Two sundays without you (part II)


June 5

I had opted for my friend’s neat and tidy, but albeit very small Fiat over my husband’s “hard to get into”, “hard to get out of” Land Rover that has no music, no air-condition and is always filled with dogs, vegetables and numerous kids. On sunny days like this one it’s a fantasy world of dog hair and dust flying through the air, perfectly backlit and almost pretty. Almost. We were comfortably trailing the Land Rover on what promised to be a spectacularly beautiful Sunday, following a week of less spectacular, rainy days. Hudson and Mia had opted to stay at home but the rest of us were in for a long-awaited treat. We were headed for the “Château of Women” an indescribably beautiful wine-making property that has been run by women of the same family for over 500 years. This deserves and explanation.





In 1581 a man with big dreams and an even bigger appetite for gambling laid out the plans for a magnificent château in Médoc. It all started well, the outhouses and servants quarters were fit for kings, the gardens, the gate. Then the money ran out and the cherry on top, the château itself never got built. So the women in the family, like women do, found the best solution, modified the servants quarters into a most beautiful château and have been running the property ever since, one woman succeeding another. I guess they decided that after that original fiasco, no gamblers (read men) should interfere with château business.





So why where we going there in search of a feast on a beautiful Sunday morning? That also deserves an explanation. Some years ago we were invited for lunch at château Lafon-Rochet, a grand cru in the St-Estèphe appellation. It’s the “yellow château” we had been seeing for years as we drove by on our way to Pauillac and it turned out that the young manager, Basile Tesseron, whose family owns the château was married to another young estate manager, Bérangère, whose family owns château Larrivaux, the “château of women”. On that first visit the splendors of Lafon-Rochet were enough for our appetites but on a subsequent visit Basile took us to his wife’s property, only a 5 minutes drive away. Unlike Lafon-Rochet, which is proudly perched on one of the hills of St-Estèphe, plain for all who drive by to see (if only for the yellow color), château Larrivaux is a hidden gem, a bend in the road, a dreamy place hidden from plain sight, guarded by a small forest. When Basile took us there for the first time we could see the excitement in his face, it feel to him to show us the property, Bérangère was hard at work in the winery.





“I fell in love with my wife twice” he said. “First when I met her and the second time was when she took me here”. “I had spent much of my childhood only a few miles away but I never knew of this magical place until I fell in love with its owner”.

He fell in love twice and I guess I fell in love as well, once at least. It the kind of place movie producers only dream of or, more likely, have to dream up and produce for their movies so the rest of us can simply dream. We always hope that these magical places exist for real, that they’re not only in the movies – and when we find them…

Bérangère and I had talked about cooking together with our families at her château forever. But timing was never on our side. We have a big family. They have three boys, very auspicious considering they have one boy roughly the same age as each of our three youngest daughters. All very Jane Austen. And recently we’ve both been pregnant.

But we decided to give it a go, before we’d be too caught up in baby duties, to have a wonderful feast of two families coming together on a Sunday in their beloved Médoc.

And we all do love Médoc. Basile and Bérangère, me and Oddur, we all truly believe in this region, its beauty, its specialness. We all want to do something exciting here, whether it is to make fabulous wine, write cookbooks, or do just about anything to help people discover this place. But first: Lunch!

The menu was up to Bérangère and the other women of Larrivaux, her mother Sabine and her mother’s sister Armelle. I did make one request though. We needed to include Basile’s grandmother’s recipe for pancake cake. Yes you read right – gâteau de crêpes. We’d had it recently at a dinner at Lafon-Rochet in May and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. It’s the most simple, most unusual dessert you can imagine.





There were lots of tidbits, pâtés, tomato salads , more tomato salads but it all got serious when Bérangère’s mother brought out the family’s cheese beignets (fritters). They were delicious. Next was the “veal bread” in other words meatloaf, with two types of tomato sauce – very Italian, but somehow also very Médocain. We started with a lovely Champagne form a very small producer (so many good ones these days), no sugar added, no sugar needed. Then we moved on to the wine. The Larrivaux. It’s quite special and unusual for Médoc, more Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon which usually only happens on the right bank (St-Emilion, Pomerol). Château Larrivaux has a unique clay soil, more suited for growing Merlot and may be the only place in Médoc where that’s the case. It’s a delicious wine and I’ll be drinking it for years to come with fond memories in my heart.

So another perfect Sunday with equally perfect mishaps, on this dry day Louise stepped into a wet hole (the only one on the estate) leaving her ballerinas fit for a pig stie. Oddur, typically, forgot to charge his battery so he sent Thorir and Allegra to get a fresh one. They, equally typically, couldn’t find their way back so we would have had to wait for them until lunch got cold if, most typically of all, lunch hadn’t been so behind schedule that they arrived right on time.





As I mentioned earlier we were both pregnant that day, Bérangère and I. Both due in June. That wonderful day at the château of women, having a lunch together we both knew what we were expecting. We were both expecting boys.

As I am writing this, they are both born, there will be no more lunches without them. I hope they will be friends, Lucian and Till. We’ll have many more feasts together and maybe even weddings. Who knows?

Because Bérangère and Basile only have sons it seems that the line of women is destined to be broken one day. Larrivaux will be run by a man. In a way it seems oddly modern, breaking traditions by finally giving a man a chance. Bérangère told me she hopes that her sons will have the good fortune when they take over the château to at least have strong wifes to guide them. I suppose some things are just too important to be left entirely to men. Maybe one of them will even be my daughter.

Time will tell.

A few days later, Lucian, I was bumping about in your father’s Land Rover on my way to the clinic. Hair and dust orbiting around me, every whack feeling strong enough to push you out. And then you came.

Lucian, this is where your story begins…






Cheese fritters/ Beignets from my grandmother

1/4 liter/ 1 cup of water
40 g/ 3 tablespoons butter
1 pinch of salt
150 g/ 1 & ¼ cup flour
100 g/ 1 cup grated cheese (Emmental county or type)
4 eggs, separated
Vegetable oil, for frying

Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks and set aside.
Bring the water to a boil, add the butter and salt and stir until melted.
Add the flour in one go and stir.
Add the egg yolks one by one, stirring continuously, then fold in the egg whites, followed by the grated cheese.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 170°C/ 330°F.
Using 2 teaspoons, shape little balls (about the size of a walnut) and fry them until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Beignets au fromage de ma grand-mère

1/4 de litre d’eau
40 gr de beurre
1 pincée de sel
150 gr de farine
100 gr de fromage rapé ( type comté ou emmental )
4 oeufs

Fair bouillir l’eau avec le beurre et le sel
Ajouter la farine.
Ajouter un à un les jaunes d’oeufs puis les blancs battus en neige, puis le fromage râpé.

Chauffer l’huile d’une friteuse à 170°C
Faire à l’aide de 2 petites cuillères des tas de pâte à beignet et les plonger dans la friteuse jusqu’à l’obtention d’une belle coloration dorée.

Ces beignets au fromage ont vraiment bercé mon enfance à LARRIVAUX, nous en avions tous les week ends!!!


Veal and basil meatloaf

1.2 kg/ 2 & ¾ pound of minced veal
3 slices of stale bread
1 small can of tomato paste (concentrate)/ 140 g/ 5 ounces
1 egg
1 bunch of fresh basil
60 ml/¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 210°C/ 410°F.

In a food processor, combine the minced veal, tomato paste, bread, salt, pepper and olive oil and mix everything together.
Add the basil and the egg, pulse a few more times.

Spoon the mixture into a rectangular cake pan and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for about 40 minutes. Set aside to cool and unmold into a serving plate.

Tip: You can serve this veal meatloaf with a tomato sauce or freshly diced tomatoes and olive oil. It’s a family favourite for picnics.

Pain de veau au basilic

1,2 kg de veau haché
3 tranches de pain de mie
1 boite de concentré de tomate de taille moyenne/ 140 g
1 oeuf entier
1 bouquet de basilic
huile d’olive

Mélanger et mixer le veau haché, le concentré de tomate, le pain de mie, sel poivre et huile d’olive.
Ajouter le bouquet de basilic et l’oeuf entier.
Mixer à nouveau.

Dans un plat à cake mettre la préparation, puis faire cuire environ 40 minutes à 210°C.

Laisser refroidir.
On peut le servir avec un coulis de tomates ou un concassé de tomates fraiches et huile d’olive.

Quel bonheur de partager ce pain de veau au basilic lors de nos pique-niques!


Pancake cake

1/2 liter/ 2 cups milk
125 g/ 2/3 cup sugar
6 eggs, separated
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of plain flour
1 sachet (7 g/ approx 1 teaspoon) of vanilla sugar
Confectionner’s sugar

In a large bowl, mix together the flour and the egg yolks until you get smooth paste.
Heat the milk in a saucepan and add the butter. Stir until melted. Set aside and leave to cool.
Pour the milk mixture into the egg and flour paste. Whisk until smooth.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold in to the batter – make sure to leave the egg white ‘lumps’ in the batter (they will make the pancakes extra fluffy).

Heat the frying pan (non-stick pancake pan) and melt ½ teaspoon butter. Pour enough batter to cover the pan and cook on a medium heat on one side only. Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle each pancake with a dash of vanilla sugar and a dash of confectionner’s sugar. Repeat this step and continue to stack them one on top of each other. For the last pancake, place it brown side on top.

Gâteau de crêpes

1/2 litre de lait
125 gr de sucre
6 oeufs
125 g beurre doux
4 cuillère à soupe de farine
1 sachet de sucre vanillé
Du sucre en poudre

Mélanger la farine et les jaunes d’oeuf
Faire fondre le beurre dans le lait.
Laisser tiédir le lait et l’incorporer au mélange farine oeuf.
Battre les blancs en neige et les incorporer grossièrement à la pâte.
Il doit rester des grumeaux de blancs en neige dans la pâte.
Enduire la poêle à crêpe d’un mélange beurre/huile et commencer à faire les crêpes en les faisant cuire que d’un seul coté.
Superposer chaque crêpes les unes sur les autres en les saupoudrant entre chacune de mélange sucre vanillé/sucre en poudre.
Retourner la dernière crêpe coté cuit vers le gâteau.

93 thoughts on “Two sundays without you (part II)

  1. Félicitations! I was wondering whether Lucian had arrived.
    The photos are as luscious as always, enough to turn us all green with envy and hungry even after just having had dinner. However, the kids steal the show. Rocking those sunglasses with attitude! And that magnifying glass! Their personalities are exhilaratingly boundless.

    1. Merci! Lucian arrived on the 8th June – safe and sound. Such wonderful memories for these past Sundays, we are so happy to have captured these moments before the births of our sons. 🙂 Mimi x

  2. Oh, such beauty in and around all of you, Mimi! Herzlichen Glückwunsch pour le petit bébé!
    Many greetings from far away Germany – from mother to mother, from blogger to blogger…

  3. Hello, thank you for your beautiful blog and the nice photos. I would like to know which lens your husband is using ? Thank you and have a wonderful time -:) Ursula

  4. Beautiful post Mimi! I can almost imagine being there because of your lovely, descriptive writing style.

  5. C’est nouveau post il me semble comme un hymne à l’amour et à la vie, l’éternel et merveilleuse recommencement. Félicitations Mimi et belle vie à Lucian et Till ! x
    Ps: Je te souhaite une très belle été !

  6. What a great story and how apt that in the 21st century a man should finally get to take over and break the line of succession. Now as you say, imagine if one of your daughters were to marry one of their sons!

  7. Wonderful to see Part ll so soon – and wonderful to read with these gorgeous photos. Your story is so much fun that I decided to read it all out loud for Matt to hear. We laughed throughout. “Two Sundays Without You” is the loveliest greeting to Lucian coming into this world. Your recipes are beautiful as is your prose. xoxo-Linny

    1. Thanks sweet Linny, you are always so lovely! I wish we could post as often as these last two posts; we’ll keep trying! Now I can officially introduce Lucian to my dear readers! Happy summer, Mimix

  8. I really look forward to reading your blog! I imagine I am with you exploring new recipes, places and people. You husband’s photography is so delightful with such a real unspoiled quality 🙂 I hope you and the new babe are well.

  9. Wonderful post! Excellent backstory re the chateau and its women. Fab sounding recipes, the crepe cake will be made today. One question: did you reach the clinic on time, or did Lucien enter this world in the confines of tha strong box on wheels the jeep? Fabulous ‘place of birth’ for his certificate if he did!

    1. Hi Jude, Larrivaux has such an original story and an amazing line of women, 4 generationsof them, taking care of the château. And to answer your question, yes, I made it to the clinic in time! I was extra careful this time. That Land Rover sure contributed to my labour! Mimi x

  10. Bonjour Mimi! I love your stories to little Lucian! I love that he will have these memories of a time before he was born! If Kev and I are blessed to have a child, I’d love to do the same for them! 🙂

    I MUST try making the Beignets au fromage de ma grande-mère and the Gâteau de crêpes!!! They both sound delicious!!! xo, Dana

  11. Awww and Ahhh..Mimi! Such a lovely post, so sweet. You did actually (not for the first time!) bring tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful address to Lucian – oh I do hope he lives a happy and charmed life. So glad that I’m going to get to come and partake of and bask in the warmth, generosity and love that you and your family (and told through your and Oddur’s eyes) are overflowing with. It’s so unutterably restorative!

    And recipes in French too…hoorah. Big kiss to you all

    1. Hello dear Susie! I enjoyed seeing you living la dolce vita recently! Who’s the babe on the beach? 🙂 Thanks for being ever so cheerful regarding our posts! Enjoy the summer! See you soon. Mimi x

      1. Haha Mimi, I have NO idea who she was! She just rocked up and crashed our holiday. But she was rather good fun so I hope I’ll run into her again (on my next trip to Italy perhaps).

        And eeeekkk…I see you’ve announced workshops for next year!? Will have to consult with Dana and Kathleen…haha.

  12. chere Mimi,

    quel beau post! les photos sont juste sublimes… ce chateau est un endroit hors du temps tel qu’on les rêve et les recettes toujours aussi déicieusess.
    ce sera touchant que vos deux fils puissent lire ces lignes un jour …
    Bon été et prends soin de toi,
    Bises Cécile

    1. Bonjour chère Cécile – oui, l’histoire de Larrivaux est comme un petit conte de fée. Tout est un bijou, si charmant. Bel été à toi et ta tribu! Mimix

  13. So many beautiful much beautiful scenery and food..
    How lucky we all are to peek into your life~
    I hope you are always as happy as right now♥

  14. I am so grateful that I found (stumbled across, actually) this marvelous and uplifting blog. Such beauty everywhere – beautiful people; gorgeous children; exquisite food; charming chateaux – “magical places,” indeed.

    You have very definitely sold me on the pleasures of the Medoc!

    And, why not dream of a marriage between one of those handsome blonde boys and one of your brunette beauties? Afterall, dreams can come true.

    Thank you, Mimi and Oddur, for so generously sharing this bit of heaven. Susie is so right – Awww and Ahhh sums it up perfectly.

    1. Dear Mimi! I have a dear friend who is traveling to france, alone. I am a travel consultant so I am helping her plan her trip. I follow your blog and am so I’m love with france and your stories. I forwarded your blog information on to her. She has just gone through a very sad divorce and wanted to experience france and the love. She speaks fluent French. I was wondering if you know of a place she could take cooking lessons in a chateau or someones home, or stay there and learn by being imersed in the local way of life? Thank you for any information you can pass on to me, so I can pass on to get. Merci!

    2. Thank you dear Jerrine. I always love telling a good story, and when I heard about Bérangère and her family, 4 generations of women handling the château… I was so excited to share! Welcome to our whimsical world, enjoy the recipes! Mimi x

    1. Thank you Mary! Now that I made sure Lucian remembers he world before his arrival, I can start living in th epresent via the blog! Can’t wait to share his latest news and pics – he’s past 3 weeks now! Mimi x

      1. Hello Mimi,
        Beautiful post, as always. This is older, but I wanted to make the pancake cake and did not see where the 2/3 cup of sugar is used. Is it put in the batter, or sprinkled with the vanilla sugar? Thank you.

  15. Querida Mimi, gracias por compartir esta bella historia. Siempre me alegras el dia. Unas fotografias tan hermosas ,nos transportan a una vida de ensueño. Besos. Rosa.

  16. Congratulations on the birth of your Lucian, Mimi and Oddur! And thank you for this beautiful story from the days just before he came. Full of happiness for your family, Leslie

  17. Hello Mimi,
    Congratulations! Love your stories and family, thank you for sharing with us.
    I have a chance to visit Paris in up coming September. I would love to visit Bordeaux as well. Is there any special place that you would recommand?and hotels and Restaurants? How far from Bordeaux to Medoc? See if I can visit close by towns and cities. Thanks for your help. Looking forward to visit this beautiful country.


    1. Hi Kally! Bordeaux is a fantastic city! September is a beautiful month. So much to recommend, Bordeaux is a buzzing city! Medoc is 1 hour and 10 minutes away. I love the Yndo hotel, le Grand Hotel is a classic, La grande Maison is really nice. Brasserie Le Noailles is a fave, so is Garopapilles…Enjoy! Mimi x

  18. Dear Mimi, I am very glad that you write your recipes in french now … your blog is sublime, felicitation to the photographer and especially you put light in my area in a wonderfull way … thank you for sharing !!

  19. Dear Mimi,

    Love your words love your photos and love your recipes. You are an inspiration Mimi
    Congratulations on your new baby boy God bless you and your precious family

    Best wishes and much love

  20. Estimada Mimí: Enhorabuena por el nacimiento de su bebé, su nuevo post y la capacidad que tanto usted como su marido tienen para inspirar remansos de belleza y alegría de vivir.
    Un deseo: Disponer de una versión en francés de los post. Sería posible?
    Saludos cordiales.

  21. Hi Mimi, I loved the pancake cake recipe. Could you please add to the ingredients what quantity of butter is necessary?

  22. Dear Mimi,

    I am simply obsessed with your all blog posts/instagrams & recipes !
    I just love reading all about your wonderful family life in countryside Médoc,

    Also I recently received your book “A Kitchen in France” for my birthday and I just love it!
    Thank you for sharing, as always its very inspiring,


  23. Thank you for the recipe of the pancake cake! Be so kind to let me know what quantity of butter to use, it is not listed in the ingredients.
    Cant wait to make it !
    Thank you,

  24. Hi Mimi,
    Your life is like fairy tale. So dreamy and wonderful. It is really magical when you can meet someone that has similar life as yours! I really enjoy reading your post. Keep writing! Hope to meet you and your family in Medoc one day. Take care:)

  25. I love everything about this post, as usual.
    Mostly, I’m SO glad that meatloaf is a part of it! Meatloaf needs to be a part of more meals haha!

  26. How you describe the Medoc
    region with the beautiful old castles make me feel to be there
    (and one a day I will do so). I
    tried already some recipes which
    you introduced in your blog and
    they were delicious and all had succeeded so easy and well. Thank you

    1. Thank you – I hope you’ll come visit our lovely region one day! 🙂 And thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the recipes – always a pleasure to hear! Mimi x

  27. Wonderful adventure to a fabulous chateau!! I adore the recipes.. Cannot wait to try them.. Thanks again for a lovely look into your beautiful life.. Congratulations with your new baby boy.

  28. Finishing this post, I feel like I have just emerged from reading a beautiful, absorbing, whimsical novella. Truly great read for the weekend. Possibly my favourite blog discovery!

    What an amazing place, and a lovely coming together of two families. Very much looking forward to trying your grandmother’s beignet recipe when we next entertain our friends. 🙂

  29. What a beautiful post! And such stupendous photos. Gorgeous families and countryside and chateaux. Makes me miss France. I always miss France!

  30. I cannot begin to tell you what sheer joy your posts bring to me each time I read them! The photography is super, the prose inspiring and magical. Thank you so much for these lovely posts!!!

  31. Bonjour Mimi,

    Your life reminds me what is important in life; family, food, and friendship. The rest will follow.



  32. Dear Mimi,
    I just tried your gâteau aux crêpes but it just didn’t worked out like you described it. What should I do with the sugar you mentioned in the recipe? The batter was way to lumpy and it just didn’t stick together. Do you have any advices?

    I’m thrilled to read the stories about the new baby boy of yours. Do have any advice for future moms. How did you get fit again after the birth?

    Merci beaucoup,


  33. I am LATE to this BLOG POST only because I RED FLAGGED it to come back to when I had time to ENJOY and NOT be interrupted.
    I have tears streaming down my FACE!You have a way of doing that with me!I loved the STORY the PHOTOS the FOOD and the fact that YOU two are FRIENDS and have children who may MARRY each other.YOU ARE LIVING A DREAM…………….I admire YOU so……

  34. I just found out I will be traveling to St-Yzans-de-Medoc in August. Is there any chance you will have classes with cancellations the second week of August? I would love to join in if it is possible.

  35. Hi Mini

    I tried your pancake cake. I was a little confused. When do you add the 125g of sugar ?

    Love your blog :>


  36. What a glorious story (and afternoon!) I bought your cookbook after our honeymoon in France, and I’ve made my way through many of the recipes there, and on your website since!
    I just love your black dress! Would you tell me where you found it?

  37. Bonjour, Your photographs are stunning and I have just discovered your blog. I have just signed up to get your posts by email and and looking forward to reading more. Kind regards

  38. Thank you to give this opportunity to love cooking again. After my wedding, I stop to be in charge of Kitchen cause of my jobs. But, from now, I will buy your book and take deep in it. Hope it could help me.

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