Manger Workshop

As a lover of good food and photography, you can imagine my delight when Mimi Thorisson announced a cooking and photography workshop. I had been following Mimi and her husband, Oddur, on Instagram for quite some time. Their photos are beautiful. Meals that leave me hungry, wine from their local region of Bordeaux, plentiful vegetables from their garden, and their beautiful children evoke memories from my own childhood, spent in Normandy with my French grandmother. Memories that are sacred to me. Sunday mornings were spent at the marché, first, to buy the chicken from the local farmer, and then a basket full of potatoes, still covered in dirt. On the walk home, we would visit the boulangerie to pick up a fresh baguette, often still warm, and when I would longingly look at the rows of delicious éclairs and tartes aux framboises, Mamie would always give me a smile and nod, adding a tray of mini pâtisseries to our order. Once home and the groceries were put away, I would roll up my sleeves, eager to help. Yesterday's newspaper spread across the kitchen table (it made for easy clean-up), I would peel the potatoes until the scraps created rising heaps and my hands grew tired. Sitting on my stool, I then waited for my next task. Some people will claim that these Sunday meals tasted so good because they're associated with emotion, and perhaps they're right. But I will argue only to an extent, because I still deem my grandma as the best darn cook.

With these memories close to heart, months later, I found myself in Saint Yzans-de-Médoc, chez Mimi and Oddur's for three days of cooking and photography. Pigeon, cherry clafoutis, soufflé, chou farci and endive tartets, rolled to look like roses, were just a few of the recipes we made from scratch, all from Mimi's latest cookbook. All the photos were taken at their home, which is even more beautiful in person. Hard to imagine, I know. When I left Bordeaux, I felt re-inspired to cook. Not just for me, but for my friends and family, and as Mamie did and in her spirit, for generations to come. Bon appétit. 

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Bretagne

Brittany is one of my favorite regions in France. Its gastronomy – crêpes, salted butter, cider, and fresh seafood are reasons alone to visit, not to mention its beautiful beaches and charming villages, adorned with bright blue and purple hydrangeas. You can imagine my contentment when my Papa decided to move there, making this amazing region now a new home to me. 

Numerous visits have allowed me to explore different parts of the region. From the lively farmer's market selling local specialities in Vannes and the charming harbour of St Goustin in Auray, to the turquoise, clear seaside of Hoedic island, every trip has been gratifying to both my heart and constant yearning to explore, and of course, my sweet tooth.

Erdeven

Auray

Saint-Goustan Port

Vannes

Île d'Hoedic

La Loire – a Weekend of R&R

These past few months have been a whirlwind and I haven’t found the time to share my recent travels (Seville, Lisbon, England) – but consider my hiatus over! This past weekend I visited the region of la Loire, which is two hours southwest of Paris. I joined some friends at a beautiful home where we indulged in local foods and wine amongst good company. Despite it pouring all weekend, we still managed to find just enough sunshine to enjoy some croquet (accompanied by rosé of course) and a bike ride to the nearby Chateau de Gizeux. Considering the region has over 300 chateaux (and numerous wine tours), it’s safe to say I’ll be returning in the near future.


Alsace in the Fall

I hopped on the train last weekend to go to my dad’s in Alsace, which is located in eastern France just along the German border. The TGV gets me there in under two and half hours so it makes for a great weekend trip. Historically, the region was passed back and forth under French and German control, which has resulted in an interesting blend of French and German culture, as represented by the spoken languages, cuisine and architecture. Although Alsatian was the traditional language (a German dialect), the official language today is French and most commonly spoken. Being that Alsace is a huge wine-producing region (especially known for its Rieslings and Gewürztraminer), I was really looking forward to seeing the vineyards in full foliage. It’s safe to say I wasn’t let down – rich, vibrant colors in soft contrast with rolling hills created an incredible scenery. The best part about it is that we didn’t have to go very far, as the vineyards are honestly everywhere. A simple car ride to the boulangerie merited leaving my phone at home so as to not be distracted and risk missing any of the beautiful landscapes. To make the weekend that much better before taking the train back on Sunday, we made hazelnut-praline tarts with apples fresh from the apple tree. And yes, it was accompanied with wine.