A few seats left

A first, wonderful early spring workshop is behind us and I must say it’s nice to be back on track, preparing meals, sharing our kitchen, our table, our region. Getting started has prompted me to get organised, to look at the registrations for the upcoming workshops, contact people etc. After doing the math and receiving response from a few people with tentative status, here are the workshops with some (usually very limited) availability this year.

Next week we are headed to Piemonte for a very exciting workshop which is full of lovely people, some returning. So no spaces there.

After that we have the Basque workshop which is pretty full but I had one person postpone so I could add 1-2 people to that workshop. May 16-18

Next is the Summer Wine – some reservations have confirmed they couldn’t come this time so we still have a bit of space there. May 30 – June 1

Then there is the Summer Abundance workshop which was so enormously popular that we added a second, identical workshop the following week. I had turned a lot of people away but then, when the requests kept pouring in we added the second one and some people from the first one even switched dates. So now we have two, quite evenly booked Summer abundance workshops and while I’d be perfectly happy to keep the numbers how they are right now I could still add 1-2 people to each. June 20-22 & June 27-29

There are still some spaces in the Piemonte Photography and wine workshop on September 27 – 29

The Fall Harvest workshop is one of the all time most booked so that one is impossible – we could have filled it up 3 times. I’ve been trying to look at possibilities to add a second one but right now I just can’t find the time for it. October 10-12

The Autumn wine is less booked so close to full but not quite October 24-26

Additionally I’ve been getting many requests for the dates in 2019 so we are looking at that right now and I expect to announce in May or early June.

For all information please email me at [email protected]

Looking forward to hearing from you

Mimi xx

Over to my husband who has a few things to say … about cabbage, onions & co.

Tuesday vegetables and other things

Although Mimi and I both love to eat fresh vegetables we have a distinctively different relationship with them. At the market she’s searching for inspiration, something that catches her eye, something she can bring home and slice up, boil, steam or grill and ultimately make it into something much more delicious than it was in the beginning. It’s a gut feeling – literally. My sole vegetable hunts, which are very frequent are more like casting sessions but practical ones – without a fault the freshest vegetables are also the most eye-catching, what’s in season stands out. I try to look for the really interesting “faces”, not just the shiny rows of monotone soldiers, but the odd fellows, the slightly deformed – the organic boys.

Our vegetable symphony marches on in perfect harmony, the house is always full to the rafters of the freshest produce, from local growers, and in summer, from our garden. The tricky day is Tuesday. Mimi will have cooked all the stuff she bought at the weekend but a lot of mine is still sitting there, getting less pretty by the minute. I often tell people that while I’m most probably a photographer by profession my real job is arranging vegetables. And most of that never gets photographed. I use the word “arrange” loosely as “throw them in” would be more in the spirit of what I do. I don’t believe in over-styling but I do subscribe to elements like chance and luck. Let the carrots fall where they may.

This brings us back to Tuesday. Last Tuesday to be exact. We had some lovely gentlemen coming down from Paris for lunch – they will be our “leather partners” in items such as aprons, dog leashes etc. It’s taken a long time to find the right people – Joseph Bonnie.
We were late as we always are and after walking the dogs I had to choose between a shower or my vegetables. They were sitting there in crates, slowly going in the wrong direction of aesthetic pulchritude. The light would not be better later. Tomorrow these veggies would be over the hill of photographable beauty. Certain flowers and vegetables age well. Roses are like that. Tulips are not, not in my opinion anyway. The stalks fade to a yellowish-green that I find unbearable. Apples dry up, lemons (if they’re not radio-active) turn to a powderish green. Celery fades, carrots limp, asparagus shrivels and cherries ferment in rather a beautiful but not in the “I want to eat them” sort of way.

So a long story cut short I threw it all on a table and shot it, even brougth out a camera rather than a phone. The result is not magnificent but it’s fine. Fine enough for Mimi to say “my love (once again I inserted that), I’m giving some workshop updates on the blog – why don’t we post these and perhaps you can write something about them”. So now, while she’s on the roof, looking lovely in a bikini, I’m down here in the green room typing away – I type fast, a result of going to commercial college – they also taught book-keeping but I must have slept through that. Yes, typing away with a Negroni in front of me. Right now it’s about two-thirds down but I’m not even half-finished which is a terrifying though for any “writer”.

There is Champagne in the freezer though, a nice blanc de noirs (meaning white from black, only red grapes, pinot noir or pinot meunier). Yes, freezer because contrary to some wise guy sommeliers who’d love to serve the Champagne almost luke warm so it can properly “express itself” I fervently believe that Champagne should be served ice-cold. For those who’d like it a few degrees warmer, they can just wait a bit, but no Champagne ever got colder by sitting in a glass. The only exception is, that if you have a truly exceptional Champagne, something old, something from a single vineyard that’s hard to get, something so expensive that it feels like a bullet through the heart when the cork shoots through the air. Then, just maybe then, should you not put it in a freezer. And this is just my theory, not a fact – examples of really good Champagnes if you can find them are the ´99 Winston Churchill from Pol Roger, the single vineyards from Jacquesson, Salon is beautiful (but too expensive), anything from Selosse, Egly Ouriet, especially the blanc de noirs I’m in love with – Drappier Brut Nature might be the best buy on the planet – Ulysse Collin is hard to find but worth the search and out of the very big houses I favor Bollinger over anybody. As did James Bond. Like everybody I love Krug but you can find the same quality for less. And yes, Dom Perignon is actually very good. As is Cristal – I love the 2002.

Sorry – got carried away here. We were talking about vegetables. And my brief was food photography. Maybe we should go back to the beginning. My father bought me a good camera when I was about 14, my family is academic and arts were considered a … past time. Lawyers, doctors etc – that what you do for a living. I started law school, well enough I might add (important for my ego to leave that in). But then I realised it wasn’t for me. Some comparative literature (just lovely – Chekhov particularly), jobs in magazines, advertising and ultimately photography. For me it’s always been about the visuals. But I was always interested in people. In portraits. Then I met Mimi who is, as you know, interested in food. Some people might call it an obsession. A healthy one. One day we were having a fairly good coq-au-vin (which is getting to be a rarity in Parisian restaurants), then a crème caramel. We were supposed to shoot the place and I took an overhead shot which in those days was not nearly as fashionable as it is now in the days of iPhones. It’s not a perfect shot but somehow it’s got all the element that define what I do. It’s classic. There’s a trace of the coq-au-vin pot. It’s simple and stylish. The floor is good, there’s a white napkin. I didn’t realize it then but that will always be the most important food picture I’ll ever take. And my style hasn’t changed much since or, which may be regrettable, improved. But none of that really matters, to me what matters is instinct.

I’ve been reading a fine book about my favorite painter, Breakfast with Lucian. It demonstrates that he’s not introspective (which is comical given his family and famous name) but instinctive. Which is what I am too (and it’s very dangerous comparing yourself to a genius because it implies I’m putting us in the same category but I’m not … not yet anyway ha ha – just because I might say I like Champagne Pol Roger like Winston Churchill doesn’t necessarily imply that I think we’re cut from the same cloth, just that a small amount of our tastes and sensiblities are aligned). To me photography is instinct. Which is why I adore dogs. That, however, is another matter and a much longer story.

I’ve included, for your amusement (hopefully) a few other images that in one way or other depict the relationship between people and food. They are from the same time as the overhead food shot of the crème caramel. Food is nothing if nobody ever eats it – the most horrible concept is food photography where the food goes cold and ends up in the bin, maybe with some glossy, inedible oil that was put there for aesthetic purposes. My wife loves a good food picture, but she believes it could be and should be created in the short space between piping hot out of the oven and still hot enough to eat. As a good, Icelandic, soldier I consider it my duty to perfom.

Negroni is gone, even with my best efforts of restraint it just couldn’t hang in there any longer, while I have much to say on this subject, and would love to – my priority is that bottle in the freezer.

Enjoy your weekend, ours will be hot, full of food & wine and most importantly, family and friends.


    1. Oh…obvs the photos are superb but we have come to expect that from you. Nice to get a flavour of some of your other work though.

  1. Ah yes, champagne in the freezer . I tend to be impatient so I wrap a thin wet towel around the bottle which hastens the chill time . Lily Bollinger said it best “I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. “

  2. Oddur, I love this post. Please carry on and tell your story of why you adore dogs! Cheers to Mimi!

    1. Hey Donna, That might bore you to death, and in any case it will probably be a book one day – about dogs and wine – say hi to your Cavaliers from us, and Sam of course, O

  3. Loved all of that post, the writing, the photography, the sentiment behind it all. i have followed mimi since the very beginning. Here in Montana we have jack russels and border collies. Last week we still have snow drifts,now sun. I plan to plant my greenhouse this weekend and seed my tomato starts!

    1. Thanks for your loyal reading – good luck with the tomatoes, we have about 20 plants already but will end up close to 60 – last year we started to early and had a bit of frost one night in May, so being cautious this year 🙂 O

  4. Mimi and Oddur, fabulous combined effort. Thanks for the champagne shopping hints! “Champagne is used for lots of things in this home, and one of them is comfort”! Classic all rounder, as is sauturne. Happy days, may your Autumn shine.

  5. I must ask this question: do you guys always manage to eat all this food, all these vegetables? How much gets thrown away?

    1. Ah, that question. Answer is yes, strangely enough. So many people in this house and we all love vegetables. Mimi makes a lot of stock so whatever is starting to fade gets usually thrown in there. I also cook a pot au feu style stew with whatever I can find for the dogs, so that helps – carrots, old apples etc. Mimi’s very good at finding inventive ways of making something delicious last minute – sometimes it’s a rescue operation. I’m not saying we haven’t had the odd rotten strawberry end up in the bin but overall we are committed to not wasting. Thanks for reading, O

  6. Siete davvero in gamba avete estro gran gusto e grande capacità dicomunicre con la gente .vi ammiro molto mi piacerebbe davvero conoscervi di persona. Chissa magari un giorno .in uno dei vostri soggiorni a Torino. Vi mando un abbraccio continuate cosi !!. Barbara

  7. I’m going to go with “Si” or “Grazie” or “Carbonara” other than that I promise to learn Italian this year, as will the whole family.
    Actually I just google translated your comment and now I’m just flattered – we do love Torino, thanks for reading, O

  8. I love seeing all of your workshop offerings and I am just longing to join you for photography in Piemonte! Wonderful to read Oddur’s words while I sipped coffee this morning. As a huge fan of photography, Lucien Freud, champagne, dogs – and of course both of you, I hung on every word! Enjoy the glorious weather!

  9. Ok, MImi, I have to say I adore you and your writing, but Oddur’s is soooooo so good, because he simplye writes as others speak. Goes off and gets lost midsentence, starts with one thing and then is already exposing another idea, it’s like sitting down listening to someone speak, it’s very raw and unedited – or seeminlgy so, I as a novelist try to bring this exact same kind of writing to the dialogues in my novels and those are edited beyond redemption. It’s a very refreshing kind of read, this type of writing, hardly anyone does this, it’s very humane. Please, do get yourdselves to write more on this blog, the both of you, you complement yourselves so well, while you’re more Christie, he’s Hemingway and it makes such a good pairing. Like white wine and asparagus, or freezers and some bubbly!!

  10. Quelle splendeur tous ces verts parsemés de petites touches de jaunes et grenat ! A splash of vitamines ! Je pense souvent à vous en regardant des “still life” du 17è. Je vous en envoie sur le mail de Mimi. Quel régal de vous lire et vous suivre tous les deux. J’apprends beaucoup. Sunny Side

  11. Oddur, I love your photos. The dark, dark shadows despite the impression that the sun is glowing outside the window. The vegetables are worthy of Flemish Old Master. But that chef in the kitchen! The steam rising, the rich colors–red, green, orange–in what’s otherwise mostly a black and white shot. Gorgeous.
    How do you get those dark shadows without muddying the rest of the photo?

  12. Oh very fun post… enjoyed reading Occur’s honest thoughts about food/veggies/champagne and life. Maybe he write more often in a blog Together with Mimi!!

  13. YOU KNOW I WOULD LOVE TO COME TO ALL OF THEM……the problem now is MISTER BANKSY!The Pet Piggy!He cannot be left alone for hours during the day as he is like a CHILD!Guess you know what that means!The MARITO could become a writer if the photography sizzles……..which IT NEVER WILL!
    I have written some ITALIAN MEMORIES on my blog you might enjoy!But than again I donot know how you do all that YOU DO!CIAO to ITALY for me……..beve un cappuccino please and MANGIA!XO

  14. As usual , I arrive just as your workshops finish. We will have our 11 year old granddaughter this summer. Maybe next year. Oddur, your photo get better and better.

  15. I miss your posts Mimi and ur workshops sound amazing -maybe one day I can work my way there.

    Please spread your food aesthetic to the entire world – this is the essence of life – to eat healthy, fresh from the non-pesticide earth food – a bounty of vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, olives, good oils, good breads, etc, that our Lord God has given – currently most of the masses are being poisoned by what they are putting out but we need to be taught once again what is essential in life and what is real food. Thank you for your wonderful vocation, work & the words & pictures you put out into the world – thanks to Oddur as well.

  16. You two are a fantastic pair! Cheers to instinct and may it lead us to love, beauty, champagne, food and dogs — especially Terriers!

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