Having moved to rural France in 2014, Sarah Sharratt, now has her own show, UpRooted, that takes her readers with her on a beautiful culinary journey. We speak to her to find out how life in France is like and if French cuisine is really all that difficult and intricate to create! For delicious recipes that she’s shared with us, make sure you continue checking our page.
1. How is France treating you?
My show UpRooted follows that same seasonal rhythm and what you see prepared in each episode is directly related to what is at its best at that moment. One of my favourite seasonal episodes is A French Picnic. We harvest strawberries at a local farm and then I prepare mini strawberry cobblers in jam jars as well as some strawberry lemonade for our picnic as a family.Living in the French countryside has been an excellent experience so far. It did take a few months to adjust to the slower pace of life you find when you live rurally, but since then it has been a wonderful adventure. Since cooking is my passion, it is probably no surprise that the best part for me has been the food. The focus on eating seasonally has started to inform what I cook. Shopping at the local Saturday market and selecting what is the freshest, in-season ingredients now determines what is on the menu at our house each day.
2. Tell me a bit more about your move to France.
You could say my husband and I sort of fell in love with traveling through France. It was the first trip we took together and between the beautiful landscapes, stunning chateaux and delicious food and wine, we also fell in love with this country. When the opportunity arose to move here, we jumped at it. We knew that there would be challenges but overwhelmingly felt that it would be a positive experience for us, and most importantly for our two young children. We haven’t looked back since!
3. How did you find the experience of overcoming language and cultural barriers when you first moved to France?
The language and cultural barriers were a real challenge when we first arrived, and to be honest, there are days when they continue to be a challenge. It can be difficult living in a country where you never perfectly understand the spoken and unspoken things all around you. My love of food has helped me create some wonderful relationships with locals who are also passionate about food. Whether it is my butcher or baker down the road, food has been our common language. Thank goodness most French people are equally passionate about food!
The great part about UpRooted is that viewers can see those relationships and connections being made, even though I don’t speak the language very well. There are quite a few “lost in translation” moments but typically our common interest in the food we are exploring overcomes any language barriers.
4. How different is French cuisine from what you knew? What is your favourite ingredient to use when it comes to whipping up French dishes?
French cuisine is very different from what I grew up eating in America. You can definitely see that in my cooking style. It feels like a constant negotiation between my roots and what I have learned as an adult living in France. On my show UpRooted I make a French version of a classic apple pie. I use puff pastry and also flavor the filling with locally produced Armagnac. I have become very good at adapting or modifying American recipes using ingredients I can find here in France! I love using fresh herbs. I am fortunate enough to have a good variety of herbs in my garden and I try to incorporate them into as many dishes as I can. French recipes for me are often about finding that delicate balance of flavors and it is amazing how much influence fresh herbs can have. Fresh parsley, sage, bay leaves, thyme, mint and rosemary are all used throughout the recipes we filmed for UpRooted.