provence, though no one is sure where exactly. Some say that three women named Mary, along with Martha, Lazarus, and an Egyptian servant named Sarah are said to have landed at Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer, while others believe they landed at what is now Marseilles. The story goes that each settled in a different area of France, that Mary Magdalene herself started a church and retired to live out her days in a grotto on the high hill of Saint Baume. Why are so many modern seekers fascinated by this tale and by Mary Magdalene herself?
While the truth and origins of these tales are un-provable, Mary Magdalene became one of the most revered saints in France. Churches dedicated to her abound throughout the country and the legend of her arrival in the South is accepted throughout this enigmatic region. It is not illogical that she should have found her way here. Pursued as the apostles were by the Romans at the time, fleeing Jerusalem was a necessity. Here in France, a Jewish princedom recognized by local authorities was thriving. What better location for a renegade than among her own people? She is called the Apostle of Apostles, but what makes Magdalene’s story so interesting for modern Christians and non-Christians alike?
Every version tells us that Mary Magdalene was present throughout the events of the Gospels. She followed Jesus much like all the others, sitting at his knee to hear the teachings and participating in many important events throughout the story. She was front and centre at the passion and the resurrection, but her tears were a woman’s tears, her company was with the women. For this, she was stripped of importance.
Historically, the idea of women’s equality and value could not but be rejected. Biblical evidence even in the canonical gospels shows Mary Magdalene’s unequivocal importance to the story. She was the first witness to the resurrection, earning her the title Apostle to the Apostles, showing trust that she would be steadfast in sharing the news of Jesus, though the others disbelieved her. She is still depicted with the alabaster jar because of her actions in anointing the feet of Jesus, and while modern times may not recognize the significance of this action, “Messiah” simply means Anointed One. If this story were any other myth, viewed objectively, she would, perhaps be the single most important character beside Jesus and the Holy Virgin herself.
There have been many distortions in the story of this mysterious woman. In the Council of Nicea of 325, a conclave of 318 Christian bishops, priests, and acolytes of ancient Rome, major decisions were made about the future of the religion. Here was the vote cast as to which gospels would be included in the New Testament and how certain doctrines should be taught and lived. Differences in the practice and study of the life of Jesus were profound in the daily lives of early believers and straying wider all the time. The early church even included women bishops, but this idea was rejected later by Rome.
MARY MAGDALENE CONTINUED...
Women were stripped of their place within the early church by a patriarchal Roman society. At the council, certain interpretations of the Bible’s stories were decided, including an idea for which there is no evidence in the literature: that Mary Magdalene was the penitent whore, only ever referred to as a “woman”. Though this view of the story has since been recanted by the church, the legacy and confusion remained tied to Magdalene. Having decided that this woman was the same as the personage who followed Jesus throughout his travels and preaching, she was forever cast as a marginal character in the famous tale.
Men have written history. The idea that Mary Magdalene may have been one of the most important disciples in the Biblical story has been threatening to every age – even until today. Modern women of every belief have no one of their own sex from this great literature except the holy and venerable Virgin as role model. What if Mary Magdalene was simply a follower of Jesus? What if, as her discarded gospel tells us, through the empathy and intuition of a woman she was uniquely able to understand the teachings of Jesus in a way that made the other disciples jealous? What if she was, in fact, an example of a strong woman and archetype for the profound relationship between men and women. What if she was truly one of the disciples whom Jesus treated as equal to the others, showing how a woman of faith might be as valuable as a man?
So what does France remember that the rest of us have forgotten? Until the 13th Century, the South of France, called the Midi, was a country of radical progressivism. Jews held positions of power, women treated with unheard of equality. The region flourished independently, brimming with education and new ideas as almost nowhere else. Until the Albigensian Crusade of the 13th Century brought the church in to quash these freedoms, women here were different from anywhere else in the ancient world. France is still a country filled with the softness of the feminine archetype. It is a land of beauty where intelligence and equality flourish. What could we learn from this example in accepting women as equals, as we at long last pretend to do on a worldwide scale?
We can see why Mary Magdalene was rejected by history. It is easy to guess at why early church fathers and even the disciples themselves would have despised her, relegating her to the position of penitent whore. The question becomes: do we have the courage to say that the Council of Nicea may have been wrong? Do we have the intelligence to look again at the words of the Gospels and how Jesus treated this faithful woman? Do we have the strength to set aside our fears and sexism and reclaim one of the strongest role models available for women today? Who was Mary Magdalene really? The story and the cover-ups are as deep as history itself.
Who were the Cathars? by Margaret Starbird
The citizens of the region, among whom the Cathar heresy had an ever stronger hold in the twelfth century, were simple farmers and peasants. They heard the sermons of the itinerant preachers, the Cathari, called the “pure ones,” who came and worked in their fields, shared their bread, and preached to them, urging them to live their lives in the simplicity and humble spirit of Jesus. Known as “credants,” they believed their version of Christianity to be both purer and older than orthodox Christianity, closer to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles than the orthodox version of the faith. They were often vegetarian and pacifist, practicing a mode of charismatic Christianity similar to that of the early church described in the Book of Acts in the New Testament. The few remaining documents that survived the censorship of the Inquisition verify that the Cathars’ practice of Christianity had roots both ancient and pure, reflecting the vigor of primitive Christianity at its dawn…
…The Cathari preached a lifestyle of simple living and radical faith in God’s continual presence and guidance. One did not have to have ties to Manichaeanism to believe that the devil was “Prince of this world.” Jesus is quoted as having been of that opinion himself (John 12:31)! The Cathars may not have been Manichaean so much as close adherents to the literal texts of the Gospels, of which each Cathar family owned a copy. For these Albigensian heretics, the faith was not a doctrine to be believed but a life to be lived. They called themselves Christians.
Fundamental to the teachings of the “Church of Love,” another name for the alternative church, was a profound devotion to Jesus, the Light Bearer, and to his mother and friends. While the church in Rome taught obedience to rules and strict practice of its laws and prohibitions, the Church of “Amor” (“Roma” spelled backward!) taught that each individual life must be transformed into holiness by the action of the Holy Spirit in mind and heart. The adherents to the alternative church honored Jesus as their prophet, priest, king, and Messiah—a fully human agent and the anointed Son of God. But they understood their own role as earthen vessels of that same Holy Spirit. They were aware of the mythological and mystical content of Christ’s teachings as a path to holiness and transformation, and they were aware of its connections with the entire stream of revelation and religious consciousness of the classical world. They did not consider the exoteric practices of dowsing in a baptismal font or attendance at Sunday Mass sufficient for salvation; their religion was a practice of the presence of God and daily growth in the virtues of charity, humility, and service to others modeled on the life and teachings of Jesus himself.
In the Midi, antagonism toward the Catholic Church was both deep and wide. It was the experience of the people of Provence, and indeed in many other places, that the hierarchy of the institutional church did not live the Gospel message. Clerics often exploited the poor and lived in comparative luxury while their parishioners starved. The Albigensian sects were distinctly anticlerical and antiecclesiastic. The Cathars formed their own church in opposition to what they believed was the false teaching of Rome. They repudiated the ritual of the Mass and the cross because it was the instrument of torture, in no way worthy of veneration. They claimed that their own church had retained the Holy Spirit conferred on the original Apostles at Pentecost and passed on by the laying on of hands, the only ritual that they regarded as authentic. The fundamental and oft-recited prayer of this alternative church was the “Our Father” found in Matthew’s gospel. The Catharist ritual, of which two texts have survived, demonstrates that they possessed ancient documents directly inspired by the primitive Christian community.
The faith of the Cathars did not need a cultic priesthood or a church building containing artifacts and relics. Their faith was practiced in their homes and fields. They disdained the need for churches, relics, and sacramentals. Among the Cathars, men and women were considered equals, women even being allowed to inherit and own property, as we have noted. Women were also allowed to preach, a practice that had begun in the early Christian community but that had long since been discontinued in Roman Catholicism. This practice among the Cathars reflected the esteem in which the women, including Mary Magdalene, had once been held in the infant church. Cathar preachers, both men and women, traveled though the countryside in pairs, just as the early disciples of Jesus had done in Palestine, sharing the fare of the poor, working side by side with them in the fields, and preaching the simple and pure life of the spiritually enlightened. Saint Dominic and later Saint Francis of Assisi were so impressed with the Cathar methods of evangelizing converts that they modelled their mendicant friars along these same lines, taking vows of poverty and chastity.
One extraordinary feature of the Cathars was their insistence that the Bible be translated into their language, the regional langue d’oc dialect, and the people taught to read the Good News of Jesus in their own tongue. To this end, numerous paper mills sprang up all over the region, giving impetus to the resurgence of art, thought, and letters throughout Provence and later the whole of Europe. Cathar children were taught to read, the girls often becoming better educated than their male counterparts. Provence was an enlightened domain. In 1209 the Vatican launched a crusade against the entire region of Provence, including the nobility of the area, many of whom had themselves embraced the Cathar heresy. Allied with the king of France, the armies of the pope ravaged the Midi for a generation, their victory culminating in the massacre of Montségur, a Cathar seminary. There, in 1244, an enclave of besieged heretics was defeated, and more than two hundred who refused to recant were burned at the stake. The backbone of what was known as “Catharism” was broken by the Albigensian Crusade, as this frightful episode is called, and the flowering begun in the twelfth century was nipped in the bud.
Who were the Knights Templar officially – and not so officially? by Joanna Kujawa
According to what we are taught in the history books, the Templars were a group of Crusaders who protected pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land. However, as Freddy Silva in his book The First Templar Nation (with over 70 references to back up his research, which spans over a decade) argues that this is only a smokescreen. He traces the development of the Order to Champagne where 11 (yes 11) Knights, who were already wealthy and had no reason to look for wealth, departed for the Holy Land in search of something. From the moment they arrived in Jerusalem in 1104, instead of occupying themselves with warfare, as other knights promptly did, they began searching for a ‘treasure’ on Temple Mount.
As Silva says, since the Knights were already wealthy, ‘money or accumulation of personal wealth was not a prime motivation’ for them. He contends that they found a secret ‘chamber under Temple Mount’ where they found secret scrolls meant for guiding the advanced initiates of an early Gnostic sect – The Essenes. Silva believes that the scrolls contained ‘spiritual laws’ and possibly the Ark of Covenant.
We may never know for certain what the Knights Templar found on Temple Mount but we know beyond any doubt that they found something, since after a decade or so, they left ‘abruptly’ and went back to Europe to consult with Lambert de Saint-Omer, their friend and scholar, and asked him to decipher some secret documents! After de Saint-Omer’s death, the deciphering work was passed over to the famous kabbalist Rabbi Solomon Ben Isaac (also a friend of the Templars).
Silva, who is a researcher of esoteric mysteries and the ‘art of resurrection’ in ancient temples around the world, argues in his book that the scroll the Templars brought back to Europe to decipher was ‘The book of Formation’ which ‘contained a formula of manifestation … a kind of Holy Grail’.
The story is long and complex, but suffice to say it is difficult to contend Silva, as historically we know that within only a few years the Templars had built an organisation worth over 1 trillion dollars, created a kind of independent corporation-state in Europe, and had introduced the art of building gothic cathedrals all over Europe which, incidentally, were usually dedicated to Our Lady and followed the principles of sacred geometry.
Why dedicated to ‘Our Lady’ or ‘Notre Dame’?
If you have been brought up as a Catholic, it is easy to assume that they meant the Virgin Mary, right? But Silva is a careful researcher and notes that curiously, many important events in the Templars’ adventures and many of the churches they built were commemorated on the Feast of Mary Magdalene on the 22nd of July. Curious, isn’t it?
Not only that, many of these churches (and cathedrals) were built on the ancient sites of goddesses especially Isis. In his book, Silva goes through a thorough investigation of one such church founded by them in Tomar, Portugal called the Church of Santa Maria do Olival. He points out the linguistic similarity of Tomar to Tamar, which in some traditions was the name of the daughter of Mary Magdalene and Jesus (sometimes she is called Sarah). Incidentally, this was also the name of King Solomon’s daughter (Tamar or Thamar).
In Mystery Schools’ traditions tamar also means a ‘palm tree’ and symbolizes the ritual of resurrection. Silva believes that it is in the secret part of the Church of Santa Maria do Olival in Tomar that the Templars conducted their highest initiation rituals, not that different from those of the ancient Egyptian Mystery Schools’ associated with the goddess Isis (known also as Resurrectrix of her husband god Osiris).
So here are the goddess connections to the Templars:
- They discovered something of great significance on Temple Mount and brought it back to Europe to be deciphered.
- They become unbelievably wealthy within a short period of time (among many things they purchased the island of Cyprus as their temporary headquarters).
- They built gothic cathedrals all over Europe dedicated to Our Lady (Notre Dame).
- They commemorated most of their significant events on the Feast of Mary Magdalene/Magdalen (22nd July).
- Many of their cathedrals are built on sites of previous worship to goddesses (including Isis).
What happened next?
We know from mainstream history that the Order was persecuted and the leaders were burned at the stake on Friday the 13th of October 1307. Mainstream sources will also tell us that Philip the Fair, the French king who had previously expelled Jews from France, decided to prosecute the Templars. The arrests were made, the Knights were tortured and their leaders eventually burned at the stake. There were great expectations of finding loads of money and the immense treasure of the Templars. But the king did not get what he so eagerly hoped for – no great treasure was found.
The tortured Templars either said nothing or made up stories to confuse the king. One ‘confessed’ that the mysterious ‘treasure’ was hidden in Gisors in Normandy, but nothing was found there either. Meanwhile over 500 kms away, 18 ships left the Port of La Rochelle with those Templars on board who had managed to escape. Silva’s research points towards Portugal and Northern Scotland as escape routes. Curiously, Silva mentions that Portugal – which was soon founded by the Templars and their associates – could come from the expression Por Tu, O Gral or ‘Through you, Oh Grail’ which is a sign over the image of the Ark of Covenant at Chartres Cathedral (also, as sponsored by the Templars).
How is this different from other Holy Grail stories?
First of all, both Margaret Starbird in The Woman with the Alabaster Jar and Baigent, Leight, Lincoln in their bestseller The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail argue pretty much that the Holy Grail was the womb of Mary Magdalene. Their contention, albeit arrived at from varying sources, was that Mary Magdalene was a wife or a consort of Jesus and that their daughter Sara or Tamar (depending on tradition) was the source of the line of the French Merovingian dynasty. (I am simplifying here to give you the gist of the story.)
Historically, the Merovingians did exist in the early Middle Ages as French kings.
Were they the descendants of Mary’s daughter? Who knows?
Is this possible, though? Well, yes, because the story continues in Southern France where both the legends and the worship of Mary Magdalene has survived and thrives to this day.
In my opinion, it is not the DNA that matters but the possibility that a line of queens, kings, knights, scholars, alchemists, seekers did carry through the centuries and even millennia the secret knowledge not only of resurrection, as Silva, calls it, but of the mystery of the Universe and our ultimate place in It. This interests me. This lineage interests me. And that is why I like Silva’s book – because it explores this possibility.
Mary Magdalene and Rennes-le-Chateau
Calling Her Children Home
I was meditating one morning when it became very clear to me that I needed to visit France. At the time I didn’t fully understand why I was so compelled to go to France. I knew I wanted to honor the coming year in a meaningful way. I was approaching my 56 birthday, was born in ’56 and my mother died when she was 56. Somehow it just seemed like a significant moment in my life and for reasons, yet to be revealed, France was calling to me.
I immediately went to my husband and told him I had a sense that I needed to get to France for about 3 months and I hoped he would go with me. He responded in a way that is indicative of his trust in Divinely inspired insights. He didn’t flinch. He did not say, “How on earth are we going to pay for that?” He simply said, “Okay. We’ll go.”
A few months later, with four home exchanges arranged, a pair of round-trip tickets purchased on credit card points (we had just earned enough points the month we bought the tickets), and some money raised through crowd sourcing by New Dream Foundation (the non-profit behind Sacred Feminine Awakening), we were headed to France.
Heading to Southern France Where Mary Magdalene Lived
Mary Magdalene at Rennes-le-ChateauI was drawn to the southern region of France where Mary Magdalene is known to
have lived and taught. Because of my profound calling to spend time in the same areas Mary Magdalene had lived, one of the board members suggested that I call my pilgrimage In the Footsteps of the Magdalene.
As we traveled through France, my husband and I visited sites where Mary Magdalene is honored, and the locations where she is said to have lived and was laid to rest. We included in our travels several churches that are homes to Black Madonnas, which added an unexpected, profound dimension to my inner journey. Keeping my promise to the Foundation and to the people I love, throughout our sojourn I made videos about the deep insights I was experiencing.
People came from around the world to visit the places Mary Magdalene lived, taught, and was honored by the people of France
I felt like a child being called home, and throughout our visit, my husband and I met many people who felt much the same way. We shared numerous exchanges and visits over meals with people who had visions or dreams, much as I had experienced, calling them to come to Southern France. People have been coming and continue to come from all over the world to spend time or even to live in the Southern region of France. It seems to me that Mary Magdalene has been and continues to be calling her children to her.
Mary Magdalene—Rennes-le-Chateau and Montsegur
While I am not an historian, the history of Rennes-le-Chateau and Montsegur are significant to the region, and have, what appear to be, profound connections to Mary Magdalene. I offer a very brief insight into these two powerful places and their inhabitants, and then share two videos, shot in the region, with my impressions as I entered these sacred grounds.
One of the areas in France that has become very popular since the publication of the book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, is the hillside village of Rennes-le-Chateau. Here in the late 1800’s the village’s impoverished Abbe Berenger Saunier suddenly became the equivalent of a millionaire in today’s dollars.
He rebuilt the parish church, along with an unusual tower overlooking the landscape, dedicating them both to Mary
Magdalene. How he came to possess so much money, no one really knows. Though there are bits of historical records, it is mostly speculation about the sudden wealth at Rennes-le-Chateau, Abbe Berenger’s secret, and his devotion to Mary Magdalene.Also in Southern France, Montesgur is a unique stronghold on a very high hill. During the 1200’s, the rebuilt castle of Montesegur became a center for Cathar activities. Eventually, the castle became a refuge for Cathars when when the Catholic Church declared them as heretics. The castle came under siege as the inquisition attempted to rid Southern France of anyone that was not loyal to the dictates of the church. After a final 9 month siege, the Cathars surrendered and those who refused to renounce their faith were burned.
Cathars were known to be peaceful people, who believed in two gods—one that was good (of light and the heavens) and one that was evil (of materialism and the earth. The Cathars stated that they were of apostolic ancestry and lived as followers in the footsteps of Christ. They believed that souls, even the souls of angels, were trapped here on earth in human bodies. They were Gnostics, believing that divine revelation comes to the “inner elite” who had trained and prepared to receive such revelations.
They lived in a far more egalitarian way than their Catholic counterparts. It has been postulated that members of Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s were married and their descents were Cathars, which would certainly add another dimension to the potential heresy of the Cathars from the perspective of the Catholic church.
What Was Revealed
I did not go to France looking for proof that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a family. Elements of that story had already been revealed to me through visions I will be sharing in a future article. Instead, I sought to understand what it was Mary Magdalene wanted me to learn.
What was revealed to me I share in a video-log beginning with these two videos. The videos include photographs from Rennes-le-Chateau’s church and tower, as well as the Cathar fortress at Montsegur.
Each of these videos gives you an opportunity to go on the journey with me, exploring the same questions that came up for me as I visited sacred sites dedicated to her by those who loved her.
One of the great gifts of historical and sacred sites, lies in what they awaken inside us. If we want to evolve as a species we are wise to ask ourselves, “What would our ancestors have wanted us to understand as a result of the events that took place at this site?”
As we discover the important lessons about our human nature, our weaknesses, and our potential, we can form new responses to challenges similar to those faced by our ancestors. As we evolve into more peaceful and loving beings, we honor the lives of those who have gone before us. We can hope that Mary Magdalene, Abbe Berenger Saunier, and the Cathars might smile if they saw that we now understand what is truly important in our journey as humanity.
Cuisine from the South of France
14 Iconic Dishes from The South of France That You Must Try (And Try to Make!)
Thanks to health food crazes and the well-known Pixar film of the same name, ratatouille has gone from being a disregarded peasant meal of inexpensive vegetables to an iconic French dish. The stew, which originated in Nice like many of these dishes, is composed of tomatoes, eggplants, onion, zucchini, and bell peppers. It’s slow-cooked with garlic and herbes de Provence into a subtle yet comforting dish that’s so easy to make that you can try it yourself by following the link below!
HERE is the Recipe.
2: Bouillabaisse with rouille
Bouillabaisse is a local fish stew that originated in Marseille. It is cooked in a variety of ways in kitchens around the globe, but in Marseille it should always contain three kinds of fish: rockfish, sea robin and European conger. When fishermen couldn’t sell the bony rockfish (rascasse) that they caught, they started making a fish stew to use them up. It’s a delicacy nowadays, and should ideally be prepared ahead of time, which is why the best restaurants like you to order it one or two days in advance.
HERE is the recipe
3: Salade Niçoise
“Salade Niçoise shares the same propensity for misinterpretation as Caesar salad – one rarely sees the original version outside Nice, and even there I have encountered some real hotchpotches. The soul of a great salade Niçoise is, of course, using the best flavoured tomatoes available. While the other vegetables chosen may vary with what is in season there are a few essentials such as green capsicum, cucumbers and black olives. Sliced raw globe artichoke hearts and very tiny raw podded broad beans may be included when available. As to using lettuce, this is not traditional so it is up to individual taste. This salad is best presented on a deep platter so leave adding the dressing and tossing until your beautiful salade Niçoise is on the table. I adore this dish as the colours and aroma transport me to the sunny shores of southern France.”
HERE is the recipe
This is our not entirely traditional take on the famed dish originally from the Languedoc region, which includes charcuterie in the form of duck confit, sausages and pork belly. There’s a bit of work involved, but you can prepare the confit duck and sausages ahead before they’re braised in this spectacular feast. Serve it with a green salad dressed with Sherry vinaigrette, and start at least two days ahead to cure the duck and make the sausages.
HERE is the recipe
A French pizza? Oui, mais non! Pissaladière bears a striking resemblance to the Italian classic, both in looks and name. Bread dough base? Check (most of the time). Savoury topping? Check. But although its name sounds similar, there doesn’t appear to be any direct etymological link with pizza. To the contrary, pissaladière is derived from the Niçoise condiment, pissalat, which, in turn, is derived from the Latin ‘piscis’, meaning fish.
Originally made from the fry of sardines and anchovies, pissalat evolved into a pungent mixture of puréed anchovies flavoured with cloves, thyme, bay leaf and pepper and mixed with olive oil. As this condiment isn’t so easy to get hold of outside the Mediterranean area, anchovy fillets are more commonly used instead, but be sure to use the best you can afford.
HERE is the recipe
6: Beef daube
For carnivores, Daube Provençale is probably the best dish to try. It’s a local beef stew cooked in a daubière, which is a heavy casserole pot. Some of the best restaurants cook their Daube overnight, but the minimum is a few hours, and very slowly. In Provence, the stew has lots of anchovy paste and red wine.
The below linked version includes red wine vinegar, which adds a unique piquancy. You’ll need to begin this recipe at least 2 days ahead.
HERE is the recipe
7: Duck Confit
Once esteemed as a preservation method, cooking and keeping duck in its rendered fat results in meltingly tender, moist, and extremely flavourful meat which can be used in a variety of simple preparations. Sear the duck legs in a hot skillet or shred the meat and add it to salads, or, perhaps best of all, make duck rillettes. Just remember the duck must be salted a day before you plan to cook it.
8: Coq au Vin
We can not talk about gastronomy in the south of France without mentioning this symbolic dish. The Coq au Vin is prepared in a similar way to the Daube, since the meat is also marinated for a long time in red wine. However, this dish is prepared with rooster or chicken instead of beef, and with onions and turnips instead of carrots and olives.
This dish is a symbol of the gastronomy of southern France because its invention is attributed to one of the chefs of the emperor Julius Caesar. Legend has it that Julius Caesar took slowly cooked rooster when he finally conquered Gaul after a long military campaign, since the rooster is often used to symbolize France.
HERE is the recipe
9: Onion Soup
Onion Soup is a soup prepared with caramelized onions in butter, flour and brandy or sherry. The caramelized onion is further cooked in a vegetable or meat broth and finally served in a deep bowl. However, what makes this soup special and what makes it the flagship of the gastronomy of southern France is the way it is presented. The soup is served with grated gruyere or emmental cheese on top of a slice of bread floating in the soup. It is then gratin baked or grilled to form a golden crust.
HERE is the recipe
Fougasse is a flatbread. Variations can be found across France, originating from Roman times. In Provence, fougasse is normally made with olives and anchovies, and is sometimes topped with cheese as a handy snack.
“Entertaining is about breaking bread together, sharing, as opposed to having sliced bread,” says Ross Lusted. “It’s tactile; you want to touch it.”
HERE is the recipe
When the southern French have an apéritif, they will often bring out a tapenade to go with their local rosé wine. Tapenade is a spread made from olives, usually with capers, that is spread on large croutons.
No ingredient is as deeply associated with the Mediterranean as the olive. Indeed, whether green, black, or Kalamata, these savory little fruits appear everywhere in the cuisine of the region. The Provençal iteration of olive-based seasoning is the now-widespread tapenade. A basic recipe includes olives, capers, anchovies, and plenty of olive oil, a winning combination!
HERE is the recipe
Would you agree to try a cookie recipe if it was very easy to make, quick and cheap? Just four ingredients: flour, butter, sugar and eggs. The “navette” is a cylindrical cookie flavored with orange blossom, typical of the French Provence. The term “navette” can be translated as “shuttle” in English, referring to Mary Magdalene’s travel to Marseille. These cookies are traditionally eaten at Candlemas. They will keep for several weeks if you store them in a metal box.
HERE is the recipe
No visit to Aix en Provence would ever be complete without tasting (and falling in love) with the unique almond paste candy known as Calissons. They are delicious and hard to find, yet making them is not so difficult, taking the time to make them from scratch is worth the effort, so you can now easily eat them at home.
It is believed the Calisson originally came from medieval Italy, but came to France in 1473, on the occasion of the wedding feast of King René’s second marriage. However, production of the sweet treat became widespread around the 16th century when almonds started to be grown around the Aix en Provence region.
HERE is the recipe
14: Lavender Crème Brulee
Lavender is renowned as a culinary herb for its clean, distinctive perfume and matching floral, ever-so-slightly-minty flavour. It’s also one of the hardest seasonings to cook with, because of its potential to easily overpower dishes. Discover flavor pairing secrets and learn the professional tricks to cooking with lavender.
French lavender is a hybrid plant that goes by the scientific name Lavandula x intermedia. If you want the true Provence lavender experience, the best variety to look for it, unsurprisingly, is Provence. It’s widely regarded as the best French lavender for culinary uses.
The lightest dusting of lavender goes a long way in the kitchen. Use fresh or dried buds but beware: The essence gets stronger and more concentrated as it dries. Use a very light touch or risk infusing the entire dish with bitterness or an oddly soapy flavour. When cooking with dried lavender, use only 1/3 of the amount if the recipe calls for fresh buds. Example: 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh = 1/2 teaspoon dried.
Creme Brûlée is a darling of the French kitchen, as the delicate cream and burnt sugar topping (if done correctly should be like a clear sheet of glass) now boast world renown. Here, the cream meets that most delicious of aromas, classic French lavender.
Clean flavoured lavender and a hint of vanilla give this lavender creme brûlée recipe its signature flavour. The perfume of the flowers is what really gives this special dessert the feel of Provence.
HERE is the recipe
15: Herbes de Provence
Not so much a dish as they are a common thread between all the famous specialties of the region, herbes de Provence are as fundamental as they are beautiful. The bundle of seasonings, while not a fixed formula, is normally made up of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. For a dash of color, lavender is often included (see above), but doesn’t fit into the flavor palette. A special spice blend can make a great Provençal souvenir to commemorate your trip and bring a bit of France home with you!
HERE is the recipe
Rosé All Day With These 10 Rosé Wines From Provence France:
There’s no doubt that rosé is the perfect wine for summer, and you certainly don’t have to ask us twice when a plan includes to ‘rosé all day’. This wine is blushing in colour, light and crisp in taste, totally refreshing by nature and now even better than ever thanks to the increased selection available at the LCBO here in Ontario.
Here are 10 delicious rosé wines from Provence, France that are all now available at the LCBO. Cool fact about wine and Provence; did you know that Provence is France’s oldest wine region and produces the leading amount of rosé in the world?!
The Vins De Provence vineyards date back to the Ancient Romans in the 2nd century B.C. so there’s a little history in every bottle. Now you can take a little bit of France home with you when you shop any of these 10 rosé wines.
Terres De Saint Louis Rose Varois en Provence
A pale pink hue with a purple tinge, this Rosé is deliciously tangy with fresh fruit and citrus aromas that match perfectly with Mediterranean cuisine! Terres De Saint Louis Rose Varois en Provence retails for $11.95
With a bit of a fruity vibe, this Rosé has a complex nose with dominant citrus notes throughout. We love the elegant floral touches and crisp taste! Pink Gecko retails for $14.35
Gassier Sables d’Azur Rosé
Sustainably produced, this elegant rosé has delicate hints of red currant and clementine and sweet grapefruit. Crisp in taste and a perfect peachy tone, this rosé is the perfect aperitif to grilled fish and even sushi! Gassier Sables D’Azur retails for $16.95
Château de Berne Terres de Berne Rosé
This apricot tinted Rosé is elegant and full of floral notes like freesia, peach and apricot that pair beautifully with Italian antipasti like melon & proscuitto and fritto misto! Château de Berne Terres de Berne Rosé retails for $16.95
Château la Tour de L’évêque Rosé 2016
The perfect pairing for poultry, seafood and even Asian dishes, this Rosé is lightly pressed so its sweetness and fragrance remain paramount! Château La Tour de L’Évêque retails for $18.95
Carte Noire Rosé 2016
This dry Rosé has floral notes that are complimented with a slightly spicy finish. The grapes are only picked at night and are pressed when cold and are decanted 24 hours later! Carte Noire Rosé retails for $18.95
La Riviera Côtes de Provence Rosé
With notes of stone fruit and nuances of vanilla, this Rosé is ideal for a summer buffet or BBQ! The grapes are harvested in the night when it’s cool and are macerated for 2 hours! La Riviera Côtes de Provence retails for $18.95
Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé
The palest coral pink, this tangy Rosé offers notes of grapefruit and is quickly becoming a local fave! The grapes are harvested only between sunrise to noon and the grapes are from the best land in the surrounding region of Provence! Caves d’Esclans retails for $26.95
Saint Aix Rosé 2016
Top quality of all the Provence Rosé, this baby is fruity and delicate with hints of watermelon, strawberries and florals. Definitely the perfect option for a summer dinner party! Saint Aix Rosé retails for $45.95
BLANQUETTE DE LIMOUX:
Blanquette de Limoux bears the honour of being the first sparkling wine to be produced in France, long before Champagne became the undisputed world leader for this style. “Blanquette” actually just means “white” in the local Occitan language.
Blanquette de Limoux is made using what is known as the traditional method. During pressing of the grapes, the first juice is collected to make the prestige or ‘tête de cuvée’. The wines are then blended and a second fermentation in the bottle is produced by adding the ‘tirage’ liqueur. Whilst the wines spend nine months on the lees, the secondary bottle fermentation occurs. During this process, the remaining sediment is brought towards the neck of the bottle by daily riddling. After nine months, the neck of the bottle is frozen to expel the trapped sediment. Before the bottle is sealed with the final cork, the dosage is added, giving the wine its very dry, dry or medium dry flavour.
Antech Blanquette de Limoux Nature Brut
-This is the third most highly rated Blanquette de Limoux wine (based on critic scores).
-Awarded Bronze from the Decanter World Wine Awards.
-Average Price CA$ 20 (CAD)
Antech Blanquette de Limoux Grande Reserve Brut
-2 Stars from the Guide Hachette des Vins was awarded.
-This is the eighth most popular wine from Blanquette de Limoux. Moreover, this wine has been getting more popular over the past year.
-This producer makes many wines including those from grapes Rare White Blend, Rare Rose Blend, and Chardonnay – Chenin Blanc.
-Average Price CA$ 19 (CAD)
Vergnes Domaine Martinolles Blanquette de Limoux Methode Ancestrale
-This is among the top 10 most highly rated Blanquette de Limoux Methode Ancestrale wines (based on critic scores).
-Ranked second among the wines from this region with respect to number of prizes won: 2 Stars from the Guide Hachette des Vins was awarded as well as 1 Star from the Guide Hachette des Vins.
-Priced above average for white wine from Blanquette de Limoux Methode Ancestrale.
-Average Price CA$ 19 (CAD)
Chateau Rives-Blanques Blanquette de Limoux Brut
-Several important critics have rated this Blanquette de Limoux wine highly.
-The Guide Hachette des Vins awarded the 2001 vintage 1 Star.
-One of the most expensive white wines from Blanquette de Limoux (top 10).
-Average Price CA$ 22 (CAD)
Sieur d'Arques Blanquette de Limoux Premiere Bulle N1 Fuschia Brut
-Ranked second among the wines from this region with respect to number of prizes won: the 2009 vintage was awarded Gold from the Mundus Vini as well as Gold from the Vinalies Internationales.
-This Blanquette de Limoux wine has received good scores from various critics.
-Average Price CA$ 15 (CAD)
French Reading6 works related to Mary, The Cathars and the Knights Templar, and 6 books that we recommend to guide and feed you while we explore France together...
French PhrasesTraveling to France is a grand adventure where you’ll get to explore the local culture, including all the beautiful artwork and delicious cuisine!
MARY MAGDALENE SPECIFIC MOVIES & DOCUMENTARIES:
Mary Magdalene - 2018
Director: Garth Davis
She is one of the most transformative yet misunderstood women in history, alternately vilified as a sinner and canonized as a saint. For the first time, the incredible story of Mary Magdalene is told through her own eyes. In the first century…
Also, see trailer below
Secrets of Mary Magdalene - 2006
Director: Rob Fruchtman
Secrets of Mary Magdalene strips away the veils of history to reveal the flesh and blood woman who served as Jesus’ foremost apostle and possibly the love of his life. Based on the nonfiction book “Secrets of Mary Magdalene” by bestselling authors Dan Burstein and Arne De Keijzer, this documentary special uncovers..
Watch full documentary on YouTube by clicking HERE or by clicking the video below
The Conspiracy Of Mary Magdalene (Secrets of the Cross Documentary) by Timeline
Without Mary Magdalene’s vision of a risen Jesus there may never have been a Christianity. But why do the gospels say almost nothing about her?
Controversial and compelling, Secrets Of The Cross pushes aside centuries of tradition to expose fascinating secrets at the heart of the Christian story.
The Real Mary Magdalene a National Geographic Documentary
The true life of Mary Magdalene is revisited in this Nat Geo documentary.
For 1,500 years, Christians regarded the woman so close to Jesus as a reformed prostitute. Now, evidence suggests this may have been part of a devious smear campaign by the early church to remove women from the clergy.
Who was the real Mary Magdalene?
Mysteries of Mary Magdalene from the BBC
Mary Magdalene is a key witness to the most important event in Christianity – the Resurrection of Jesus. But we know almost nothing about her. The early church brands her as a whore. Movie says she’s the wife of Jesus and a mother of his child.
But beyond the gospels lays another secret text. So controversial, it’s been banned for centuries. A lost gospel that may reveal the real Mary Magdalene…
Watch full BBC documentary HERE
The Hundred-Foot Journey - 2014
Director: Lasse Hallström
In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of…
Julie & Julia - 2009
Director: Nora Ephron
Meryl Streep is Julia Child and Amy Adams is Julie Powell in writer-director Nora Ephron’s adaptation of two bestselling memoirs: Powell’s Julie & Julia and My Life in France, by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme. Based on two true stories, Julie &…
Chocolat - 2001
Director: Robert Nelson Jacobs & Lasse Hallström
Nobody could have imagined the impact that the striking Vianne (Binoche) would make when she arrived in a tranquil, old fashioned French town. In her very unusual chocolate shop, Vianne begins to create mouthwatering confections that almost…
Le Chef (Comme un chef) - 2012
Director: Daniel Cohen
Jacky Bonnot, 32 ans, amateur de grande cuisine, au talent certain, rêve de succès et de grand restaurant. La situation financière de son couple le contraint cependant d’accepter des petits boulots de cuistot qu’il n’arrive pas à conserver….
La Vie en Rose
Director: Olivier Dahan
She was known as “the Little Sparrow.” But behind Edith Piaf’s tiny stature was a larger-than-life voice that captivated a generation. Featuring a powerhouse, Oscar(R)-winning lead performance by Marion Cotillard, this sensational film unveils the…
Available to buy on Amazon.ca
Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) - 2001
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.
Available to buy on Amazon.ca