I am renovating my house in Bordeaux (in Libourne to be precise). It is a big townhouse my Grandmother used to live in. No one has touched it in over 60 years. So needless to say I have my work cut out for me.
My next project will be the summer living room and I want it to be the place I retire to to do my thinking and writing. The winter living room will be more of a playroom than anything else.
Here is what I want the room to look like:
Talk about fresh fish! I thought I’d share this photo taken at the market this morning…
I don’t drink much. Too much eating! Not enough space left!
So not a big wine buyer. I love, however, everything that has to do with wine. The history of the wine families, the lavish châteaux, the glassware, the design…
My favorite wine store in the Bordeaux area is “Vignobles & Châteaux“. Not only is it two stunning shops with all the best wines available, but the owner and the staff have made it a place where you truly feel their genuine care for their customers and their product…
Go see their beautiful website.
I really love Asian food. Almost as much as French food (and American food, and greek food, and…).
Here is something I tried last week for the first time. It was amazing!
Marinated duck breast, seared (or grilled) with Teriyaki, Yakitory, Oisin, Soy reduction and citrus peals:
- Duck breast(s)
- Canola oil (1 glass)
- Oisin sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Yakitori sauce
- Dark soy sauce
- Lemon peals
- Black pepper
- Szechwan pepper
- Green pepper (or white if easier to find)
- Pink peppercorn (for decoration only)
- Put duck breast(s), all three kinds of pepper (1 tablespoon of each ground), canola oil and a bit of salt in a plastic bag in the fridge for at least 24 hours
- Take out of bag and remove excess marinade
- Put on grill fat side down first
- Cook to pink center
- Mix all sauces together (equal measure of each sauce) and add pink peppercorns (1 teaspoon as it has a bit of a bitter taste)
- Serve duck over white rice or with boiled potatoes on the side. Sauce mix on top with a few lemon peals
So here I was. 12:30pm. Hungry as hell. Hungry for Asian food actually…
I vowed to only write about French things I love here, but I figured that Vietnam was once part of the French Empire, that Samosas are from the French Islands and that China might one day own France anyway. Cravings, cravings, cravings!! So here you go.
My recipe? Buy the stuff, heat it up, eat!
As I was driving by this morning on my way to Château Petrus, I thought about my earlier posts on Chartreuses and had to stop to take a picture of one I love in Pomerol: Vieux Château Certan. So simple. So refined in every way…
One of my favorite quotes of all times. I am all about food. Food for the body AND food for the soul:
“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”
I like this idea of a moveable feast. I hope that’s something my blog will help people do. Create their own version of heaven wherever they are. Too philosophical here! Sorry!!
My friend Sharon lives in Napa with her husband and two boys. She loves Bordeaux and purchased a charming villa on the outskirts of Saint-Emilion almost 10 years ago. It is a two-minute walk to downtown Saint-Emilion and its fantastic shops, wine stores and award winning restaurants. Vineyards surround the property and the garden is absolutely charming.
I am keeping an eye on the house when Sharon is in the States. The place was in ruins when she bought it. She has renovated it to the highest standards and rents it out through one of her companies: www.winevillas.com
Truly one of my favorite spots!
The Moueix family is building another extension to Petrus. Not as innovative as the new wing at Cheval Blanc across the road, but a much needed addition:
I am a quarter Italian. Olive oil and tomato sauce run through my veins. Here is a recipe I learned from my Grand Mother Anna:
Super easy to make in just 15 minutes:
- Boil 4 fists full of bow tie pasta (al dente of course)
- Olive oil in a pan
- Add 2 chopped shallots and two fists full of ceps (fresh, frozen, dried: it does not matter)
- Cook until lightly brown
- Add 4 table spoons of port
- Salt, pepper and heavy whipping cream to taste
- Drain pasta
- Mix together
- Serve with parmesan cheese (FRESH!!! the grated one always smells like puke!)
You know everyone loves pasta.
- You can use any type of mushroom as long as it has a strong flavor (morels are great for this dish)
- You can also add bacon bits for extra flavor
- I like mine vegetarian with veal on the side:0)
There is actually a word in French: Convivialité. It does translate in English I believe “conviviality” but I don’t think its true meaning does. It is one of two words we use for “hospitality”. Basically “conviviality” is the part in hospitality or customer service dedicated to making others (guests, friends, customers) feel like they belong and that they genuinely matter to you. I don’t know if I am being very clear. I’ll come back to this in a future post.
In any case, I learned this skill from my father and great-uncle André. They were both very successful Wine Merchants. They had up to 25000 clients in Normandy alone and knew every single one’s likes and dislikes. They truly were loved and respected because of their unique sense of “convivialité”.
They are 80 and 82 years old and are now both retired. They were raised like two brothers as my Great Grand Mother died at an early age. Here is a picture of them in 1933:
And here is Uncle André in 1948 getting ready for a “business” trip:
I have always been crazy about architecture. One type of building truly represents the region where I was born (Bordeaux). We call it a “Chartreuse”. It is a château with only one main floor (ground floor or first floor). In the ones that have two levels, the bottom floor was/is used for wine storage and/or staff quarters:
This particular Chartreuse is Château Latour Ségur near the village of Lussac (Lussac Saint-Emilion appellation). In addition to producing very good wine, its owners have some rooms for rent in the commons. Their very relaxing spa, located between the main house and the vineyard has just been open to the public. Besides all the usual treatments, they offer a variety of classes ranging from yoga to relaxation therapy and Chi Kung.