To Papy Choux with love!

On November 11th we celebrate the lives of the 18.5 million brave souls who fought for our freedom in the tranches of WW1.

Beloved tree resurrected…

The only thing I really missed was a HUGE fig tree we had there. I spent most of my childhood playing around that tree. And, once a year, Paulette, my grandmother’s cook, would use its figs to make the most wonderful jam.

Call me the bliss catcher…

You see, at the end of the day, it’s not food or wine or cars that interest me the most. It’s the people who know how to really enjoy these things who really fascinate me. My nephew Geoffrey and my friend Jame are such people.

The last market of Summer…

I visited my aunt Nicole the weekend before last. We went to the market together and got everything we needed for the most amazing omelette with chanterelles and herbs. For our main course, Nicole bought a few pigeons from a 90 year old gentleman. We found out how old he was during our conversation with him (it lasted for EVER). We also bought the sweetest prunes and mirabelles for a pie. Aunt Nicole is a fabulous cook!

Stéphane’s salmon and hash brown club

So, yes, smoked salmon was the main ingredient. I went for a salmon and potato club sandwich and it was every bit as delicious (in it’s own way of course) as any great Peking Duck I had ever had on Stockton Street or in Soho (London) :0)

Late wedding by the lake

My dear dear friends, so much has happened around here over the past month or so. I feel really bad because I wanted to share it all with you as it was happening and never got around to it (obviously). You know me: analysis paralysis… But never mind all that. I am back with a…

From the ruins come the sweetest berries

So from what looks like a dark and desolate place come, in August, some of my favorite berries: wild blackberries. They have a much stronger and sweeter taste than the American ones (at least than the ones I have tasted). I went home to grab a basket and my camera and came back for a late afternoon harvest.

Two days in heaven with my angels…

Let me start by saying this: I HATE the beach. I hate it with a force. I’m allergic to the sun and don’t get me started on sand getting everywhere. Why people would want to eat on the beach, for example, is beyond me. THAT BEING SAID though, I love to sail, I am a seafood eating machine AND, best of all, all my nephews spend most of July every year in Cap Ferret. This is a great opportunity for me to see all of them at once. You know I’m a single guy without kids, so my 19 nieces and nephews are everything to me.

Of eggs, black truffles and my family tree…

Pierre (my cheesemonger) and I were talking about truffles the other day. I was telling him that I wish I had access to fresh truffles year round. Indeed, truffles are harvested in December, January and February. After that, you can only get them in jars. They taste very good, but it is nothing like the fresh stuff. Pierre told me that he keeps a few for himself every year and freezes them.

The light after the storm

It’s the golden light that penetrates my soul. It isn’t warm, it isn’t cold. I face it, eyes closed, feet apart, chin slightly up. It enters my body and makes it way to the core. Mixed with the essence of me it whispers: the battle is over. Everything is as it should be.  The storm has passed. Perfect…

Of friendship and things that are colorful and bright and free

While Uncle Sam represents the American government, Marianne is the symbol of france as our homeland or mother land. It is the symbol of France itself and its motto since the revolution: Liberté, égalité, fraternité which means Freedom, equality, fraternity. The name Marianne was used for a number of reasons:

Marie and Anne were the two most common names for girls in the French countryside of the 18th century. The common peasants were at the origin of the revolutionary movement and the largest cast in France.
A song was published just days after the Bastille was taken. It was very popular and was called The Healing of Marianne
In the play “l’Avare” written by Molière (the French version of Shakespeare) more than a century before the revolution, one of the main characters was called Marianne. She represented freedom of choice against tradition and oppression
So Marianne became the symbol of freedom and of the new France the people had fought for. Until the Euro became our currency, we used “Francs”. Marianne was on every coin. She still is on very stamp we use. Take that Elizabeth Windsor :0) Just kidding, you know how much I love the queen

Thomas Jefferson’s favorite wine… and mine!

Thomas Jefferson was a big fan of Yquem, and although I can’t afford it, it is my favorite wine too! But if, like me, you love dessert wines in general and Sauternes in particular, I suggest you find some Château Guiraud. The property neighbors Yquem and it is a very special wine indeed. And much much cheaper too ;0)

3 simple steps a great host should always follow

I think the secret to being a great host is quite simple. One principe; three easy steps. Maya Angelou got the principle down for us: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That’s really all there is to it….