Brocante in Bordeaux

Brocante Mimi Bordeaux

What a pleasure it was to visit our friends at the autumn brocante fair in Bordeaux. Eric and Virginie Bernard, art curators, also have a store selling lovely vintage furniture. Place des Quinconces is a beautiful square overlooking the Garonne river, where you can enjoy, twice a year, a charming antique and brocante market. There’s so much to see and discover, depending on your mood and passion. I was mainly looking for anything linked to the kitchen, and fell madly in love with an old 1950’s butcher table and a rustic dining table in a grey blue tone. I also found a set of festive plates (the ones pictured in the recipes below – twelve euros for twelve plates in perfect condition. Now that’s a steal).




We decided to have lunch together at Eric and Virginie’s stand, after all, it looks like an apartment from the 70’s. I enjoyed seeing all the brocanteurs and antique dealers taking a break, eating alone or with their families and friends. It was such an original sight, seeing each merchant in their ‘lost in time’ environment, from 17th century château style to 70’s groove. One thing everyone had in common was the food. The renowned Dieu sisters, all seven of them, are responsible for most of the meals. This family restaurant ‘on wheels’ has been around for sixty years, serving good old traditional French food. I had a delicious duck confit and a glass of red, my husband Oddur had andouillette sausage with Savoyarde potatoes. The kids had roast chicken, French fries and crème brûlée for dessert.

The 'Dieu' family has been catering for more than 60 years on Place des Quinconces.
The ‘Dieu’ family has been catering for more than 60 years on Place des Quinconces.
Virginie with Paloma and Paul
Virginie with Paloma and Paul


Lunch ambiance Brocante

Serving Basque ham for lunch

Virginie introduced us to her neighbour and friend, Bernard Vandevoorde, antiquaire specializing in 17-18th century art and furniture. He is also a fine gourmet, jazz lover and ex-restaurateur for thirty years in the Pyrénées region and Bordeaux. He swept me off my feet with his food stories, especially his technique for roasting lamb in his fireplace. It was only a matter of time until I asked him to share more recipes, especially some of his favourites for the cold days to come. One of them was the garbure des Pyrénées, a rustic vegetable and meat soup. The other dish was the eggs in cocotte à la Bordelaise, a recipe Bernard loves to make when he comes home late hungry for comfort food.

Chatting with Bernard Vandevoorde
Chatting with Bernard Vandevoorde



Let me elaborate more on the ‘garbure‘ des Pyrénées. The beauty of this soup is in its simplicity. Coarsely chopped vegetables, white lingots beans, a large chunk of pork knuckle (perhaps also a pig’s tail) and water is all you need to make this traditional soup filled with so many deep rich flavours. The longer you cook it, the better it is, and you can look forward to an even tastier soup the next day. There are so many versions, with duck or sausages. I remember, as a child, the souvenir of eating a similar soup in a little auberge off the roads in Gascony. How intrigued I was when the men poured wine and soak bread into their soup. It’s called ‘faire Chabrol‘ or how to really enjoy your meal. Why don’t you try it!

Place des Quinconces, Bordeaux




The eggs en cocotte is a delightful dish, again, so easy to make, you’d wonder why you ever thought cooking French food was so complicated. It takes such little time to make this basic Bordelaise sauce, and let me assure you the smell is captivating. Cooking with wine is not only delicious, but the evaporation of the alcohol is purely enjoyable. The special touch I loved was Bernard’s recommendation to serve both meals with mouilletes (grilled bread) rubbed with garlic.

Merci Bernard pour ces délicieuses recettes! Je me suis régalée!


La garbure des Pyrénées
La garbure des Pyrénées

Bernard’s garbure des Pyrénées (serves 6-8)
4 onions (cut in 4)
5 garlic cloves (cut in half)
6 carrots (cut into sticks)
5 leeks (coarsely chopped)
1 medium-sized Savoy cabbage (chopped in 8 parts)
6 small to medium potatoes (whole)
300 g/ 2/3 pounds white beans (haricots blancs lingots – soaked in water overnight)
1 kg/ 2 pounds pork knuckle/jarret de porc (soaked in water overnight)
1 pig’s tail (optional)
4 tbsp duck fat (you can use butter or olive oil as an alternative)

In a very large pot, melt the duck fat (or olive oil/butter), add all the vegetables (except the potatoes and drained beans) and fry for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the meat (knuckle and pig’s tail), cover with water until all the ingredients are covered. Bring to a soft boil, cover and lower heat. Cook for 3-4 hours. After 3 hours, add the potatoes (whole) and beans. Cook for another hour, or until the beans and potatoes are cooked and tender. Serve as a generous soup, filled with vegetables and meat. Serve immediately with grilled bread. To add extra flavor, rub a garlic clove on the bread.


Eggs in cocotte à la Bordelaise

4 eggs
1 garlic clove (minced finely)
3 small shallots (chopped very finely)
250 ml/ 1 cup red Bordeaux wine
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 garlic glove (for rubbing)
Salt & black pepper for seasoning

Preheat oven to 210°C/ 400 F
For the sauce:
In a saucepan, melt the butter, add minced garlic and shallots, fry for 3-4 minutes, until slightly golden and soft. Add the wine, 1/2 tsp sugar and leave to reduce by half on a medium to low heat (this should take approx. 6-8 minutes).
To make:
Rub the inside of the ramekin/ cocotte/ oven-proof pot with the garlic clove and crack the eggs into the recipient. Pour piping hot Bordelaise sauce onto the eggs, season with salt and pepper, and place in oven for 5-7 minutes, until the eggs are poached (you want your eggs slightly runny).

Serve immediately with grilled bread. To add extra flavor, rub the remaining garlic clove on the bread.


32 thoughts on “Brocante in Bordeaux

  1. Here I sit at -16 with snow on the deck and the fields are frosty white and when I open my computer I find the most perfect soup. And then to top it off the Eggs Cocotte???? My heart just skipped a beat! Mimi you are the best! Merci merci merci ma cher!

  2. Here I sit in Northern New Brunswick (Canada) on the first of December, temp is -16, snow on my deck and the fields frosted. I open my computer and find the perfect soup and then in addition Eggs Cocotte???? Well my heart just skipped a beat! Mimi you are the best! merci merci merci ma cher!

    1. Hi Kathy! I hope you will enjoy the eggs! I did 🙂 if you want to follow the blog, you have to scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Follow’. Have a great day Merci, mimi

  3. These markets were amazing! Each stall had such personality! If only I’d had a way to get the pieces I fell in love with home to Australia! Absolutely fell in love with Bordeaux on a whirlwind weekend.
    These recipes are also on my to-do list! xx

  4. la brocante en France est mon reve ,vos assiettes sont trés jolies et moi je suis jalouse,parceque je vis enTurquie et c’et loin de Bordeaux!!!

  5. Oh Mimi, I do hope you’ll share M. Vandevoorde’s technique for fireplace lamb. How intriguing, and what a showstopper for Christmas dinner!!
    About the eggs, do you cook all four in one remekin? And how many is this meant to serve? (4 or 2)?
    By the way, what a find on the plates! (I’m assuming they’re those with the green fleur de lis – no?) You’re eliciting more dinnerware envy from me 🙂
    Bon week-end!

    1. Hello Rebecca! Hope you are having a lovely week-end. I am figuring out how to place a hook in my fireplace and I shall proceed with the lamb roasting 🙂 Regarding the eggs, it’s four eggs in one medium sized pot (served 2 – my husband and I). Or you could use two small ramekins (2 eggs each). For the plates, yes, they are the ones in the post with the green florals. I can’t wait to go back before the 9th to get a few more bargains. Happy week-end! Mimix

  6. Love garbure – thanks for the recipe, Mimi. I have heard about the brocantes, and this looks like a great one – can anyone set up stall, or is it reserved for dealers? Do you think it’s a good place to sell antiques/rustic furniture?

    1. Hi Zelda! You are welcome – we enjoyed the garbure, especially the leftovers:) The market in Quinconces was fantastic. I think you need to apply with the mairie/ townhall of Bordeaux. Most merchants are dealers from all over the South of France. There were so many little treasures. It is a great place to sell furniture, and it is held twice a year. Bon week-end Mimix

  7. Hi Mimi, first of all, I love your blog. I find your writting very inspiring and the recipes and photos are beautiful.

    Now that it is December, I’m really looking forward to seeing what kinds of cookies and goodies you make for the Christmas season. I think keeping up family traditions is really important and most of my tried and true Christmas baking recipes are the ones passed down from my German and Russian grandmothers. With your mixed ancestry, I’d love to hear about what traditions you’ve kept and are passing down to your kids.

    PS – Allstar2009, I live in Yellowknife Canada and it was -32 here this morning! Brrrrr!

  8. “There are so many versions, with duck or sausages.”

    Everything in your recipe except the meat came in my CSA box this week. May I ask how/when you would add the sausage to this? I have sausage, but no knuckles.

    I truly look forward to reading your blog. I love the writing, pictures, and recipes. Thank you so much!

    1. Bonjour Kristen. So nice to receive a CSA box every week! There are versions of garbure where you add sausages and/or confit (pre-cooked, grilled in the oven or pan-fried). They are added towards the end, just for five minutes or so to reheat. Have a lovely Monday, Mimi

  9. Absolutely gorgeous. 🙂 I couldn’t stop smiling all the way through at the wonderful images and descriptions of your dear friends, delicious food, and lovely people you met along your journey. 🙂

  10. Mimi, my mother introduced me to your blog, and I am so appreciative that she did. We are both lovers of Europe, especially France and Italy, and most of all, FOOD. It is the most delicious feeling- literally- to read your posts. Your words and images inspire me everyday, and I thank you deeply.
    I particularly loved this post, and sat a little longer to absorb every beautiful detail.
    Merci beaucoup Madame,

  11. I am convinced you are the most elegant and beautiful woman since AudreyHepburn. you inspire me so much and I plan on trying that wonderful wine egg dish terribly soon, merci Mimi~

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