Monthly Archives: October 2013

La Petit Patisserie.

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.

La Petite Patisserie

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.

Jonathan behind the counter at La Petite Patisserie

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.

A delicious Paris Brest

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.

Catherine in the herb garden at Chateau la Lagune

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.

 

 

Walking the streets of Bordeaux

There’s more to Bordeaux than vineyards – if you read this blog, you may already have an idea of what a vibrant region Bordeaux is and that the ‘New Bordeaux’ is not just in the wine cellars but also in the city itself.

Since the UNESCO heritage site accolade in 2007 and now the stunning new lift bridge, it is really worth spending time to discover the recent changes in the city. But also to take time to discover the long and fascinating history from Roman times though the troubled Middle Ages and the great prosperity of the 18 and 19th century resulting in the beautiful waterfront architecture that characterises the city today.

Interested? Then I have the perfect person to help you.

Patricia McBain

Patricia Macbain is an American who has fallen in love with Bordeaux an urban designer/landscape architect by profession as well as an amateur historian, she started Bordeaux Walking Tours as a way to combine her professional interests with her love for her adopted city Bordeaux.

It’s the perfect way to start a visit to the Bordeaux region and gives you some local feeling for this exciting city and some historical background before you head off to the vineyards.

Patricia and her guide Hela will escort you through the streets of Bordeaux discovering the intimate history of the city and both the well known and lesser-known monuments that are a witness to this city’s history.

Happy walkers

 

Not all her tours are the same, they cover architecture, history, food, and of course wine – your choice. You can join a group or she will tailor make a tour to fit your specific interest and availability.

It’s the perfect way to start a visit to the Bordeaux region and gives you some local feeling for this exciting city and some historical background before you head off to the vineyards.

 

 

Life in the Slow Lane

If you want to capture an idea of what life is like in the depths of South-Western France you should take a look at the art of Perry Taylor.

Perry’s cartoons capture the pleasures of life in the French slow lane with a typically English sense of humour. Originally from Oxford, after 25 years in advertising and design he now enjoys life out of the office environment in the Hautes-Pyrénées, to the South East of Bordeaux. Having always designed and art directed creative work for other people, he has now found time to be creative for himself. He captures the spirit of the place perfectly and yes food and wine is  part of his favourite subject matter.

I meet him last week in Saint Emilion, you can discover his artwork on his web site. His original ink drawings and signed prints make perfect gifts or souvenirs of life here in the slow lane.