Natural Born Wine Lover (NBWL), Wine & Soul


29 novembre 2018
Overview from La Boulangerie on the hillside with the place called "The Palat" on left



Even before I started to arrange what I read, the conversations, impressions and thoughts I had, the colorful little stones forming the mosaic of my future narrative, I had already experienced the scale of the responsibility I had assumed. Before the ones thanks to whom this story exists, before the ones who entrusted it to me as well as to everybody who are entitled to know it.

All stories are almost casual! This May I suddenly found myself holding the keys to the story of a 400-year old French family wine estate situated, quite literally, on the road leading to Saint-Émilion. And with the hard task of telling it to the visitors as part of the tour they are offered. It is about Château La Gaffelière, Ier Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Émilion.

Is there anyone who does not know of Saint-Émilion, is there anyone who has not heard about it?!

From the pilgrims who stop to take a breath and some wine along their tough road to Compostela to the most experienced connoisseurs of its wine nectars…

Welcome to Saint-Émilion

   ~Welcome to Saint-Émilion~

What a miniature the signboard designating the beginning of Saint-Émilion is!” I happen to exclaim upon the start of every new tourist season. “It is really microscopic for such a global historical and wine destination!

Probably it has something to do with French legislation,” a Japanese tourist who is heading along the road from the railway station to the small village is not less surprised.

In a single file, dozens of times a day, hundreds of visitors climb the peak in quest of some spiritual substance or intoxicated with the glory of its wines. And most often: all of the above together.

Well,” I reply to him, “it is a bit of French discreteness, pure and simple.” And at this point both of us begin to laugh conspiratorially.

Saint-Émilion with the hermitage of Émilion, the Trinity Chapel and its medieval paintings, the catacombs as well as the underground church and the Cordeliers cloister are yet to reveal its creamy limestone eternity. For the moment the cloak of vines embroidered into small hills and terraces spreads out in front of our eyes; the sound of bells chiming comes from the distance. First, second, third: it takes us back to the mysterious life of the wonder worker Emilion. Fourth, fifth, sixth: even further back, into the heart of a thriving Roman province: the vine, the sciences and the arts striking roots deeper and deeper into the landscape. And here is the Ausonius himself!


In many aspects the domain of Château La Gaffelière is really favored: it is phenomenal that it has remained property of the same family, the de Malet Roquefort, for more than 400 years! It is situated harmoniously on both sides of the main road from Bordeaux to Saint-Émilion. To the right, the сhâteau looks with a Gothic glazing eye the fundamental plot of the vineyard located on the other side of the road and called, not by chance, “La Boulangerie” i.e. “The Bakery”. While we are climbing up and going into it our glance sweeps the entire vineyard across, on the hillside. The energy and versatile expression of that terroir are incarnated into every bottle of wine: a sip of the miraculous combination of its Merlots and Cabernet Francs is yet another instant of happiness for the visitor!


It is an enchanting day in May: the sky above Château La Gaffelière shines in the most azure nuances of blue, the hydrangeas are lethargically spreading their rounded forms in the immediate vicinity of the vines, the Japanese maples aside meditate amidst all of that Universal Zen. At this moment I am in the role of a visitor: listening carefully and taking notes so that I can take up myself the narration in a while.

Maybe it is because of the breeze that comes sporadically from the west: some strange shivers run down my neck and my shoulders, my pulse accelerates. We have arrived at the point when we learn about the presence of an Ancient Gallo-Roman villa of exceptional scale and rich decoration dating back to the 4th century AD, which is situated on the territory of the domain and was discovered personally by its owner Monsieur Léo de Malet Roquefort: La Villa du Palat!


Overview from La Boulangerie on the hillside with the place called "The Palat" on left

    ~ Overview from La Boulangerie on the hillside with the place called « The Palat » on the left ~

I guess your curiosity is now aroused! But let us continue in the spirit of the mosaics: pebble by pebble. Bérangère de Malet, the daughter of Monsieur Léo de Malet, a specialist in Art History and fully dedicated to the project of opening the historic site for visitors, is telling me about its existence during our first meeting and this charges me with a peculiar impulse:

This story should not be forgotten, on the contrary: it must be told! Means and funds must be found to have La Villa du Palat shown to the public!

Several times a day my glance meets the ground with the remains of the villa and yearning for seeing it with my own eyes fills my soul.

Where exactly is it situated? How did Monsieur Léo de Malet discover it? What does it look like and how has it been kept?

All these questions, and hundreds of others, grow inside me, and I get the answers from him in person during our unique visit on the spot in the end of the tourist season, on 27th November 2018.


Five minutes by foot is the distance separating the Reception of Château La Gaffelière and the place where La Villa du Palat is situated: Monsieur Léo de Malet and I cross the road and continue on our way for about a hundred meters in the direction of Saint-Émilion. As we walk we are talking in brief about the Medieval history of the small village of Saint Emilion and the saint after whom it is named but the truth is that what we are both more interested in is the Roman Antiquity, the life and deeds of Ausonius in these lands, and especially the domain that existed as early as in the 2nd century precisely where La Gaffelière is situated.

« We have evidence that it was a huge agricultural estate having area of more than 1000 ha, where any kinds of cereals were grown and special attention was paid to vines. » Actually, it is precisely here, in Saint Emilion, that vine cultivation was introduced by the Romans in the first century AD and although it ultimately settled as a monoculture in the 18th century as early as in the 4th century Ausonius praised the wines made of its fruit. « An important testimony that speaks of vine’s presence here is one of the mosaics found in the villa,” my host says.

The entry to the place called "THE PALAT"

 ~ The entry to the place called « THE PALAT » ~

We pass along the two columns designating the terrain called « du Palat ». Behind our backs, right on the opposite side of the road a small road cuts the boundary between the two vineyards: Château La Gaffelière’s and Château Ausone’s.

Overview on the vineyard, Place called "The Palat", 27/11/18

 ~ Overview on the vineyard, Place called « The Palat », 27/11/18 ~

And here we are now, in front of the meadow! Just thick layers of soil and sand separate us from the remains of La Villa du Palat; covered by a carpet of tender grass: their contours are so clearly outlined!

A part of the remains

~ A part of the remains, 27/11/18 ~

« In 1969, I had decided to clear this meadow and plant some new vines. It was almost 1ha big and this is not at lot small for a place like Saint Emilion. Near the road, there was a row of poplars that we cut down because they would cast a shadow on the new plantations. However, I had to find an appropriate place to preserve their strains. I hired a man to do the job but I warned him to be careful because I had written data that some tesseraes dating back to Roman times had been found there. Half an hour later appeared the first signs of the existence of an Ancient site that we are now walking on.« 

Another part of the remains, 27/11/18

 ~ Another part of the remains, 27/11/18 ~


The first test and rescue excavations were carried out in 1970 and 1971 and revealed a mosaic covering the floor of a huge Gallo-Roman villa.

Central pattern of the carpet

~ Central pattern of the carpet ~

In addition to the motives typical of the region such as vine lianas with clusters of grapes and olive twigs, mosaics were found in the villa’s aula depicting some exceptional figurative elements: a lion, a warthog, a tiger, a rider, a hunter and a dog. Small ponds with terracotta bottoms served as home fresheners. In front of the villa, there was another pond, 70 meters long and 6 meters wide. The complex unfolds an exceptional richness of detail and monumental size. In this case, there is talk, yet unproven, that this is one of the villas of the poet consul Ausonius.

Mosaic: FISH

~ Mosaic: FISH ~

The Plan of the VILLA DU PALAT

~ The Plan of the VILLA DU PALAT ~

I ask Monsieur de Malet if he remembers the exact place where the most beautiful, at least for me, mosaic was found: the vine stylized as the Tree of Life in the center of a laurel wreath. “Of course, it was right here!

I seize the moment in a photo: today the Sun is shining quite brightly and makes his face glow… Almost 50 years later the man who discovered to the world the existence of the invaluable Ancient finds is standing at the very same spot.

M.Léo DE MALET on the place where in 1969 he found the remains of the Villa du Palat

~ M.Léo DE MALET on the place where in 1969 he personally found the remains of the Villa du Palat // 27/11/28 ~

Alexandre & Berangère DE MALET in front of the mosaic

~ Alexandre & Berangère DE MALET, brother & sister, in front of the mosaic ~

« After all steps taken to preserve the site and the refusal of the Ministry of Culture because of its inability to subvent its opening to the public, we had no option but to cover it in order to preserve it against the barbarian assault of the weather. But Bérangère (de Malet) revived the association we established in the 1970s under a new name, « Cépages & Tesselles, la villa gallo-romaine du Palat à Saint Emilion » and fights by all possible means to spread our conviction that La Villa du Palat must be re-discovered because this cultural patrimony belongs to mankind. »


Association "Cépages & Tesselles" created in 2014

~ Association « Cépages & Tesselles » ~

We pass again in front of the 17th-century bourgeoisie house.

« Here is where we found two of the mosaics that we restored after the first archaeological excavations because of their poor condition. Here is where the villa’s thermae used to be and it is precisely the water that damaged some of them. »

The entry stairs of the bourgeois house builed up in the 17th century on the place of the terms of the Villa du PALAT

~ The entry stairs of the bourgeois house builed up in the 17th century on the place of the termae of  the Villa du PALAT ~

One of them adorns La Gaffelière’s Professional Tasting Hall, the other one is kept in the huge space of Monsieur de Malet’s garage.

M.Léo DE MALET in front of the mosaic placed in the Tasting hall, Château La Gaffelière, 27/11/18

~ M.Léo DE MALET in front of the mosaic placed at the Tasting hall, Château La Gaffelière, 27/11/18 ~

The mosaic called "To the Swastikas"

 ~ The MOSAIC called « TO THE SWASTIKAS » ~

Many times I have experienced the strong desire to touch it and when I was alone with it for the first time I put my hand on one of the figures. It emanates some strange energy: carried in time thanks to some human hands that recreated the forms of another world, one pebble at a time. I measure up one of them by the tip of my fingers: it is as big or as small as the berry of the grape.

With the little tesserae, a piece of the mosaic "TO THE SWASTIKAS", 27/11/18

~ The tesserae, so small as the berry of the grape: a piece of the mosaic « TO THE SWASTIKAS », 27/11/18 ~

As we say good-bye I thank Monsieur de Malet for the time he took for this trip. “I am yet to tell about it,” I smile. However, before I head back to Bordeaux I go back to La Villa du Palat. In this moment, another garden shows in front of it: the hillside of the vineyard with its priceless tesseraes of terroir. I go further and get to the brook that used to irrigate the palace’s garden and supply water for the pond.

The stream

 ~ The brook ~

 This is a peculiar state: in the distance, the chimes resound a familiar story:

And every morning the eyes of the locals paint the lines of the landscapes they travel over. During the day they touch the clusters of that Earthly blessing with the tips of their fingers and count one by one the pearls that shape them. When the night falls they start to arrange the stars of the clear sky in mosaics of fantastic forms. The breeze flies from the Ocean, fondling the hands and the hearts of those people: earthly and unearthly. Now it is time for them to sip the Wine: for their bodies and souls to retire to rest.


I would love to thank the family De MALET  ROQUEFORT for all information shared and in particular Monsieur Léo de MALET  ROQUEFORT for the time and the attention devoted to this visit!

For all who wish to support the actions undertaken by the association in order to preserve the site and to subvent its opening to the public, please contact:

Tel: 00 33 (5) 58 42 90 90  //

Tel: 00 33 (5) 57 24 72 15

You can also follow it on social networks:
Natural Born Wine Lover (NBWL)


25 avril 2018
lapmrey 2




Je suis bordelaise, Je suis bordelaise !

The Lamprey :

 Je suis bordelaise and there is no a tooth of doubt about it! I have been living here since forever, the rythm of my heart is impregnated in the limestone walls of Chartrons, and La Gironde is my best friend. How many times I have brushed her hair swimming down her bare back. And how many times I have dived in her blonde plaits, going upstream to the Atlantic, Gironde La Blonde !

Me :

Je suis bordelaise ! It amuses me to say this in front of some of the French-speaking tourists to whom I tell about Bordeaux and the surrounding area, and who often exclaim: “But where is your accent from? It is so melodic! Perhaps you are Italian ?” Hearing this, my face probably lights up in a Southern shine. I tell them that I did live in Italy a while ago, but Je suis bordelaise. “Perhaps you are married to a Bordelais ?” I reply that this would be the most prosaic explanation and that there is one other special test that everyone who insists on calling themselves Bordelais needs to pass. So, here comes the time that I reveal to you one of my secrets.

The Lamprey:

 Je suis bordelaise. My full name is Petromyzontida. I come from an ancient family – my ancestors live in the ocean and the deep rivers since 530 million years ago, can you imagine that ! And it is certain that fearing our extraordinarily sinister maw, none of the other similar kinds didn’t want to mix their genes with ours, and this kept us pure-blooded. Pure-blooded by origin, we are exactly 38 in the family! Indeed, who would voluntarily surrender to the kiss of a water vampire, our most popular reputation, letting him take the most vital part, the blood!

The Nature ! It has rooted in us this impulse for survival that forces us to get our daily dose of blood – our only food. And believe me : when you feed on blood, you’ve got everything! You just need to be discreet when approaching your victim and also skilful in sticking your suction cup to its body. The anesthesia that we inject with teeth permeates fast, couple of seconds and…one, two, three, our victim is weakened in its anaemia.

For the legend-believers, blood is a food for vampires, for the rest – the more earthly ones – food for gods and kings. But believe me : it is not this that makes us aristocrats among the fish. Nor the fact that our extremely delicate flesh melted on the palates of majesties like Henry I, and that only one sacred bite from the body of an ancestor of ours took the king to the Otherworld.

So, you have already figured out that we are fish, but in fact we don’t look quite like the other – our body is devoid of scales, we have no jaws. And if our unique physique – bone-free, with extremely soft vertebrae and a sucking cup, allows us to be so flexible and smooth, and swim into the most treacherous water currents, even this does not help us against the most barbarous amongst all the creatures on earth – the humans! Because while we take just the amount of blood we need to survive, they are catching us out of caprice, to satisfy their « sophisticated » senses. Against them we use the thousands of years of intelligence. Because of their snares, we are merging with the river-shadows on a bright day, and we live our real life in the depth of night.

But this is not our deepest doom! We have a bleeding drama – in the minute we are prepared to experience love and unite with a sucking kiss with our chosen one, our digestive system begins to atrophy, we stop eating actively. Our days are melting together with our accumulated fat reserves.

We barely succeed to enjoy our first and only children! And we have been waiting for them for twelve years – rare are the representatives of the animal world that are going through such a long life path before getting to know love and the happiness of experiencing it!

We smoulder long and die – tragically young vampire-aristocrats of the fish world …

Maybe you already figured out who I am ?!

Je suis bordelaise ! I am the lamprey !



Natural Born Wine Lover (NBWL)

Je Suis Bordelaise

25 avril 2018
lapmrey 2


Je suis bordelaise, Je suis bordelaise !

 La Lamproie :

Je suis bordelaise et pas d’une seule dent de doute ! Je vis ici depuis toujours, le rythme de mon cœur est imprégné sur les murs calcaires des Chartrons, et La Gironde est ma meilleure amie ! Combien de fois j’avais peigné ses cheveux en se lançant sur son dos nu.

Et combien de fois je suis plongée dans ses tresses blondes, nageant vers l’Atlantique, Gironde la Blonde !

Moi :

Je suis bordelaise. Je m’amuse de le prétendre devant certains touristes francophones auxquels je raconte Bordeaux et la région, et qui s’exclament souvent : « Mais d’où vient votre accent ? Il est tellement mélodique ! Peut-être êtes-vous Italienne ?» Je leur dis que j’avais vécu en Italie, aussi, mais que Je suis bordelaise. « Peut-être vous avez épousé un Bordelais ?»  Je leur réponds que cela sera l’explication la plus prosaïque et qu’il existe une autre épreuve à laquelle est soumis chacun aux prétentions d’être ‘Bordelais’. Et voici, l’heure de vous raconter un de mes secrets est arrivée.

La Lamproie :

Je suis bordelaise. Mon nom complet est Petromyzontida. Je suis issue d’une très ancienne famille : mes ancêtres ont habité l’océan et les fleuves il y a 53 million d’années, pouvez-vous l’imaginer ! Et il est certain que par peur devant notre extrêmement sinistre gueule, aucune parmi les autres créatures similaires n’avait pas voulu croiser ses gènes avec les notre et voici comment nous sommes restés au sang pur. Au sang pur par origine, 38 exactement dans la famille ! Et oui : qui volontairement se laissera au bisou d’un vampire d’eau- notre plus répandue réputation, lui donnera la partie la plus vitale de soi- le sang !

La Nature ! C’est elle qui nous a enraciné cet impulse de résistance qui nous force à se procurer quotidiennement la dose de sang- notre seule nourriture. Et croyez-moi, lorsque tu te nourris de sang, tu as tout ! Il est simplement nécessaire d’être discret lors du rapprochement à la victime, mais aussi habile lorsque l’on colle sa ventouse à son corps. L’anesthésie que l’on lui injecte avec une dent pénètre rapidement : quelques secondes et…un, deux, trois- et elle est affaiblie dans son anémie.

Pour ceux qui croient aux légendes, le sang est la nourriture des vampires, pour les autres- les plus terrestres- des Dieux et Rois. Mais croyez-moi, ce n’est pas cela qui nous place parmi les aristocrates des poissons. Et même pas le fait que notre chaire extrêmement délicate s’était fondue sur les palais des Majestés tels que Henri I. Et une seule bouchée sacrée du corps d’un ancêtre l’avait amené Au-delà.

Alors, vous avez déjà compris que nous sommes des poissons mais en réalité nous ne rassemblons pas beaucoup aux autres : notre corps est dépourvu d’écailles, nous n’avons pas des mâchoires. Et si notre physique unique- sans arrêtes, mais avec des vertèbres extrêmement douces et avec une ventouse, nous permet d’être si souple et de plonger dans les plus périlleux courants d’eau, même elle ne pourrait pas nous aider contre les plus barbares parmi toutes créatures terrestres, les êtres « humains ». Car si nous buvons une quantité de sang pour se nourrir, ils nous attrapent uniquement pour satisfaire leurs sens « sophistiqués ». Contre eux utilisons nous notre intelligence développée pendant des siècles. À cause de leurs pièges nous nous fondrons avec les ombres glissant sur le fleuve pendant la journée, et vivons véritablement pendant la nuit profonde.

Mais ce n’est pas notre plus grande malédiction ! Saignant est notre drame : dans le moment dans lequel nous sommes déjà prêts à vivre l’amour et à s’unifier avec un baiser-succion à notre élu-de-cœur, notre système digestif commence à atrophier, nous arrêtons à se nourrir activement. Nos jours commencent à se fondre avec les graisses stockées dans nos corps. À peine nous réussissons à sentir la joie de nos premiers et seuls enfants ! Et nous les avons attendu pendant 12 années entières : rares sont les représentants du monde animal qui traversent un si long chemin afin de connaître l’amour et le bonheur de ce vécu !

Nous nous éteignons lentement et nous mourrons- des jeunes et tragiques vampires-aristocrates du monde des poissons.

Vous avez probablement deviné qui suis-je ?

Je suis bordelaise ! Je suis la lamproie !








Natural Born Wine Lover (NBWL)


31 mars 2018
Open Chateau Piron


It happened back in 2015, after my return from China. I have spent a marvelous dynamic year there and when coming back to Bordeaux I felt as I was a true perpetuum mobile, recharged with energy and motivation. So, that in my daily life I had the impression not to walk but to fly!

Now, when I am talking about this period, I clearly remember how several times per day, flying back and forth to my home, my concentrated stare catched a poster stuck on the wall of the nearby located advertising agency. It was the poster of Open Chateau Piron. Words like «competition», «sport» «wine», «tasting», «professionals» and «amateur»,  key words for a person like me with real interest in wine and tastings, but also with a highly developped competitive spirit, made the event leave real impression on me. One day, driven by my curiosity, I finally took my time and read the content of the poster- I understood what Open Chateau Piron is like. Over the following years and namely during this period around February/March the advertisement of the event had grabed my attention and I felt, how to say, happy and relaxed, that Open Chateau Piron still exists! And I could participate on it one day, too.

In the beginning of February this year when Open Chateau Piron was being advertised again I decided that the time for me to join the competition has come- it was the moment to take the challenge! But there was another one and namely- I needed to find a partner, someone like me- with similar level of knowledge in wine & spirits, and who shares the same motivation and desire to win. So I had appointed a «tasting» friend of mine and on the 27th of February I sent him a message with an invitation to join the competition.

Fate, however, can sometimes be really surprising! On the same evening I received an invitation from M.Xavier BOYREAU, organizer of Open Chateau Piron, to join the event as a member of the jury.



The idea for Open Chateau Piron belongs to Xavier BOYREAU, co-owner of Chateau Piron, and conceptor. He transmits the positive and competitive spirit and directs the great orchestra Open Chateau Piron, together with his brother Lionel BOYREAU & whole family. After our first meeting I knew theoretically what the tournament is like, but it was during the event itself on 24th of March that I could feel and live its essence while attending it personally.

Opening Open Chateau Piron


Open Chateau Piron is a blind wine tasting tournament modeled after the traditional sport competition and lasts for a day. There are two categories – «amateurs» in the morning and «professionals» in the afternoon– a total of 60 2-men teams. It is up to their members to decide which group to join- based on their experience and qualifications.

When asked why the event is competitive, here is the explanation – every team has a set amount of time to give answer to two questions:

  1. From which French AOC the wine comes from- two minutes time to give an answer
  2. Which is the vintage of the wine- thirty seconds to reply.

The voting system is entirely electronic!

The wines that each of the participants tastes are as follow: 2 white, 3 red and 1 sweet wine. 

Can you imagine the deep knowledge of French wines that the competitors must really have- as the number of French AOCs related to wine & spirits is ~ 420!

For those who want to test their skills without joining the main competition there is Open Chateau Piron OFF, where the same wines are served. Some participants shared that to do Open Chateau Piron OFF in previous editions helped them to train themselves.



Apart from the great tasting experience that Open Chateau Piron is, another very beautiful point is that that is the place where man can meet so many amazing people- wine lovers! Everyone his own terroir, history and experience!

Before the Start

The journey starts at 9:15 am when with Alexandre MORIN ( we hit the road. The conversation. Man can rarely experience such fresh morning wine conversations ! It is Saturday, 9 am, coffee time 🙂 Let’s say it : I am travelling with the animator of Open ! First impressions for the future ambiance.


Alexandre Morin, the animator

Arriving and meeting straight Diala YOUNES LAVENU ( and already both of us we are junping into another conversation. It is with a participant, can say the most true one – since the beginning she participates in all editions of Open Chateau Piron. On my question, how does she train herself, she explained she is a member of a «feministic wine club», whatever this should mean! There is already some peps in the air. It is 10 in the morning 🙂

First exchange with Henry CLEMENS (  who told me: « Tu vas voir, c’est génial! Tu vas t’amuser. C’est l’endroit où le vin est désacralisé» 🙂

Morning Jury

It was time for the opening of Open Chateau Piron 2018. And time to meet up some of the participants, too.

In the « amateur » category :

KEDGE Business School team

Part of the INSEEC Business School team

Part of the INSEEC Business School team

A part of the IPC team 1

A part of the IPC team 2

In action

In the category « professionals »

L’ÉCRIN du VIN team

L’ÉCRIN du VIN, partner of the event, with founder Eric MICOULEAU ( and the tandem : Laurianne BRUN- Sommelière (  & Lucie DUSSILOLS- Chef Sommelière Exécutive – Groupe Nicola Lascombes (

The first part is over and here the results:

> 3:Team 13  – IPC BELLISI / TANG


2: Team 13 – IPC BELLISI / TANG

Delicious lunch break carefully prepared by Restaurant LE PHILOSOPHE in La Brède <3  With Alexandre, Diala and Henry: four of us wine & jury accomplices.

Then: spending time in the wine cellar of the property and discussing with Lionel BOYREAU, the wine grower of the family, about terroir, wines and vintages. Capturing the both « engines » of Open Chateau Piron- the brothers Lionel (on left) & Xavier (on right).

The two engines

Always in the wine cellar- meeting Nathaël SUILS from SUILS/SUILS team- the winner of Open Chateau Piron 2017. Talking about wines & sports and namely the best ways to eliminate the extras when you are «un bon vivant» 🙂

Little relaxaxion with the music of L’ensemble JOGLAR before jumping into the second part.

I can only share how I personally lived the tournament.

The mission of the jury is the sweetest one! We have to appove the wines by tasting them bofore the service to competitors. We could also suggest food & wine pairings. Sitting right next to David DELIEUVIN (Président du Jury) from La Maison DARROZE and to Alexandre DE MONTESQUIEU, the most experienced among the members of the jury! Going deep into gastronomy! And on the finale are:

> 1 : Team 19 – MARNIESSE / BORDAS
> 3 : Team PRO 57 – LE MENN / REDON

PRIX DU JURY (food & wine pairing)

And Le Final! The both teams with such different profiles:  MARNIESSE / BORDAShighly experienced enological tandem of wine taster belonging to Le Tire Bouchon Attitude Club (one of the best tasting clubs in France) & the very young and in fact already experienced team CROSET / DELBARRE, representing KEDGE Business School, Bordeaux. They became the winners in two other categories: RED & WHITE Scarf- the best tasting team on red & white wines!

I can only THANK to all of these amazing people who make possible Open Chateau Piron to be! The tournament by itself wheted my appetite of a wine taster and competitor. And the happy news came at the end: from now on the «classic» editions of Open Chateau Piron will be held every two years, so the next edition on which I could participate is in 2020 and I have whole two years to prepare myself and to find a team partner 🙂

The 2019 Open Chateau Piron edition is reserved only for the winners of the previous « vintages».

I can’t hide also that the wine of Château Piron inspired my tasting receptors! And I took my time to develop a Sunday family bruch concept. Here it is:

Sunday family brunch 2

  1. Crab leg meat & home mayonnaise paste:

– the meat of ~ 20 decorticated crab legs

– 2 egg yolks

– 5 Tbsp sunflower oil

– the juice of 1/2 lemon

– salt & pepper

– 1 Tbsp of finely grated lemon zest

Slowly pour the oil into the egg yolks, use a mixer to obtain the mayonnaise body. Add the rest and continue to mix- the crab meat at the          end. Enjoy!

  1. Steamed mackerel & fresh goat cheese:

– the meat of 1 (~300g.) steamed and decorticated mackerel

– 60g. Long Goat Log, natural flavour  from La Ferme du Chatain, pressed into crumbles

– 1 Tbsp finely chopped onion

– finely chopped parsley, chives

– 5-6 drops freshly pressed lemon juice

Mix up everything & enjoy!

P1090548 (2)

  1. Fresh Spring salad:

– 200g. goat  yoghurt from La Ferme du Chatain

– 150g. cucumber cubes

– 150g. smoked salmon cut into 2 cm cubes

– finely chopped dill & basil

Mix up everything & enjoy!

With Château Piron Blanc, 2015

  1. Fish croquettes:

– ~ 300g. meat of steamed hake fish

– ~ 300g. steamed potatoes pressed into crumbles

–  1 Tbsp finely chopped onion

– 1/2 Tbsp of finely grated lemon zest

– salt, pepper

–  sunflower oil

Mix up everything and form the shapes according your own taste (I use a tablespoon). Fry in the previously heated oil. Drip off before              serving.

With Château Piron Blanc, 2015

I really enjoyed tasting both Château Piron Blanc! Juicy, fresh & playful Sauvignon in the traditional cuvée. More roundness & complexity in the second. <3

With Château Piron Blanc, Cuvée traditionnelle, 2015

With Château Piron Blanc, Cuvée traditionnelle,2015

In  this  competition  the  WINNER  is ME 🙂

Sunday family brunch 1


Natural Born Wine Lover (NBWL)


14 février 2018
Saint Trifon



Toc-toc-toc. Et une deuxième fois- toc-toc-toc: la langue d’une sonnette plutôt que le bruit de claquement sur la coque de la nuit…

À peine la tête levée et le corps sorti de son noyau friable, je te vois, Saint Trifon à apparaître devant moi, la main tendue et bénie, et là-dedans, la serpe à tailler: brillante. Et ta voix guérissante illumine le creux céleste, et tes propos résonnent profondément dans mon cœur:

«Coupe les bras de ténèbres troublants

 et les jambes de la souffrance pesante.

Coupe les mains de la carence

  et la langue de la malveillance!

  Abondance, joie et vie parfaite

  pousseront là, où ces coupures sont faites.

  Trois gorgées de la boisson secrète

  de vitalité cachent la recette.

  Coupe la queue de la tristesse

  et de la joie allume les mèches!»

Je copie l’image de ton sourire mystérieux, Saint Trifon, je prends la serpe dans mes mains et décidée, je coupe le cordon qui lie encore la nuit au jour.

Libérée, je te laisse voyager, mon âme! Sur les champs, où dans une bataille infantile se roulent encore le sommeil et le réveil. Cours, importée par le courant de la mémoire! Traverse les montagnes de souvenirs, glisse sur les corps lisses des fleuves- les artères qui t’amèneront vers le cœur d’un paysage.  Vole avec les ailes d’oiseaux qui chantent la fête! Et une fois arrivée là, où le sang de mes ancêtres coule encore et nourrit les racines des vignes  plantées, prend une gorgée d’immortalité et sois heureuse, mon âme, que tu es là, avec tes proches pour une autre fois.



Le soir de ce même vécu j’ajoute les derniers ingrédients dans mon met; les mains rejoignent l’âme dans une sorte de lévitation. Un esprit tourne autour de la «trapèza»*- tout comme une danse rituelle qui accompagne l’ouverture de la bouteille, secrète.

«He he, ton poème porte le sentiment d’un vrai éveil! Quelle exaltation!», s’exclame ma fille. Elle en train de lire les notes de ma vision matinale.

«Mais je te comprends très bien: vu l’image sérieux de ce Saint Trifon et sa serpe pointue!…En tout cas, il n’a rien à voir avec Bacchus et la légèreté de sa gaîté!» _ pas besoin de vin pour se réjouir, heureusement,  à cet âge!_

Saint Trifon est «notre» saint patron du vin et des vignerons! Chaque année, le 14 février (selon le calendrier grégorien), les vignerons bulgares se rendent dans leurs vignobles et annoncent le début des festivités en coupant 3 branches de 3 vignes différentes, en faisant le signe de croix et versant du vin sur les branches et les vignes du vignoble. Le vin coule dans les verres, tout comme les souhaits d’une abondante récolte. Car Saint Trifon est connu aussi comme celui qui apporte l’abondance et fertilité.

Le vin que nous allons goûter ce soir à l’honneur de «notre» Saint Trifon et pour orner la fête des vignerons est un vin bulgare, né d’un terroir sacré.


«Ce vin est né là, où dans une période de l’année la Terre est envahie par l’amour brûlant du Soleil. Et le Vent, jaloux, se précipite à calmer cette passion.»

«Car le Vent, lui même, aime beaucoup la Terre! Prêt à valser avec elle jour et nuit, jusqu’au dernier vertige amoureux!» _elle a tout compris!_

Je remplis un verre de vin et je le laisse vivre, respirer. C’est une sorte d’extase, cette délibération qui rythme inhalation, exhalation, inhalation… Avec le rythme de son cœur.



Je vous invite maintenant à une promenade douce, dans les montagnes Rhodopes, en Bulgarie.

Dans mes souvenirs d’enfance la nature avait couvert la terre d’un tapis de mousse toute verte- un tremplin naturel qui soulageait nos pieds pris sur les longs labyrinthes de marche. Et les forêts- roulées en lumière et fraîcheur; les formes corporelles- arrondies.

Les plus vieilles montagnes en Bulgarie, le pays des Thraces, d’Orphée et d’orphisme.

Première gorgée: nous y sommes, et c’est en été (et l’été est chaud!). Dans un extrait de terroir, vivant entre le Soleil et le Vent, à EOLIS.  Une propriété familiale- petit grain de perle dans l’ensemble du vignoble bulgare! Le fruit de la passion et du savoir de deux personnes impliquées: Kremena Dimova et son époux Laurent Wunderli. Le nom qu’ils ont choisi pour cet assemblage en parle déjà: composé de deux éléments hérités du temps des Thraces – Eole pour le Vent et Solis- pour le Soleil.

Les vignes plantées sur 2,2 ha d’un sol sablo-argileux donnent naissances aux vins racés et complexes, dotés d’un fruit sain et intense.


Les pieds posés dans ce paysage, et je sens comment l’énergie terrestre trouve son chemin   dans mon corps, et ouvre tous mes sens: il fait chaud mais pas lourd- on respire déjà les montagnes. La brise, légère et rafraîchissante, plane au-dessus des vignes et les salue par une caresse des bras; les oiseaux  glorifient l’air pure et la liberté.


C’était un soir en février que nous étions en train d’apprendre les règles d’un nouveau jeu de cartes appelé HanaFuda (traduit littéralement du japonais il signifie: Jeu de Fleurs). Et comme le nom le suggère, les personnages principaux que l’on y trouve sont des fleurs et des plantes- toutes réunies dans un monde de paysages, de poèmes et de légendes.

Selon le livre qui introduit le jeu («HANAFUDA/Le Jeu des fleurs», Véronique Brindeau, Édition «Picquier poche») c’est le prunier qui règne au mois de février.

«À peine vient-il d’arriver de Chine, en ce début du VIIIème siècle, cet arbre de  lettrés et de nobles, et déjà l’anthologie du  Manyôshû («Recueil de dix mille feuilles»), un demi-siècle plus tard, lui consacre cent dix-huit de ses poèmes – contre quarante-deux au cerisier. C’est dire l’attrait pour ce nouveau venu, qui nimbe un souffle de raffinement plus approprié à l’art du jardin que son voisin de printemps, le cerisier, qui croit à l’état naturel au Japon et paraît auprès de lui presque sauvage et commun», lit-on. Et puis:

«La senteur du prunier

s’est mêlée

à la couche de neige

qui donc saurait

laquelle cueillir»

– Ki no Tsurayuki, Kokinshû – (traduction par Véronique Brindeau)

C’est un instant éphémère, cette lecture. Importées par la brise de mon imagination, les pétales de fleures du prunier se volatilisent dans l’espace. La légère transparence du moment. Quelques gouttes d’un parfum subtil pénètrent dans ma peau, une fine sucrosité s’installe au palais.

 «Peut-on goûter finalement ces pruneaux!», le côté «latin» de ma fille. Et on ouvre une boite.

Pruneaux CABOS

J’explique: c’est une recette secrète de la famille CABOS qui depuis 1920 (bientôt 100 ans déjà!) fait des merveilles de ce fruit. Leur vergers de prunes se situent en Tarn-et-Garonne, sur les coteaux déclives dans la commune de Mirabel. Quatre générations de passionnés qui transmettent leur savoir-faire avec nous !



Le Vin

EOLIS  Merlot – Cabernet sauvignon – Cabernet franc 2014

Depuis un bon moment mon âme ‘vini’ sent la vive soif pour ce vin! C’est un blend classique bordelais de 3 cépages et de pouvoir goûter l’expression de «notre» terroir bulgare ici à Bordeaux me rend spécialement heureuse.

Rubis profond cristallin.

Au nez le vin déploie un bouquet complexe aux notes de très mûres cerises noires et  cassis, de poivrons rouges grillés avec leur fumé fine et volatile, de pruneaux suaves.

Au palais on est agréablement surpris par une attaque ample et vive, marquée par la fraîcheur (souvenez-vous d’Eole & Solis!) et qui apporte une vraie élégance au vin! On y retrouve les fruits arrivés à une maturité optimale, sans être «cuits», des notes de ces célèbres poivrons rouges grillés au feu de bois, mais aussi poivrées, torréfiées, de pruneaux macérés, de tabac et de feuilles séchées. …Les tannins fondants, le final- je m’en souviendrai longtemps!

Le Met

DAUBE de bœuf aux pruneaux, poivrons grillés et noix



(pour 4 personnes)

800 g de noix de bœuf

150 g de pruneaux de Pruneaux Cabos

2 poivrons rouges grillés au feu de bois

50 g de noix
1 grand oignon ou 2 plus petits

4 gousses d’ail

25 cl de vin rouge

 2 brins de thym, 2 brins de romarin, 2 brins de sarriette

2 clous de girofle

4 grains de poivre

1 pointe de noix muscade

sel, poivre

Pour la garniture:

200 g de riz rond

4 belles pleurotes

1 noix de beurre

sel, poivre


  1. Couper la viande en morceaux
  2. Peler et découper en rondelles l(es) oignon(s), peler les gousses d’ail.
  3. Faire mariner la viande avec le vin, les herbes, les oignons et les gousses d’ail.
  4. Dans un petit sachet en tissu (à trouver dans les (para)pharmacies enfermer les épices, ajouter-les à la marinade.
  5. Laisser reposer 2 heures.
  6. Égoutter les aliments de la marinade et les faire revenir dans une cocotte au feu moyen. pendant 5 minutes. Verser ensuite la marinade, ajouter 25cl d’eau chaude.
  7. Couvrir et laisser mijoter au feu tout doux pendant ~2h.
  8. Dénoyer les pruneaux, hacher finement les poivrons. 15 minutes avant de servir ajouter-les.
  9. Écraser les noix afin d’obtenir de grosses miettes, ajouter-les.
  10. Assaisonner de sel et poivre.
  11. Faire bouillir 30cl d’eau et une fois arrivée à l’ébullition, verser le riz préalablement rincé 5-6 fois.
  12. Découper les pleurotes en gros juliens, faire revenir dans le beurre.
  13. À l’aide d’une spatule en bois mélanger le riz et les champignons, servir en tant que garniture.

Bon appétit!

Information pratique:


Address:  2W Anton Marchin Str.
BG-6001 Stara Zagora,
Telephone: +359 888 866 484 (bg)
+359 884 077 741 (en)

1098 route du Foyt
82440 Mirabel

Tél : 05 63 31 04 16


Parfums DiVins


11 janvier 2018


”It is so easy to get lost – a scenery with melodic hills, 3m3 fog, grabbing conversation on France Culture and there you are – driving in a completely unknown direction.”  I am thinking about this and it is already happening.

At this time of year, the fogs are permanent.

“In this season fogs look like enormous clouds of sour goat milk. Like ghosts, who flutter their ethereal transparency, but once you come closer, you see how rather thick and quite real they are.”

Do I care wheater it is really so cold outside and everything is frozen frost! It’s just that due to the poor visibility, the car barely moves. The milkiness around me is getting thicker and thicker, and for a moment I catch myself in a daydream in which I dig a hole in the fog with a teaspoon – I dig just enough for a goat’s head to go thrоugh.  I am thinking about it and it is already happening.

A clever snout with kind and lively eyes looks at me through the windshield. And if this is a mirage, it has now tripled – further away a second and a third goat head appears. I am surrounded by a peaceful herd – they ramble in the fog just like me.


It is easy to get lost – you just need some spare time; and to find your way after that – a nose with a good sense of smell. This is exactly what happens to me in this strange November morning: in my long way back to Bordeaux I find myself right in the heart of the softest milkiness.

First is the sign «La Ferme du Chatain», then – the silhouette of a woman, and finally – the contours of the building behind her. This encounter and all the encounters this morning bring a sense of something unexpected. The woman is Laure Fourgeaud, an emblematic figure in the French goat cheese production. She and her husband Laurent are the owners of «La Ferme du Chatain».

“On the 7th of November, according to the Chinese calendar, the winter officially starts. This season is ruled by the female principle Yin. The moon, the night, the darkness, the cold and the ice are also related to this principle, as well as some foods. During the period Yin we need more of the Yang elements to bring warmth to our bodies. And since we speak about cheese, it will be interesting to mention that of all cheeses only the goat cheese belongs to the Yang group, while the cow and the sheep cheese are Yin.

Well, it looks like this road, by its own device, has taken me straight into the soul of the French goat cheese tenderness, to «La Ferme du Chatain».”

I tell this story to my daughter and, meanwhile, I carefully arrange on the table the precious tiny figures of goat cheese. I am sure she already thinks that I am using this story as bait for her to taste my new findings.

“And then?” – an unexpected question. – “There is so much aroma in these forms!”

“Well, there you go – architectonics of taste! Architectonics of taste, darling!”


As a top climber among the mammals, the goat can reach heights where no human can get. This is a particularly important skill when looking for food – known as one of the cleanest animals in the wild, the goat’s climbing skills help this animals reach the fresh new buds of the shrub and tree branches, as well as the freshest new vegetation  – all untouched. The domestic goat never eats food from the ground, nor from dirty human hands. Therefore, the goats require living conditions with an exceptional hygiene, as well as calm and kind attitude – this is essential for the sensitive goat nature.

 In Philosophy, Architectonics is the scientific and natural coordination of all parts that make up a system. It is about the Art of the system, with its prescriptions and structure.

In the Gastronomic Art, Architectonics is the construction of an absolute symbiosis of primary products, their combinations, the methods of their processing, and the creation of a completely coherent new product. It is about the Art to combine tastes, textures, create new ones based on certain rules, and break them down without disturbing the sense of harmony.


In “La Ferme du Chatain” everything is a matter of precise choice – the Anglo-Nubian goat breed is known for its lower productivity, but at the same time with the exceptional quality of its milk which is richer and fatter, in short – the ideal one. Dried alfalfa, corn, broad beans, spelt, barley and oats, grown according to the requirements of organic farming, are the goats’ main food. Bred in a relaxed setting and cared for with love, goats live on “their” farm!


Such a serious occupation as the raising of animals and the production of cheese and dairy products must be necessarily backed up by solid knowledge – after obtaining a professional certificate for the breeding of small ruminants from Lycée Agricole in Coulounieix-Chamiers, Laure Fourgeaud devoted herself to the study of cheese making techniques in the École Nationale d’industrie laitière Aurillac. In the search for better and better flavors, Laure and Laurent have equipped their farm with a lab. This is where under the master’s hands true masterpieces are born!


“One literally gets lost in this Cité des fromages!”

“Let’s make a map!”

We decided to describe the labyrinth.

“Where to start, how to go on and what is the last point in this journey of tastes…?”

As we know from the fairy tales – in every story there are helpers :-). My helper in this case isn’t anyone else, but Laure Fourgeaud herself. During our meeting, she gave me directions on the order of tasting. We just have to follow them, armed with a sharp knife, a nose, and a palate. And here is our map:


1. Round Goat cheese, natural flavour:

Ivory colored thin natural rind of white mould (with some blue touches which indicates the ageing). The pâte is soft ; with a marble-like texture, while the taste is tangy and pleasant, with long and nutty finish.

2. Long Goat Log, natural flavour:

With soft ribbed rind ; the outer ivory layer is creamy rich. The brighter white interior is tender, still creamy and spreadable but we can observe that with aging it became more firm and chalky. The taste is evocative of gentle flavour of goat milk, buttery, slightly tangy and sweet.

3. Long Goat Log, covered with charcoal powder:

The ribbed rind of natural mould is much firmer like that of the Goat Log natural flavour, covered in salted powdered charcoal which is edible ; it appears dry.  The pâte is fine textured, smooth and firm. The cheese is mature, balanced, round, with salt sourness, and walnuts/hazelnuts aromas.

4. Truncated Pyramid, covered with charcoal powder:

It reminds the ‘ Truncated Pyramid of Valençay’, it is shaped in the way it was done by Napoleon (according the legend !) .* With a dry and firm texture and covered with powdered charcoal rind of natural mould. The cheese has a mild, buttery taste, tangy and fresh.

* It is said that the cheese in question was originally shaped like a perfect pyramid. On his return from from the disastrous campaign in Egypt, Napoléon stopped at the castle of Valençay and seeing the cheese that reminded him of the Egyptian pyramids, in rage chopped the top off with his sword.

5. Goat Round, covered with Salish Salt:

Cheese with a firm rind of natural mould covered with Salish salt.

The tradition to smoke the natural Pacific salts comes from the time before Columbus and it was brought namely by a tribe called Salish. They had settled on the teritory of the state of Washington and had practiced it with special cares. The salts are extremely specific because of their nature : they are slowly smoked over Red Alderwood and absorb the full flavours of it.
The salt is not incorporated to the cheese body, it only covers the rind by bringing its specific aromas and flavours. The interior is bright white, slightly creamy ; the texture is firm and smooth. Even though the high salting power of the Salish salt, here it is perfectly balanced and keeps the ‘goaty’ flavours and the tender hints of acidity; it has a unique characteristic, uniting the flavours of butter and cream along with a long remarcable finish.



Wine & Cheese pairing 1: In my opinion, the wine that matches perfectly with these 5 cheese is Château Carbonnieux Blanc, 2015. Extremely expressive on nose & palate, with a beautiful mineral vertical structure, remarcable aftertaste with a refreshing acidity, an absolute harmony is created between these two refined creatures.

6. Goat cheese wrapped in a chestnut leaf:

My GOATCHEESEHEART is melting ! It is good enough to carefully unfold this mervelous creativity and to taste it, slowly !

The cheese is wrapped in a case of chestnut leaf, held in place with raffia. The leaves used by Laure are collected personally by her in the forest of the farm. The casing of leaves protects the washed-rind disc and allows the young, slightly acidic cheese to remain moist. The texture is creamy, smooth and sticky, the colour is tenderly creamy white ; it has strong fruity and woody flavours.

7. Goat Cheese with incorporated Saffron:

With soft ribbed rind and creamy pâte in which the saffron is incorporated ; in the pastel yellowish-orange shades of the saffron colour. Refined and perfectly balanced : the saffron aromas and flavours are melting into the velvety texture in an absolute harmony. The body is soft and slightly sticky, spreadable. The saffron appears on the mid palate and remains present on it in a long aftertaste.

8. Goat Cheese with incorporated Hot Pepper:

Similar visual aspect to the previous cheese (with the incorporated saffron): the texture is refinеd, creamy; the rind is soft, in the pastel shades of rose shrimp colour. The sensation of the pepper comes smoothly on the palate- it is a harmonious velvety blend of cream and spice with an extremely long aftertaste.

9. Smoked Goat Cheese :

Firm and coloured in smoky-creamy shades rind. The texture is very smooth and firm as well. On the palate is dense and rich, the smoke is in a perfect balance with the creaminess, it is persistant and brings us to an enormous aftertaste.



Wine & Cheese pairing 2: I chose the sweet wine of Château Rieussec, 2011 to accompany the last 4 cheeses . The nose is gently woody, with beautiful honeysuckle and accaia flowers notes and delicate aromas of a very swwet and ripen pear. It builds up a wonderful harmony with the saffron, with the spice of the chilli, the Salish salt and the smoke by giving even more character to them! 


I truly believe that professionals like Laure Fourgeaud are real inspirational for the others! The first feeling I have had when I met her was that she is absolutely passionate person. And she transmited this passion to me: I foolishly felt in love with her cheeses! Then one day, tasting again and again the precious goat creatures, the inspiration grabbed me and with one of them, the Long Goat Log, natural flavour, I have created a new recipe for a dessert. Here it is:


THE HEART OF THE ROSE  (for 8 people)

1 Long Goat Log, natural flavour, from La Ferme du Chatain


3 medium- size apples

4 tablespoon brown sugar

150g. sweet butter

3 powdered cloves


250g. Steamed pumpkin

3 eggs

4 tablespoon brown sugar

150g. white cheese from La Ferme du Chatain

8-10g. Agar-agar

Decoration: 20 fresh raspberries

I – Mousse :

 Separate the egg yolks from the whites. In a saucepan beat egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk the egg whites. Use two forks to mash the pumpkin into a purée ( donot be afraid if the texture is not absolutely smooth) and add it to the preparation.  Warm up on a low heat and add spoon after spoon the white cheese.  Remove it from the heat and add the agar-agar. Let stand in the fridge for 5 hours or in the freezer for 2-3 hours. The aim is to obtain an iced mousse.

* Personally, I let it stand in the fridge for the whole night, preparing it the day before.

II – Base :

 Wash and dry the apples and take out the seeds. Cut them in half, use a sharp knife to cut into slices.

In a pan, melt butter over medium heat, add the sugar and the clove powder  until you obtain a a deep golden coloured caramel. Add carefully the apples and start to sprinkle them so that they become slightly soft. Extinguish the fire and continue 5 more minutes. Take out the apple slices with a kitchen tongs, let them drain and in the same time prepare 6 dessert plates/bowls. Place the slices on the walls of the bowls, so that you form a shape of a rose, cover also the bottom of the bowl. Place a piece of the goat cheese in the hollow formed by the slices. Put each  of the plates/bowls in a preheated oven for one, maximum two minutes. Top with 2-3 balls of iced mousse and garnish with the raspberries.

Bon appétit!!!



Wine & Cheese pairing 3: At the end, I chose the Armagnac du Collectionneur of Ryst-Dupeyron to accompagny my dessert. Round, fruity, gourmand: bee wax, crème brûlée and cacao- in a delicious match with my fantastic creature! 


And if you would love to read more about the universe and the work of Laure Fourgeaud, you can find it in her book: « MES CHÈVRES« . Instructive & Enjoyable!!! 


Parfums DiVins


2 novembre 2017


 «As little girls all women were fairies.»

I am saying this in French with the most serious facial expression and my daughter’s friends group bursts of laughter. 12, their age.


However I am continuing: «This is the reason why we called this afternoon «Breakfast for Fairies». You can meet up some similar creatures here.»

The laughter burns my back. I am leaving.

In the creative chaos that spreads all around in a while we find some beautiful aromas on the fairy’s high parfumery. The instruments are everywhere: porcelaine mortar with rose powder, rose water bottle, a bowl with parfume- all residues left.

Apparently, the fairies found my vintage porte-monnaie with dry roses and let their imagination guide them.



The bottle with the new parfume wears a little label with the name HANA. It comes from «hana→ flower» in Japanese. And I guess there is something with the general japon-isation among the young ladies last days.




Back on time- just to assist in cutting of «the Breakfast for Fairies Tart». Pears, Roquefort, wallnuts and rose petals are waiting for us!

I used the moment to share some interesting expressions with ‘pear’ and my favourite one in French: Entre la poire et le fromage ///  Between the pear and the cheese  _absolutely related to my tart_

«At the end of the dinner, with the satisfaction and the comfort from the shared delicious meals, we can take the liberty to speak freely.»

This very old expression comes from the time when at the end of the dinner and just before eating the cheese, people needed to rinse their mouth and for this reason they got used to eat a pear.

«Oh My Cheeeeese! Did you rinse your mouth with a slice of pear before eating it? »

There is no one piece of Roquefort left, happy I am. My favourite Roquefort: Roquefort Le Vieux Berger

«It was very refreshing to taste the story of the pear!»

As little girls all women  were fairies, fairies, fai-ries, fai-r-ieies…



For the crust:

1 1/4 cups flour – 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt – 2 tablespoons of sugar – 7 tablespoons of butter

For the pastry cream:

11/2 cup of hazelnut drink – 3 egg yolks – 3 to 4 tablespoons agave syrup – 1 cup of roasted and finely crushed walnuts – 1 whole pear – 120g Gorgonzola cheese – 1/2 tablespoon rice flour – 1vanilla bean – 12g agar agar

For the Assemblage :

2 pears – 1 cup of roasted walnuts without the thin skin – 100g Roquefort- rose petals


Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter.

Work in the egg yolk until the mixture looks like fine meal, then use a fork to stir in ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough can be gathered together and pressed into ball.

Shape and flatten the dough into a smooth disc shape, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.


In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and agave syrup. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch until smooth; set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the hazelnut drink with vanilla bean almost to boiling. Remove the vanilla bean, then slowly and gradually whisk the hazelnut drink into the egg mixture.

Strain the mixture back into the saucepan and heat to a boil, whisking or stirring constantly while the mixture thickens and reaches a boil. Continue cooking for another half minute while stirring, then remove from the heat.

Peel the pear and cut it first into tiny slices and then into micro-sized pieces. Add all to the cream together with the agar agar powder and continue stirring.

Devide in 2 equal parts. With the help of a fork make from the Gorgonzola cheese a soft cream and add it to one part; continue stirring intensively.

Lay a piece of plastic film on the surface of the pastry cream and allow it to cool completely before using.

Assemble the tart:

Roll out the pastry and fit into a tart pan, trimming the excess dough.

Spread that first part of the pastry cream (that without the gorgonzola cheese) across the bottom of the pastry shell. Then repeat with the second par.

Arrange the pear slices in a pattern over the pastry cream, place the Roquefort pieces and the walnuts. Cover with rose petals.

Bon appétit!


Wine Me Please


25 octobre 2017



«How people can get their kids to eat mushroom soup?», one day she asked me. «Mine don’t even want to put their nose in it!»

«I believe, the easiest way should be to bring them into an enchanting autumn forest full of magical mushrooms, to let them pick up more than they can wear, to let them play, a lot, and when they become very tired and starving, they will be even ready to help with the preparation!»

I am not talking from my personal experience. In my family we have never had problems with «Idontwanttoeatthis». Or almost. But when it comes to mushrooms, I can absolutely understand that feeling: it is something like «How people are able to adore cheeses with an intense flavours and aromas from the beginning? Don’t we need to enter smoothly into this range of fragrances?»

«We will take our time, we need to have the whole day in front of us.»

And so it went. The kids were already in the car, the direction was clear: Créon, Entre-deux-Mers, where a huge oak forest full of porcinis was waiting for us!

It was one of those days when you donot need anything but to breathe and to feel happy of the fact that you are alive! 10 o’clock in morning and the sun was still shyly penetrating into the woods. But it was warm, and rich in smells, and wild! And I think, we went slightly crazy.

«It is such an enchanting forest!», the youngest exclaimed. «I think I saw a mushroom and when I went  to pick it up, there was no such thing as a mushroom but a totally another creation.»

«Oh, you are still playing cache-cache!»_ (« hide and seek »), the boys were truly excited by this going out into the wild.

Finally we’ve got a whole car trunk of porcinis, all kind: babies, their younger sisters & brothers, parents and even grandma & grandpa, small and big, and huge solid staff. On our way back home I tried to remember the story I was used to listen as a little girl, the story that my mom had told me: «The enchanting forest, the three magical mushrooms and the endless creaminess».

«Imagine how naive you should be as a baby to believe in such fairy tales!» _This was my daughter_

«I don’t need to imagine it, not at all! We have a record of it: you and me together on our way to the same forest but something like 8 years ago… I was telling you ‘The enchanting forest story’ and in the end you asked me: ‘Encore! Encore!’»

Already at home, everyone received a Chinese paintbrush with some instructions how to clean up the ceps whithout damaging their bodies. Oh mon Dieu! It’s a kind of ART 🙂



Then it came time to cook it. Here it is:


400g porcini (ceps) thickly sliced

400ml whole milk

1 cup unsalted butter (sweet)

1 leak, white  part only, finely chopped

1 shallot, chopped

2 garlic clove, finely sliced

1/2 cup double cream (heavy)

1/4 cup plain flour (all purpose)

40g Roquefort

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

4 slices of bread (your choice)

truffle oil


1.Heat 2/3 of the butter in a large saucepan, add the leek, shallot, mushrooms, 200 ml milk and half of the cream and cook until the beginning to soften. Stir in the flour and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.

2.Add the rest of the milk and the cream stirring all the time bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

3.Blitz the soup with a hand blender or liquidiser, pass through a fine sieve, then set aside.

4.Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan, fry the bread cubes until golden, then drain on kitchen paper. To serve, heat the soup and froth up with a hand blender, if you like.

5.Ladle the soup into bowls, scatter over the croûtons, drizzle with truffle oil and spread parsley and some crumbs of Roquefort.


And because this story and the soup called «Endless Creaminess» are not only for kids but very much for their parents too, here 2 WINE SUGGESTIONS:

One of my biggest Wine Love from the Graves appellation is the wine from

Château RAHOUL

Château Rahoul,2010/blanc


Wine Me Please


23 octobre 2017


«Oh, dès fois il m’arrive à moi aussi de prendre certaines libertés!» _ comme celle-ci de les partager à haute voix avec les autres… _

   La lumière du jour, bleuâtre et encore déterminée, se dissout leeeeentement au cocher de soleil. On voit de loin le vent de l’Ouest s’amuser: les nuages qu’il pulvérise se transforment en clémentines et physalis; les feuilles de mon érable japonais tremblent excitées: «On y va! On y va! Vite vite! Il vas nous rattraper!» Le ciel se réjouit une dernière fois avant de tomber dans la sombreur de la nuit.

   Derrière ces filtres je sens mon visage cuivré. Il y a une semaine on était en été, et l’été était long.

   Je tombe dans les bras du fauteuil, éternel.

«Et alors, quelles sont ces libertés? À ouvrir un Yquem 1995, par exemple, et de le boire seule tout au long de la semaine?». Il rayonne de joie, comme s’il n’est pas fatigué à la fin de cette semaine éprouvante.

«Guidés par la recherche permanente de la Connaissance, pour nous: les hommes et les femmes du vin cela ne doit pas être considéré comme une liberté mais comme une Expérience professionnelle!»

   Les mots se roulent en forme de petites boules de coton et s’alignent, «la liberté» est la plus ronde, aérée et légère.

«Expérience, wow!» _chaque petite surprise est tonifiante! _«Et pour nous, les hommes hors vins?»

«Pour vous, les hommes et les femmes des finances, hm, peut-être il s’agit d’un investissement à court ou long terme…»

   Mon rire plonge jusqu’au fond du verre qu’il m’offre. Et tout d’un coup: un bouquet de million de clochettes fleurissent dans ce creux de silence.

«Bien bien, et si l’on arrête à penser d’une manière professionnelle, goûter un peu d’un Yquem tous les jours est comme de déguster les saveurs éternelles du temps!»

«Les saveurs éternelles du temps!», répète il et on lance le compteur invisible qui enregistrera chaque instant jusqu’à l’éternité.

Je me rappelle de la théorie de ma fille sur «le temps éternel»: «Le jour est éternel mais la semaine est plus éternelle encore et le week-end: oh! j’ai des difficultés à définir quel jour est le plus éternel: le samedi avec le cours de peinture chez Nicole (_sa professeur de peinture) ou bien le dimanche, le sommet d’une éternité écroulante.

192720 – 26280 – 13140 – 8760. HEURES GOÛTÉES


192720 heures: Château d’Yquem, 1995

«Quelle belle pièce! Une robe brodée aux 250 nuances d’ambre! Et tous ces morceaux extraits du cœur sauternais reflètent la lumière du soleil. Comme des miroirs: safran, miel, fleur de soucis, abricot, caramel, flamme, orange brûlée, armagnac ou cognac.»

«192720 heures depuis sa naissance». L’ambre porte en lui la mémoire du soleil. Et des brouillards, comme celui ici. La sucrosité d’une baie de raisin.

«Regarde!» Le silhouette d’une aile d’abeille s’envole.

«Il n’existent pas deux gorgées absolument identiques!», je le goûte. Le corps est soyeux, sucrosité suave, pas de lourdeur mais une complexité à mâcher! Petite folie de fruits secs, de fruits confits aux épices, au caramel.

et on continue:


26280 heures: Compté 36 mois d’affinage

Tandis que certains fromages garantissent un goût constant, le Compté, surtout le plus affiné, peut nous surprendre d’un coup à un autre. Il se dévoile au palais lentement et nous laisse découvrir une large palette des saveurs et les aspects de son être dégustatif: des noisettes torréfiées et salées, des notes iodées, un côté crémeux. Un corps solide et fin en même temps!

et puis:

13140 heures: fromage basque d’estive de lait cru de brebis, pâte non cuite

Nous y sommes, dans la montagne des Pyrénées, pendant une promenade parmi toutes plantes et herbes qui y poussent.

Aux caractéristiques très différentes par rapport aux « autres brebis basques »: les arômes sont plus intenses et plus typés que les Osseau-Iraty d’hiver ou de printemps. Et cela permet aux connaisseurs de l’apprécier encore plus lors d’une dégustation! La texture est plus ronde, ample, soyeuse, fondante, lisse, beurée.  Fraîcheur et corps en amalgame harmonieuse: aux arômes floraux, végétaux ou de fruits frais, thym, gentiane, anis, réglisse, agrumes, ananas herbes sèches et herbes fraîches, fruits secs: noix et noisettes, brebis, laine, laine mouillée…On voyage dans cet univers riche et multi aromatique!

et finalement:

8760 heures: Stilton

Un fromage bleu merveilleux d’Angleterre, le plus célèbre concurrent du Roquefort français. Il a reçu son nom au 18ème siècle lors qu’il a été vendu dans le petit village de Stilton, dans le Huntingdonshire, néanmoins il a une histoire beaucoup plus longue! Et juste à la différence du Roquefort fabriqué uniquement à partir de lait de brebis, Le Stilton est fait à partir de lait de vache entier. Ensuite il est affiné pendant 4 à 6 mois et c’est un ce moment que le pencilium roqueforti intègre le corps du fromage. Un intérieur jaune pâle avec des veines bleues-vertes est créé. La texture est riche et crémeuse. Au nez et surtout au palais il dévoile des arômes intenses de feuilles séchées, de champignons, de forêt en automne, de sous-bois, de fruits secs. Un délice au goût de la saison! Mmmmmm 🙂


Wine Me Please


2 octobre 2017


« Si la nuit est autorisée à remplacer le jour, c’est uniquement pour que l’on puisse observer le ciel dans sa métamorphose vers le bleu-violet profond de la pensée. »
« Tu veux dire: la couleur bleu-violet de la fleur pensée…?« , répond-il, « car on risque à tomber dans le double sens, surtout lorsque on parle de la nuit, du bleu et de la pensée… »
Je viens de recevoir un petit bouquet de pensées et débout, près de la fenêtre, je profite de la lumière du jour qui décline pour caresser avec des yeux et les bouts de mes doigts leurs robes en velours.
« En ce moment je crois pouvoir goûter tes pensées. Je goûte tes pensées! » _Aucune raison à répondre à cette confirmation, j’en suis certaine_.
« Puis-je goûter les tiennes? »
La tête d’une pensée couleur champagne fond au fond de mon palais. Je ne sais pas si ce n’est pas mon imagination qui crée ce côté pétillant qui éclate!
« Tes pensées ont le goût de la nuit qui vient« , je dis.


     C’est une histoire d’automne, cette saison transitoire entre le chaud et le froid, le sec et l’humide, l’extérieur et l’intérieur. Là, où selon la Tradition Chinoise décline le Yang et commence à croître le Yin.
    Née dans cette recherche d’équilibre naturel, la Pensée se révèle une fleur discrète et énigmatique. On trouve son charisme à la fois dans la forme de sa tête: couronnée de quatre pétales dressés et un plus grand tourné vers le bas. Et à la fois dans l’élégance de sa robe en velours: unicolore, bi- ou tri colore. On la voit habillée dans la douceur de tons pastel de pêche, d’abricot, de papaye et de coquillage rose. Ou bien dans les nuances de bleu: ciel clair ou foncé, des variations de violet et notamment ce fameux bleu-violet claire comme les yeux de ma maman! Mais aussi bordeaux, caramel, couleur cuivre, pourpre et même de noir, de blanc ou de champagne! Tous en velours, avec un sinogramme peint en encre bleu nuit dark.
D’ailleurs, on retrouve cette palette multicolore loin dans le temps. À l’époque de la prude Angleterre victorienne on trouve la fleur de Pensée dans un «tussie-mussie»: un tout petit bouquet de quelques fleurs et d’herbes enveloppées dans un napperon. Là, lorsque toute référence à l’amour ou à la passion était très malvenue, la fleur de Pensée était utilisée pour pouvoir courtiser de manière discrète. Elle servait à exprimer ce qui n’était pas facilement exprimable, comme par exemple: «Je ressens des sentiments pour vous», «Je pense à vous» ou «Vous me manquez»; elle était toujours employée pour parler d’une personne pensant à un autre.
La signification des couleur de la Pensées peut être très simple ou complexe: pensées d’amour – le souvenir – amour oisif – penser – la considération.


« Maintenant je connais tes pensées. Je les trouves très jolies et afin de les immortaliser je les inclurai dans la recette de mon gâteau, pour le sublimer! »

Comme évoqué dans ma «déclaration sur la bonne cuisine», les pensées et les émotions que nous ajoutons à une préparation culinaire sont des véritables ingrédients! Et cela ne doit pas nous étonner. Rappelons-nous le fait que 99,99% de personnes qui mentionnent la cuisine de leur mère parlent d’elle comme une des meilleures dans le monde et encore plus: «la cuisine de maman» est devenue synonyme de «quelque chose d’extrêmement goûteux, inoubliable même», comme on le dit: Yum Yum Yum ou bien Mmmmmm!
On est bien d’accord que pas toutes mamans possèdent le talent d’un Michel Guérard, par exemple. Mais ce qui rend leurs mets si délicieux aux palais des petits et des grands est l’amour senti envers la personne qui les savoura.

Je suis absolument convainque que l’amour est la plus complexe parmi toutes épices du monde, qu’elle sait relever tout d’un coup tous les mets, même les plus simplistes. Qu’elle est l’ingrédient par excellence pour toute recette!


Pour la base:
200g de farine – 4 œufs – 150g de sucre – 1 pincée du sel – 1 C. à t. levure chimique

Pour la crème:
500 ml boisson de noisette – 4 œufs – 7 boudoirs – 150g de sucre de canne – 150g de crème fraîche – 5-6 C à s. de sirop d’érable – 150g de noisette en poudre – 8g d’agar agar

Pour la garniture/décoration:
1 mangue très mûr – 2 C à s. d’ananas découpé en tous petits morceaux – ~20 fleurs de pensée

Pour le glaçage:
le jus d’un ananas – le jus d’un 1/2 citron – 4g d’agar agar

1. Dans un petit bol tamiser la farine et la levure.
2. À l’aide d’un batteur électrique mélanger les œufs, le sucre et le sel jusqu’à obtention d’une crème lisse et onctueuse.
3. Verser à cette préparation le mixe de la farine et le levure en trois fois. À l’aide d’une cuillère remuer délicatement après chaque addition jusqu’à son absorption intégrale.
4. Chauffer le four à 175 degrés. Recouvrez le fond de trois plateaux de 23 centimètres avec de papier cuisson. Dans le cas où vous ne disposez pas de trois plateaux du même diamètre, vous pouvez également utiliser un seul, en divisant le mélange en trois parties, puis en cuisant séparément.
5. Distribuer le mélange dans les plateaux. Faire cuire dans le four préchauffé pendant environ 20 à 25 minutes. Le but est d’obtenir des bases de gâteaux style « éponge ».
6. Faire chauffer dans une casserole /au bain marie à feu très doux la boisson de noisettes.
7. Séparer les jaunes et les blancs d’œufs. Verser les jaunes de la préparation. Remuer délicatement. Ajouter le sirop d’érable et continuer à remuer en permanence.
8. À l’aide d’un batteur électrique battre les blanc d’œufs.
9. Émietter les boudoirs et les ajouter avec la poudre de noisette à la crème en préparation. Continuer à remuer constamment.
10. Retirer la casserole du feu. Laisser refroidir pendant 5 minutes et ajouter à l’aide d’une cuillère d’abord la crème fraîche et ensuite la neige de blancs d’œufs.
11. Verser la poudre d’agar agar. Continuer à remuer délicatement à l’aide d’un fouet. Laisser reposer dans le réfrigérateur.
12. Éplucher la mangue et la découper en tranches fines- de 2mm. À l’aide d’une moule gâteau pâtisserie découpe biscuits, former des cœurs.
13. Placer la première base de gâteau sur le plateau prévu pour l’occasion et cercler à l’aide d’une moule réglable de gâteau en inox.
14. Siroper légèrement avec 1-2 C à s. du jus d’ananas. Placer irrégulièrement les morceaux de la mangue restés après le découpage des cœurs. Ajouter un tout petit peu de « miettes » d’ananas. Couvrir avec une couche de crème de ~3mm. Repeter avec les deux autre bases de gâteaux.
15. Lisser le top du gâteau à l’aide d’une spatule. Avec les cœurs de mangues former des trèfles trois feuilles. Disposer les fleurs de pensées entre les les figures.
16. Faire chauffer le reste de jus d’ananas + le jus de citron auxquels ajouter l’agar agar. Laisser se refroidir et se gélifier un peu.
17. Couvrir le gâteau avec le glaçage, couvrir et laisser dans le réfrigérateur pendant une nuit.

À ce gâteau j’accorderai un Sauternes âgé de 10-15 ans. J’ai eu la chance de pouvoir goûter un Château d’Yquem 1995. J’en parlerai dans la troisième partie de mon billet dédié à la Fête de la Gastronomie. En attendant: Santé!