Cane, Olive Oil and Rosé!
Summer is a great time for Hevreh group members to embark upon travels and projects that enable us to grow as individual artists but that will ultimately be enriching for the entire ensemble. Under a Faculty Research and Development Grant from Hofstra Univeristy, I had the opportunity to travel to the cane fields in southern France where the majority of cane for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and saxophone reeds is grown. I was very fortunate to be connected with Jean-Francois Rico from Nice, France ( his grandfather founded the Rico Reed Company). Along with my intrepid travel partner and good friend Amanda Halle, we spent three days traveling around to many of the different cane growers in the Var Region of Provence. Under the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea in Hyere, France we visited the cane fields and we learned a great deal about how the cane is grown, dried for a year before it is ready to be used to make reeds. Jean-Francois is also an expert Rosé connoisseur and we also partook in many great meals accompanied by delicious Rosé wine!
The next three days of the way too short trip were spent traveling around Provence including visits to Aix in Provence and Marseille. The main theme for this part of the trip was to visit museums and historic sites including a wonderful visit to the Notre-Dame Senanque Abbey where the monks tend acres of fragrant lavender. As we drove up narrow winding road eating a fig and almond paste tart, the scent of lavender wafted through the car! Of course exploring the food and wine of the area was one of the most important activities and this also included a wonderful visit to an artisanal olive oil cooperative – La Boutique du Molin where we tasted 10 different olive oils, each distinctly different in character. My over packed suitcase made it safely back home with Rosé, a huge bag of tube cane from Daniel Rigotti and of course olive oil!