Rendez-vous across the river


Médoc, a peninsula northwest of Bordeaux is generally known as the left bank (in wine world terms). The left bank produces some of the best wines in the world, has beautiful unspoilt nature and magical châteaux. It is also, as you might know, where we live. The left bank, however, is only half the story. On the other side of the Gironde estuary is a whole other magic kingdom the crown jewel of which is St. Emilion. The two sides have a friendly rivalry and endless speculation on who produces the best wines. They have Petrus of Pomerol and Cheval Blanc from St. Emilion, we have Lafite, Latour and château Margaux. We have the beaches and the forests, they have the postcard pretty hills of the Dordogne valley. Since we moved here three years ago we have been so busy discovering the wonders of Médoc that we’ve frankly neglected “the other camp”. Lately I’ve been looking for a good excuse to renew my acquaintance with the right bank and last week I found not one but two excellent reasons to finally go.





The first reason was that our good friends, Ari and Auður were staying with us and dying to discover St. Emilion. The second reason was even better. Recently I was contacted by Stéphane Gabart, a fellow gourmand, food blogger of My French Heaven, bon vivant and a native of the right bank. We decided it would be fun to meet and he said he’d love to have us over for a little feast, that it would be fun to cook together. Last Friday we set off with four kids, my mother-in-law, one dog, Auður and Ari. We expected the day to be good, we were certainly not disappointed.




We started at the very pretty farmer’s market in Libourne where Stéphane introduced us to all the “players”, his favorite handsome cheesemonger (not the one in the photo although he was very good too) where we got amazing truffle flavored butter, the poultry man where we got a chunk of foie gras and his favorite pâtisserie where we got a selection of little delights. Our last stop was at “the best boulangerie”, Sylvain Marie. on the right bank where we got lots of baguettes fresh from the oven.


The next few hours were spent cooking, laughing, drinking and eating at Stéphane’s home in Libourne, so full of memories and mementos from his family. I particularly enjoyed Stéphane’s story of his aunt who makes the best foie gras. She has a secret recipe and doesn’t share it with anyone, ever!  She is very fond of her nephew so to everyone’s surprise she gave him the coveted formula. Before she gave it though, she swore him to secrecy. He must not share it with anyone, not even the family. I bet it’s delicious (and will try to get the recipe, somehow…). Stéphane had decided to make something with duck and foie gras because he had read they were my favorite food and we had the best time making duck raviolis together. For starter, he had prepared a lovely salmon tartare, his signature dish that never fails to please. It was all so tasty and melted in the mouth, we felt spoilt and happy. The meal ended on a high note with Stéphane opening the bright green pastry box from pâtisserie Lopez so everyone could choose their favorite pastry. It was baba au rhum for me.



After lunch (which lasted for hours), we headed to St. Emilion. We drove through Pomerol, stopped at Stéphane’s parent’s château where he runs a charming B&B, had a stroll in the hills above where we spotted picturesque windmills. Finally we found ourselves in St. Emilion, just in time to get a bottle or two for dinner and take in all the beauty. Our last stop was to get the legendary macaroons from Nadia Fermigier, typical of the village and a reminder of a time gone by. Stéphane told me that he used to get them as a boy and when he had finished eating them he licked the paper they came on. It was easy picturing him as a little garçon with his macaroons, it reminds me of myself as a little girl in Hong Kong having dumplings with my parents and savoring every bite. Once a gourmand always a gourmand.



They say that food brings people together and last Friday it certainly did. We have, of course, invited Stéphane to come and stay with us, get to know the dogs (he’s dying to have one), cook a few feasts. We can’t wait to have him over.

Merci Stéphane for sharing these wonderful recipes!


Stéphane’s salmon tartare

Ingredients (serves 8 to 10 as an apéritif dip – 6 as an appetizer):

1 red onion, sliced finely
3 big tablespoons of heavy cream
6 medium slices of smoked salmon (preferably Scottish)
2 or 3 salmon steaks raw (sushi grade!)
1 fist full of chopped chives
1 teaspoon tabasco
2 big table spoons of trout eggs (NOT SALMON. THEY BREAK TOO EASY, don’t pop as much in your mouth and they are too fatty)
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop both types of salmon in quarter-inch cubes or even a little smaller (DO NOT mix in a blender!!!)
Chop-up every other ingredients
Mix everything up with the cream (reserve eggs)
Add trout eggs at the end and mix carefully one more time


Duck confit & foie gras raviolis


30 wonton sheets (3 ravioli per person)
2 legs of duck confit
Half a pound of fresh (raw) foie gras
A pound of morels or any other tasty mushroom
Persillade (1 clove of garlic with a fist full of chopped fresh parsley)
3-4 tablespoons of heavy liquid cream
Half a small glass of Port or Muscat
Salt and pepper
2 shallots, sliced finely
Chives, chopped finely

Steps (prep the sauce first, then the ravioli):

1) Prep your sauce first by lightly browning the chopped shallots and whole morels in canola oil
2) Add a small glass worth of veal stock
3) Add persillade (1 clove of garlic with a fist full of chopped fresh parsley)
4) Add the Port
5) Add the cream with some salt and pepper and stir. You may need to add cream and/or water to the sauce when you reheat it before serving so it has the taste and thickness you like…
6) For the ravioli, warm your confit up, debone it, take skin and fat away and chop the meat
7) Lightly brown the meat in a pan over high heat
8) Take the pan off the stove. Wait 5 minutes and add foie gras cut in half inch cubes. Mix everything up
9) Put a tablespoon worth of the mixture in the center of a wonton sheet, dip your finger in water and humidify the borders. Add top sheet. Make sure there is no air trapped inside and that the borders are sealed properly.
10) Bring water to a boil and dip the raviolis in it for 10 to 20 seconds by batches (3-4 at a time). Make sure the water doesn’t boil too hard.
11) Take the ravioli out one by one with a spatula and dispose them on a plate right before serving
Reheat, taste and adjust your sauce
12) Add the sauce on top of your ravioli and serve as soon as each plate is ready.


86 thoughts on “Rendez-vous across the river

  1. Ah Mimi we’ve recently discovered the wonders of using wonton and gowgee wrappers for ravioli. Ever since, we’ve been overdosing on dumplings and I think our Festival of the Dumpling must alas, soon come to an end. I posted our favourite recipe and the local supermarket has run out haha. Good luck getting the foie gras recipe! Don’t hold your breath by the sounds of it 🙂

      1. Remember my lovely old friend who I mentioned had the pseudo acacias? Well she makes a legendary pate too. I’ve just teed her up this morning to have a little cooking session together soon. Thanks for the inspiration Mimi. She was very excited at the thought x We have to keep these treasured recipes alive! Two years on from losing my mum I still make some of her dishes to feel a little closer to her.

        1. Hi Margaret! That’s the spirit – reaching out and cooking with friends – how fun! So sorry to hear about your mum, I can understand how making her dishes makes you feel closer to her, that’s how I feel about cooking my grandmother’s dishes. It’s all about the memories, comfort, warmth, love. That’s why I love food so much. Enjoythe pâté – I am also making a terrine today! Sharing it very soon, it’s for my next post! Bisous, Mimix

  2. Such beautiful food and lovely, lovely friends. 🙂 You can see in their faces that they’re just the sort of folks you want to visit with for ages. 🙂

  3. Beautiful story, I love the pictures and food – as always. I will have to try the recipe for the duck ravioli, it seems to be delicious. I make mine duck ravioli with leek, tawny port and balsamic vinegar, but yours seems to just as delicious.
    Best, 🙂

    1. Bonjour Anita! It was so enchanting to cross the river and meet Stéphane – our worlds connect through good food, and what a lovely time we had! He is so charming. I really enjoy meeting fellow bloggers – wish I was not so far away so I could meet you! Bisous, Mimix

  4. oh le sigh….duck confit ravioli really? …my heart just skipped a beat. Merci ma cher….totally worth the time it will take to recreate this. xx

  5. What a splendid story! I hope to visit there one day …. it sounds so beautiful. Of course, everything sounds beautiful when you say it in French. xo

  6. I see you have a bottle of the Rose from the vineyard of Brad Pitt and Anjolie Jolie. What did you think about it.. I work at a wine store here in Santa Fe,NM and we got it in and … Mixed reviews … LOVE your blog and the photographs are amazing and the recipes are so easy to follow… LOVE it !!! ♥

    1. Bonjour Katherine,
      At the boulangerie they had this great fridge that looked like a butcher’s cooler. I was happy to find a bottle of Miraval inside when I was looking for water. We had to get a bottle to try and we enjoyed the wine as an aperitif. I think it’s a nice Rosé, perhaps not amazing and you can get similar quality Rosé’s at a better value. Love the bottle though and you can’t deny it’s glamorous. So happy you like the blog and recipes, Mimix

      1. Mimix,

        I must agree with you it is SO SO Rose… Yes, I think it is riding on its GLAMOUR factor. At the store where I work we have had so pretty amazing Rose this summer so far my favorite have been a few Austrian rose using the Zweigelt grape.. AMAZING particularly H&M Hofer.

        Will be making the Salmon Tartare for my 59.5 birthday later this month. My birthday is in Dec. and to busy to have a big celebration so have a 1/2 birthday in the summer. Why NOT.. right?
        Thank you for your lovely blog. 🙂

        Katherine “Kat”

        1. I LOVE that you will celebrate half your birthday – c’est magnifique! So happy birthday then, and enjoy the salmon tartare – it was so delicious! Bisous, mimix

  7. Thank you so much for introducing me to yet another fabulous blog! I can’t wait to explore Stéphane Gabart’s site! What a lovely trip. And that photo of your daughters is utterly enchanting and ephemeral. Like two princesses in the castle garden! A reminder of a time gone by, indeed! ~Rebecca

    1. Bonjour Rebecca! Stéphane is so charming and certainly knows how to cook good food! We had a great time and can’t wait to have him over here. Wishing a lovely summer holiday with your family! Mimix

  8. What a beautiful time you had. And the food looks absolutely delicious. What i wouldn’t give to have a day like yours.

  9. Hi Mimi, is it time for morels in France? It was just time early last month here in BC. You know my father passed away now five years ago, but I still go to his cabin to collect the morels every spring What do you do with them? Dry them or freeze them? Or just eat them all…lol, that’s what I tend to do, although I like having some dried. (But that rarely happens because they’re so good, aren’t they?) Hope you have a lovely week. 🙂

  10. Keeping this duck recipe for the future. I hope to raise ducks one day; there is something so satisfying about them! They are beautiful and entertaining while alive, and delicious as part of a meal. Love your writing, and the photos.
    Merci for sharing!

    1. Hi Melissa! Thanks for your kind words. At the market in Libourne, the man selling poultry also had all sorts of ducks, turkeys, partridge… it was so interesting (and original) to see all the birds at the market! Bonne journée, Mimix

    1. Bonjour! Stéphane was so charming – we truly enjoyed his company and cooking! It was a pleasure meeting him through our blogs – c’était merveilleux! Have a lovely day, Mimix

  11. I love dumplings stuffed with duck (and duck in general) and I love ravioli, but I don’t know why I’ve never thought of making duck ravioli before. Such a good idea! Thanks for sharing. I’m tempted to add some prunes to the ravioli as well when I give this recipe a spin.

  12. I would just love to disappear into your photographs and eat all of the lovely and gorgeous food that you prepare. You make my love for France even stronger!

  13. Reading your posts is always a treat. I’m a French woman living in Canada and with her heart in both. Your photos make me smile and long for my next voyage back.

  14. Oh my, what an absolute stunning blog you have!!!! I just found you through Ivy of “Grace & Ivy”.
    I will be adding you to my favorites list!
    Wishing you a lovely day.

  15. How lovely that you met Stephane–both of your blogs make me dream and tempt me to leave Provence for your corner of France…not only for its lush landscapes but it seems to be kinder and foodier region too. 🙂

  16. Wonderful recipe and wonderful pictures – say “Hello” to your husband, he’s a great photographer with a great sense for light and composition. I adore the picture of you in front of the mirror and I’m looking forward to your next post!

  17. I love the playful combinations in your imagery; form/colour/theme/mood…which represent the rich tapestry and tempo of your lives, culinary and otherwise. Reminds me a lot of what I do in

    Mimi, your ravioli is firmly on the menu here at casa Curator.

  18. My mouth is seriously watering… and what a beautiful way to connect with a kindred spirit…
    As for your children… they are heavenly and the photographs, as always… incredibly beautiful… Thank you for your gentle writings and the heartfelt visuals… not to mention the recipes… xv

  19. I came across your beautiful blog on Saveur’s “best food blogs of 2013” post. What a lovely journey I went on when reading your food stories! Thank you for sharing your passion with me 🙂

  20. What a sweet (and savory from the photos) rendez-vous. I adore the photos on the steps, especially the garcon holding the leashed dog, a bottle of rose, a box & paper bag of treats, and beautiful women to his side–what else can I man ask for! Bon appetite!

  21. Hello wonderful Mimi, even if I understand English very well, do you think it would be possible to have your recipes in French as well, many of my friends who love your blog would be in heaven if it was the case!
    Merci mille fois, je vais essayer les raviolis de canard…

    1. Bonjour Marie-Claude! Je pense faire une version de recettes en Français bientôt! J’espère que vous allez vous régaler avec les raviolis 🙂 Mimix

  22. Just spectacular Mimi…… *must* get that foie gras recipe! I would love to know how to make rhum babas, perhaps you’ve posted already will have a look. They are mother in law’s absolute favourite and she’s not well at the moment so would be lovely treat to make for her….delighted that your post has given me a rhum baba reminder =) As always, thank you for sharing this beautiful slice of your life in France. xx

    1. Hi Imen! Oh I love baba au rhum, ever since I was a child 🙂 I do have a recipe on my recipe page on the blog (which I really need to update…) – always so happy with this dessert. I hope your belle-maman will get better. How’s the summer holiday going? We’re lounging by the pool today – it’s a perfect day! We must meet one day Imen, I am sure it will be fun… and delicious! 🙂 Mimix

  23. Beautiful, as usual. Is there a recipe for the cookies in one of the last photos? They look a bit like French country style meringues, is that correct?

  24. With every post, you transport me to the beauty that is France. How I love your blog; the recipes and the photography make me long for another venture through your amazing countryside. Thank you so much for sharing your days with us.

  25. Your blog is really STUNNING, one of the best !
    Vous arrivez à sublimer des produits les plus simples, à nous montrer que la nature nous offre tout ce dont nous avons besoin et ça donne encore plus envie de respecter ce que nous consommons.

  26. Oh wow, it all looks amazing, but especially the salmon tartare. That just sounds like all the most delicious things melded together. Must try it.

  27. Mimi, so happy to have found your wonderful blog through Stéphane Gabart’s My French Heaven. Thank you for sharing the lovely day you all had together. Connection is truly the best thing about the blogging world. I am looking forward to enjoying more of your fantastic posts.

    1. Hi Danielle! Thank you so much for dropping by! You are right, connection is so important for bloggers, I was so happy to meet Stéphane, and hope I can meet more fellow bloggers soon 🙂 Mimix

  28. Hi Mimi,
    What a beautiful blog! The food, the photos, the dogs (!!!), the children…
    Next time you’re near Saint Emilion, pop down to the river for a glass of wine at my place ‘La Table Rouge’. You may even find a few of your recipes ‘à la carte’ 😉

  29. Oh, i remember myself my mother’s dumplings. They are veeeery simply and veeery tasty. I make some on weekend 🙂

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