When a clan of foodies means business!

Intox the dog and Geoffrey's BBQ

The whole clan drove up to Poitiers last Sunday for Victor’s 8th birthday. Victor is the eldest of my grand nephews. He loves food just as much as the next guy in the family. Oysters are his favorites… I bought him a gold fish he decided to name Oascar. Oscar is very small but very red. But then again, evrerything about that day was bright and colorful. The garden, the food, the people…

Oysters from île d'OleronChampagne

My niece Aurélie, Victor’s mom, has the “Ialwaysbuytoomuchcheese” syndrome. The syndrome runs in the family as both my sister and I have it. Her husband Geoffrey has the “Ibuywaytoomuchmeat” syndrome… A match made in heaven really :0)

Their dog – her name is Intox – is very young. This was one of her first big family gatherings with us. The smell of the BBQ really got to her. She thought she’d died and gone to heaven.


Besides the oyster and the best wines and Champagne we could find, the menu included rillettes, patés, kilos and kilos of the most amazing beef (with shallots of course), my very own gratin Dauphinois, then the cheese, tarte tatin (apple pie) and a chocolate cake we’d made with Belgium chocolate and salted butter from Guérande. Needless to say that we were all pretty full when we left the table around 5pm. Hanna, my cousin’s Texan girlfriend, could not believe we all, including the kids, could stay seated at the same table for so long… Of course, we all swore that we wouldn’t have dinner that evening… Of course we eventually did! Cold cuts with mayo will be the end of me I swear!

ChampagneOscar and the cake

This was yet another incredible family affair bursting with color, fragrances and love in what I’ll always call my French heaven…

BeefBBQBBQGratin DauphinoisCheese and wine

I used a new recipe for the Gratin Dauphinois (potato gratin). By new recipe, I mean using a different technique. The ingredients are always the exact same!! Everyone absolutely loved it and had several helpings (even the one claiming she was on a diet):

For 6 foodies:

  1. Get 4 pounds of potatoes. Try to get them from the farm and make sure they are the kind that hold together when cooked. The ones you’d use for stews or raclette or salads are perfect.
  2. Peal and clean the potatoes.
  3. Slice them thin (1 or 2mm). Do not put them in water!!! The starch they contain will contribute greatly to the texture and taste of your gratin.
  4. Rub an oven dish with quite a bit of soften butter and sprinkle nutmeg, black pepper and salt all over the dish (half a teaspoon of each). Add half a glass of milk.
  5. Lay down a first layer of  potatoes. Each layer will be about half an inch thick.
  6. Sprinkle salt, black pepper and nutmeg again. This time, also add a big clove of garlic (chopped) as well as 5 tablespoons of heavy cream (the thick kind).
  7. Repeat the  layer process until you run out of potatoes (use two large cloves of garlic total).
  8. Spread a big cup (250g) of cream over the last layer
  9. Put your dish in the oven at 400°F for 45 minutes to an hour. Your gratin is ready when the top is golden brown and the potatoes are really REALLY soft (use a knife to check) all the way through.

I might actually make a video soon to show you the exact process… I always think a recipe is simple, but then I write it down and it sounds complicated…

Mom and cheeseTarte tatin


71 Comments Add yours

  1. Chaya says:

    your blog is amazing! such clear and good photography, and everything you post looks delicious!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so so much Chaya! Welcome!

  2. Looks and sounds like a fantastic time. Your mother always amazes me at how great she looks!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      We should have both of our mothers meet. They’d be instant friends for sure…

      1. That would be quite something. Unfortunately the one thing my mother no longer does is travel. It is just too much for her. She went away last winter and said that was it. It just took too much out of her!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          I understand. She lives in a beautiful part of the world though, surrounded by her lovely family. I hope my old days will look like hers… 😉

          1. I have a very strong feeling you will always be surrounded by people who love you! How could you not?

  3. aletifer says:

    Heck I’m not even a foodie and you’ve got my mouth watering. Those are some great pictures! Sounds like a fantastic time. 🙂

  4. What a wonderful feast! Nothing can beat good food and good company..

  5. terrepruitt says:

    Looks as if it were a beautiful party. I don’t think the recipe sounds complicated.

  6. juliabarrett says:

    Oh Oh Oh! Salivating. Beautiful! Props to an eight year old who eats oysters!

  7. Amanda says:

    OMG this is stunning. What a beautiful tale of food and family. The photography is great. I could really use a meal like this, now! They’re kind of priceless.

  8. Linda Duffin says:

    Wonderful! I love my family but that makes me want to be part of yours …

  9. Heather in Arles says:

    Pure happiness…and just beautiful to boot. Thank you for taking us along!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are most welcome Heather!

  10. saucygander says:

    GREAT clan gathering!! My mouth is watering at the sight of all that meat and cheese.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh the cheese was fantasssssssstic! 😉

  11. janina says:

    So, Stephane, how’s your diet going?!! LOL.
    It all looks much too delicious to be good for you, but I’d be there, in a flash! Dauphinois, champagne, cheese, tarte. And the puppy!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      All of this is compatible with my diet. It’s the size of the portions I have to watch 🙂

  12. Richa Gupta says:

    This looks gorgeous! Its wonderful when family and food come together in a gathering like this. You can relive old memories and make some new ones. What is the last picture in the blog of?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Richa! The last picture is the top crust of the tarte tatin 😉

      1. Richa Gupta says:

        It looks amazing! Do you already have a recipe for it on your blog? I’m not very familiar with French cuisine but would love to try and make the tarte tatin at home

        1. My French Heaven says:

          I don’t. I don’t enjoy baking. I might make an exception for this soon as it is one of the most famous French desserts. Few people can make a good one though…

          1. Richa Gupta says:

            Yay! Looking forward to it

  13. msshe says:

    Oh la la….magnifiques.
    Les pommes gratinés, le boeuf….tous!
    Vous avez raison de diner avec la famille. Ce sont les temps speciales! (J’espère que mon français est assez bon ici.) j’oublie les mots quelques fois. Le français est un peu difficile sur un iPad. 🙂

    Nous avons eu Nôtre fête à l’école aujourd’hui. On a passé de bon après midi. Les élèves français m’ont aidé. Ils retournent/ revient en France la première semaine de Mai. Bastian joue au foot…et il va faire ça quand it va chez lui. Franc va jouer au golf à Jacksonville, FL. Bastian est de Fréjus, et Franc est de Toulouse…je crois.

  14. Absolutely wonderful!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks James!

    1. My French Heaven says:


  15. backpackbee says:

    Make a video too pretty please! I want to make this recipe!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I just might… 😉

      1. backpackbee says:

        Don’t tease us!

  16. backpackbee says:

    I love this family because they love their food so much! What wonderful photos! It looked to be quite a celebration!

  17. Luffy Moogan says:

    Remarkable – my mouth is watering after reading this! Fab photos

    1. My French Heaven says:


  18. Luffy Moogan says:

    Remarkable! My mouth is simply watering

  19. Francesca says:

    I love a good potato gratin ( Dauphinois) and this version looks good. Do you cover it at all if the top browns before the potatoes are soft? F

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Typically they are perfectly cooked when the top reaches the perfect color. Otherwise, yes, I would cover them. But then the steam would damage the crispy shiny crust…

  20. ladyredspecs says:

    I would always choose to celebrate exactly like this. Beautiful food and wine, family young and old, close friends, spirited conversation and no rush. I bet your family dining tables could tell a tale or two! Beautiful pics, but I’ve grown to expect no less.

    1. My French Heaven says:


  21. mariekeates says:

    Just reading is making me hungry!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Good! Then my job is done 🙂

  22. chef mimi says:

    What is the cheese in the round container? I love your photos. I wish there were more!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It’s called Epoisse. It is dellcious but only available around this time of year. Hopefully we’ll be able to find some when you are here… 🙂

      1. chef mimi says:

        Oh that’s my favorite cheese! What I get is in a more shallow box!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          You’ll tell me if you find a difference in taste. I bet you will… I’m getting so excited!!!

          1. chef mimi says:

            That was spell check. I meant aussi

  23. Carl Johnson says:

    I made the mistake once of putting the potatoes in water as I was working ahead for Christmas lunch. They never thickened. Now I just make them ahead covered in cream and plastic wrap with no problems. They bake perfectly later. I am looking forward to our visit this summer.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Me as well Carl!

  24. cathynd95 says:

    YUM! Happy birthday to your grand nephew!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Cathy!!

  25. oh my, i would’ve loved to be a part of this – looks like my kind of people, my kind of day, and my kind of food!!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Foodies are all part of one big family 🙂 😉

      1. i like that. 😉 it’s true… have a great day!

  26. Such a lovely post- so full of love for food and people.
    Love the family “syndromes” – they run in my family for centuries as well! 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      They are good syndromes to have and proof that we are all real foodies 😉

  27. What a wonderful, wonderful gathering. The food, the family and friends everything is just perfect.I must try your Dauphinois recipe, it’s one of my favorites. My malady is Imaketoomuchandbuytoomuch of everything.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      We have the same syndrome then 😉

  28. americanmominbordeaux says:

    My mouth just waters looking at these photos!! I love to cook – but boy, is it great when someone else does it!! That meat looks delicious and BBQ – Yum!! I’m sure everyone had a great time and probably all slept well after that meal!! The euphoria of a delectable and heavenly meal!! Thanks for sharing the recipe for the potatoes will definitely have to try making them!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Try it out!! You will love it and the kids too i promise!!

  29. sabine says:

    just another wonderful example of how food can express love & affection among those who share it!

  30. michela64 says:

    magnique! comme toujours mon ami, merci!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      De rien chère Michela 😉 🙂

  31. It all looks fabulous!! Too much cheese? Exactly how much is that anyway? 🙂


    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are right Janet. There is never too much cheese 😉

  32. That all looks so good. I’m off to make the meal but sadly nothing that will match that. Family meals together are some of the best of times, but in these days when people are so scattered, also now some of the rarest.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so right Dorothy. Here in France, most of the families live within 2 hours of each other. It certainly makes those gatherings much easier to organize…

  33. Steve says:

    Your Mom still looks great….for any age! Must be all that fine food and “sensual” eating. And I don’t notice anyone with a weight problem!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I don’t know if I had mentionned it, but she had cancer after you left. She is fine now, but it really took its toll on her…

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