The First Touch of Winter — La première sensation de l’hiver

Vegetable Soup
Prosciutto, St Maure and Pear Tartines

Wintry Emotion

At 9 am, I woke up feeling rested. Unlike other mornings at the same time, I noticed that it was rather quiet. As I was still lying in bed, I turned over to my side to warm myself against P.’s body. To my surprise, he had already risen and was downstairs preparing breakfast. I stretched my legs down towards the foot of the bed and cracked open the window to feel the chilly winter air gush in. Too cold. I stuck my head under the covers and fell back asleep in the warmth of P.’s body heat still in the bed. And when I woke up next, the house was silent and he had gone to work. I finally opened my eyes, and smiled. I could recognize the type of light coming through the blinds still down. I knew that today was going to be the day; I could sense it everywhere.

Snow was on its way.

What is there to dislike about winter? Shoveling snow, getting your feet wet, having the tips of your fingers cold despite wearing thick winter gloves, waking up to a gray sky for many days in a row? Possibly. These are pretty good reasons. But I personally like to remind myself of what there is to love about winter. For me? Everything. When some people crave beach and sun, I long for wintry snowy landscapes.

I don’t understand your thing about winter,” my friend K. told me when I said that I was dying for snow to arrive.

There is everything to love about my thing for winter.

I imagine going out for a walk in the snow and noticing the marks left by my long footsteps; feeling the snowflakes gently brush my skin and melt within seconds; smelling the healthy brisk air that turns my nose and cheeks pink red, and mainly, paying attention to the stillness around me. Have you noticed how loud summer is in comparison? Then, I look forward to baking, drinking hot chocolate, making large pots of hearty soup, and then, I start to do all of these again.

Because it feels as good the second day as it did the first.

I love when winter welcomes the first snow of the season. Every year, I get as excited as I did the year before. Not surprisingly, as soon as the first snowflakes started to slowly fall outside, I felt a strong urge to bake, go for a long walk in the park nearby, play in the snow, and take pictures. I did every single one of these. And when I came home, I had a homemade soup waiting for me. With it, I prepared two hearty tartines.

I used two slices of a seeded multi-grain bread, and topped each slice with St Maure cheese. I put the tartines under the broil, enough time for the cheese to melt, and then I topped them with prosciutto and thin slices of pears. Since I had prepared a vegetable soup the night before — with whatever-I-had-in-the-fridge vegetables, as often is the case on Sunday nights: parsnips, celeriac, potato and squash, seasoned with cumin and coriander — I only needed a dollop of crème fraîche and fresh chopped coriander to complete my lunch. The same morning’s quietness filled the space. Within thirty minutes, everything was covered by a thin coat of snow.

I want to go out again,” I thought when I was almost finished with my lunch.

I quickly cleaned the table, and as I was leaving the kitchen to put my coat and walking shoes on, I grabbed a slice of the pistachio* dark chocolate brownies that I baked earlier in the morning, using amaranth and quinoa flours. It was already my second batch within two days.

* I added the special pistachios recently purchased. You cannot get greener than that!

gluten free brownie chocolate pistachio

Gluten-Free Pistachio, Dark Chocolate Brownies

It’s supposed to snow for two days,“P. told me when he came home, earlier than usual.

I have to hope so. Then I can start all of the previous again.

I am sure that they will taste just as good.

Even if it will no longer be the first day of winter when it happens.

Prosciutto, St Maure and Pear Tartines

(For 4 tartines)

You need:

  • 4 slices of country or multi-grain bread
  • 2 slices of prosciutto, cut in halves
  • 1/2 pear, sliced
  • Lemon juice
  • Coriander
  • Piment d’Espelette
  • 8 slices of St Maure


  • Slice the pear and squeeze lemon juice, to prevent from turning brown. Keep.
  • Toast the bread slices.
  • Place 2 slices of St Maure on each slice of bread.
  • Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet, and place under broil for 3 min or so. Keep an eye to make sure that it does not burn. Remove when the cheese starts to melt, and is starting to take a nice golden color.
  • Top with half a slice of prosciutto.
  • Top with 2 slices of pear. Add coriander and a dash of piment d’Espelette. Eat with your favorite soup.
Le coin français
Tartines au prosciutto, St Maure et poire

(Pour 4 tartines)

Ingrédients :

  • 4 tranches de bon pain de campagne, ou multi-grains
  • 2 tranches de prosciutto, coupées en deux
  • 1/2 poire, tranchée
  • Jus de citron
  • Coriandre fraîche, hachée
  • Piment d’Espelette
  • 8 tranches de St Maure

Étapes :

  • Coupez la poire en tranches fines. Ajoutez quelques gouttes de jus de citron, afin que les tranches évitent de noircir. Mettez de côté.
  • Faites griller vos tranches de pain.
  • Posez deux tranches de St Maure sur chaque morceau de pain.
  • Placez sous le gril pendant environ 3 min. Surveillez afin d’éviter que le pain ne brûle. Retirez une fois que le fromage est fondu et à peine doré.
  • Placez le prosciutto dessus.
  • Garnissez avec deux tranches de poire. Ajoutez de la coriandre fraîche hachée, et un soupçon de piment d’Espelette. Dégustez avec votre soupe préférée.
Posted in Bread, Cakes, Chocolate, Dessert, French Inspired, Gluten Free, Soup


  1. And I was feeling down about winter. But how can I after reading this post? You make it sound SO AWESOME. I’m going sledding right now in the dark.

  2. I share your feeling. We have a big snow fall here in Montreal. The city was so beautiful today. I walked to go to work so it was fun for me. We will sit near the fireplace tonight.

  3. Absolutely gorgeous photos!

    And I share your love for winter – but living in southern California, people look at me like I’m crazy when I say I love snow.

  4. Béa, yours is one of the most beautiful, artful blogs I’ve seen. It is a true delight. Your photos and design are just wonderful. Thank you!

  5. beautiful photos and post Bea! I love winter too, especially since I didn’t have it growing up 🙂

  6. Hello Bea! This is such a beautiful post- your words and photographs capture the feeling of the season’s first snow. And your gluten-free chocolate treats look wonderful. Warm regards, Karina

  7. J’en suis toute émue… Ces paysages sont fabuleux. L’atmosphère qui y règne… j’aime!

  8. J’adore voir revenir la neige, nous avons déjà eu quelques flocons en novembre et depuis plus rien ! j’aime l’hiver, surtout les saisons qui changent… et les soupes aussi j’en ai fait une hier !

  9. je vois que même expatriée tu trouves les fromages de chez nous et que tu en fais des merveilles !

  10. Je suis comme toi avec l’hiver (surprise, surprise) mais c’est pas demain que j’aurais ca (il faisait encore 70 degres ici auourd’hui). Peut etre que si j’agrandi tes photos et que je les colle devant les vitres , je peux faire “pour de faux”…!!! Tes tartines et ta soupe sont merveilleuses!

  11. How wonderful! I love that season! Je craque tout particulièrement pour ces belles tartines…



  12. C’est sublime, une journée sous la neige et dans la cuisine… Merci de l’avoir partagée !

  13. De jolies photos pour accompagner un sentiment que j’ai comme toi pour l’hiver. J’adore ça, malheureusement il ne neige pratiquement plus jamais à Paris.

  14. Quelle jolie ambiance de coton… ça donne envie de se blottir sous une couette. A bordeaux, il fait 12° aujourd’hui et malheureusement il pleut!!

  15. It always amazes me too how quiet it becomes when it snows. I can’t wait now! I love to see the faces on our two cats (not that they ever stay out there for long).

    I love these tartine and soup pictures Bea – it’s lovely to see something a little bit rustic and cosy looking. A good idea as well – I’m going to make myself a cheese and pear tartine for my lunch right now!

  16. How lovely! I loved reading this, beautiful photos & recipe. I must try this. I am feeling quite good about winter now, although in London we have no snow.

  17. how poetic this all..i never loved winter (for i grew up in the tropics) but seeing snowflakes brings out the child in me..i wish i wish they are all candies dropping down from heaven..i’ll wait with my mouth wide open…..hmmmm yummy 🙂

  18. I agree with you. I don’t love winter whole-heartedly, but I don’t love summer 100% either. It’s the shift in feelings and sensations between seasons, the moving back and forth in the way we live. I love the cycles and the habit changes. And like you, I love love love the snow, especially the fresh soft white snow. We’ve got a huge boatload of it right now, so I guess we may as well appreciate it!

  19. I miss winter so much now that I live in Florida. I love warm weather, but it’s the fact that it never changes that I don’t like. I would love to try St. Maure sometime…do you shop at Formaggio Kitchen? I loved that store when i lived in Boston.

  20. Bea – I think you and your blog will save me this winter! Thank goodness the kids like snow ;)! Another beautiful post – Thanks Bea!

  21. So beautiful and serene Bea! Such a wonderful mood setter, and the meal looks perfect for the weather!

  22. I can’t tell you how I am salivating over those tartines! As a Californian, I have the option of driving 3 hours to see snow, but never really to wake up to it. I have to admit that the one thing I truly miss about living in New York is how everything was silent when it snowed. It really was amazing. Your pictures are amazing and at least I can live vicariously in your snow!

  23. This has to be one of my favorite posts ever, so far! The mood and the food…Just BEAutiful!

  24. I was beginning to think I was the only person looking forward to snow, so now I am glad I am not alone. Great photographs!

  25. Hi Bea!
    are you going to give us the recipe of this delicious looking choc brownie?
    or is it the same as the amaranth cake and you just added some pistachios to it?looks delicious….

  26. This is one of the nicest posts you have done. I love the simplicity and the celebration of winter. I’m writing from Ottawa where we are just emerging from 40 cm! It is winter fully and completely. Thank you for sharing. I’m off to make a soup…

  27. Oh my, a proscuitto and pear tartine sounds perfect. And beautiful photos of winter landscapes are the best way to ward off any winter blues—thank you!

  28. Soupe, tartines et neige …J’en rêve ! Ici, pas d’hiver encore … 19°C et un grand soleil sous un ciel bleu marine… On échange ? :o))

  29. La neige, les feuilles, la beauté de l’hiver et la petite soupe qui réchauffe…Bonne journee

  30. I also love winter like this. We were in Seattle for their 3 inch snow and it was really wonderful. The quiet is striking and beautiful. The soup and tartine, especial the tartine Wow, pear makes it perfect. Gorgeous photos, again, tell such a great story.

  31. C’est tjs aussi beau, bon et ressourçant chez toi…Les paysages enneigés ont un côté apaisant, la neige fige un peu les choses, assourdit les bruits, masque pour un temps les imperfections, c’est fascinant et beau.
    …et bravo pour le superbe calendrier (oui, j’ai un peu de retard…)

  32. Lovely photos. I love winter as well. Chicago just got a sign of winter coming in full force.
    The food photos made my mouth water. What a perfect winter meal.

  33. These pictures are so beautiful they, almost make me forget how cold and windy it was outside! ; )

  34. I love the snow if I don’t have to drive in it. It is snowing a little today …so beautiful

  35. I’m in love with your winter photos. Big fan of snow and crunching through half-frozen puddles and having my hair freeze on the way to the bus. I moved to warmer climates where I see snow maybe 4-5 times the entire winter unless I run to the mountains and I have to live vicariously through other peoples snowy lives.

    The pear tartines look amazing, throwing them on the list of things to cook for the fams at xmas, thanks.

  36. Just lovely – the food and the scenes. What I almost love most about snow is the way the air smells *different* the night before a big storm. It still excites the child in me that I might get a day off the following day, and wander around in cocooned quite.

  37. Thank you everyone, once more. I am glad to hear I am not alone to LOVE snow. Now I sense that I must have come from a Nordic country, in a previous life 😉 My dad has the same love for snow, and cold.

    Va comprendre!

  38. As to the question about the chocolate brownie, it is actually a different recipe (my friend S. said “your brownies rock” after he sampled them last night. So hopefully, I will post a recipe soon. I always have to make sure friends like it first 😉 We love them, and they are gluten free, and much healthier for you, since I use quinoa and amaranth flours. Never too sweet, using also super green pistachios (cannot tell where they are from though, only two countries, hint hint)

  39. brrrr, ça me frigorifie de voir tes belles photos enneigées, surtout celle de tes bottes !!

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  41. Those tartines look divine. And that you for putting up so many gluten-free options. I try to do so as well, since my mother has celiac! I know she appreciates your efforts :).

  42. I’ll take winter if I can have those tartines. But then again, I’m in California and have been whining that it’s dropped below 50.

    By the way . . . I was only one of many, but I nominated you for Best Food Blog for the Food Blog Awards.

  43. Tres joli billet Bea, qui donne envie de retourner au lit et d’attendre cette lumiere particuliere des jours de neige.

  44. I think those are about the most achingly beautiful photographs of winter I have seen. They resonate with me like no others. Thank you, Bea. You are truly gifted.

  45. What a wonderful post. Those photos are just so beautiful that they make me long for snow and to take a walk in a winter wonderland. You can just feel the calm and silence in them. And those pear tartines looked so divine that I made them for lunch, and they were as divine as they looked.

  46. You are a great writer!
    I like winter from the inside… the comfort and warmth of your home and things baking in the oven….from the inside. I like looking outside and watching the snow fall, but would rather not be out in it. However, your photographs tempt me.

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