The village of La Brede is most famous for Montesquieu the illustrious 17th century political philosopher who was born in the beautiful 14th century Chateau that bears the name of the village. 20 kms south of Bordeaux La Brede is at the heart of the Graves, the Bordeaux appellation as famous for its white wines as its reds. Château de la Brede has even started producing wine again under the auspices of Dominique Haverlan from, Vieux Château Gaubert, (see previous post)
Should you find yourselves on the route between Bordeaux and Sauternes there is now another reason to stop over in the village.La Petit Patisserie is a delightful village shop with an interesting and international story. Catherine and Jonathan Negre took over this small village patisserie just over a year ago and have transformed it into a pilgrimage site for those of us with a sweet tooth.
They have travelled a long and winding road to get here. Jonathan’s family is originally from the South West of France but he honed his skills far afield before returning home. He started cooking at the age of 13 and at the age of only 28 he has already passed through the kitchens of Michel Guerard à Eugenie des Bains, worked in Paris first at the Plaza Athénée, then Ducasse, l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Arnaud Larher and then in London again with Robuchon. It was here, as Chef Patissier, that he met his wife Catherine who followed a long route from Canada to London via France. Catherine is from Vancouver where she started her career at French bistro La Regalade cultivating her passion for fine food. From here she went to the gastronomic temple La Pyramide in Vienne in the Rhone Valley and on to London where she met Jonathan in the kitchens of Rebuchon.
After 5 years in London they decided to return to Jonathan’s homeland and to take over the patisserie. Little by little, Jonathan has seduced the locals with his wonderful creations. With 3 apprentices and 2 interns, he uses local, seasonal produce for his creations. He hopes to share with this young team the same passion that he learnt from his mentors in France and London. Word of mouth is spreading the fame of his excellent products, including homemade jams and chocolates, which he is perfecting in time for Christmas under the brand CJ.
Meanwhile, Catherine’s skills are being put to excellent use at Chateau la Lagune, classified growth of the Haut Medoc, where she has taken over the beautiful kitchens much to the joy of visiting wine enthusiasts. She presides over the lunches and diners for guests of the chateau and creates wonderful dishes with the best of local produce, including fruits and herbs from the Château’s trees and garden, all interpreted with an international twist.
It is so exciting to see this young couple bringing their passion and expertise to the region. Open Tuesday to Saturday, from 8 am until 8pm and Sunday morning, from 7 until 1pm – I recommend you find time to call in at La Petite Patisserie on your next visit.