Workshops 2019

Good ideas – Moveable feasts

When we first found and fell in love with the big house at 1 rue de Loudenne, a building rich with history and many past lives, we wanted to turn parts of it into a restaurant. It was a good idea but we soon came up with something better, more intimate and more enjoyable. How about, a few times a year, having groups of people come to our house, not for one meal but several. Cook with them, get to know them, share our lives, our knowledge of food, photography, wine and France. My blog, that I had started a few years earlier, was keeping me occupied and happy, communicating with readers, sharing recipes and glimpses of my life a very satisfying experience but I always felt the need for an increased reality, talking about a place is one thing, actually being there is another. A chef in a restaurant rarely meets his diners, a waiter does but usually only on a superficial level. Having many meals together in a row, many wines in a row, cooking together, sharing a bountiful table seemed like a good idea, and it turns out it was. We are in our 4th year of hosting workshops and I’m quite frankly loving it. I always had a feeling my readers were wonderful people and now I’ve found out they really are. You’ve come here in great numbers, some of you every year (which must be a compliment) and instead of things getting jaded or ordinary they are getting better. The basic idea remains the same, people come here in the morning, we cook, eat, drink and when we’re done we do it all over again. Of course there are all sorts of distractions, differently emphasized depending on the theme of the workshop, the time of year. Wine always plays a huge part, sometimes photography does too. Exploring the region, foraging, meeting our friends, sometimes cooking at their place, especially if they live on winemaking châteaux.

But this good idea has evolved, taken on a life of its own – it’s almost a concept by now, 1 rue de Loudenne is a real house, a house where you can visit, have champagne, make soufflés, have wine tastings, lunches under the olive trees or drink wonderful Bordeaux wines in front of the fire as the duck breast snarls on the sarment wine branches in the fireplace. But it’s also a virtual place, an idea of how life can be lived, something you can bring back home with you like ( a much better writer than me once called it ) a moveable feast.
In a broader context this is what we are working on creating with our new website that’s very delayed but still very much happening. www.rueloudenne.com will be the projection of our house online, a mirror of the ideas that come from here, and not just projecting online what’s happening in this house but in other places where food and quality takes a central stage. Places you can visit for real … or in spirit, places of the heart … and stomach.

I have also found that good ideas can travel, they are not bound to a house, no matter how good the house may be. And good ideas must evolve to stay young and fresh. This year I’m working on a new cookbook once again with Clarkson Potter (the Crown Publishing Group), on a subject that’s very close to our hearts – Italian cooking. We’ve taken most of our holidays, forever, in Italy. We’ve traveled there extensively, spent much time and discovered places, sometimes through our work for Condé Nast Traveler, that we could never have imagined but always knew were there (if that makes sense). The idea is to bring to the reader, not only my take on Italian cooking but that of my Italian friends who have helped me discover the originality and specialness of their respective regions. To do this well (and why would I bother if that wasn’t the plan) we have decided to take up a secondary residence in Torino (Turin), a city we have all fallen in love with. Rue Loudenne will remain our home but this is a new chapter in our lives and as I once said, why not? – while we’re still young. As I said, I believe that good ideas can travel and the idea is to bring the moveable feast that is Rue Loudenne to Italy for some special workshops throughout the year as we’ll be partially based there.

A guest attending once asked me, in the early days, “Is there anything special I need to bring to the workshop?” My answer then was “Just bring an open mind and an empty stomach”.
That is still the answer.

I hope you like what we have planned for next year, I know it seems quite far away now but as always I have received so many requests from people who are more organised than myself to give the dates and I’m glad they do – it’s wonderful to have something to look forward to.

 

Workshops of 2019

 

2019 being our fifth year I believe we’ve come up with a good “formula” for the classic workshops, something that works for most people and is enjoyable. 3 days seem to be the magic number of days, we usually start at 10.30 in the morning, cook a lunch together and then take a 2 hour break in the afternoon before reconvening, with a glass or two of champagne in one hand, some kitchen utensil in the other (and sometimes that kitchen utensil is just a cork screw), cook dinner.

The price for a standard workshop is 2.000 euros per person with everything included except accommodation which guests choose themselves – but don’t worry we have plenty of good options for you, wonderful B&B’s, beautiful houses rented out by friends …

Some workshops have additional supplements in terms of cost, often due to the fact we’re traveling, with some or all accommodation included, some restaurant meals or transportation. How much depends on which workshop. The two road trips are also longer workshops and therefore more costly.

Please note that all deposits are non-refundable. I find that to be a necessary step to avoid confusion and frivolous bookings. Should, however, something prevent you from attending the workshop you booked (and I know from experience that this can happen) I would be very happy to find other dates that work for you.

Looking forward to hearing from you all,
Mimi xx

For all bookings and further information please contact: [email protected]

Workshops at my house in Médoc, France

May 15 – 18, 2019 “The French wine Master class”, a roadtrip

Having lived and breathed Bordeaux wines for almost a decade now, having always loved wine, having wine makers as some of our closest friends, having even made our own wine – it’s safe to say that we’ve learnt a thing or two along the way. Wine has truly become a passion for us on so many levels, a nectar full of history, flavor, terroir and tradition. While most of the workshops touch to a larger or lesser degree on the subject of wine we thought, 4 years later, it was time to devote a whole workshop, not just to our beloved Bordeaux but also to the wines of other French wine regions we love. We’ll start in Champagne, meet some of our favorite producers, do tastings and end the day in Paris with a feast at one of our best-loved restaurants. The following day we’ll head down to Burgundy where we’ll continue our education/indulging and spend a night in the region after a typical Lyonnaise bistrot meal. On the third day we’ll head down to Bordeaux (it’s a bit of a drive so be warned), starting in St Émilion and spending the night in Bordeaux city. On the last day we’ll drive up to Médoc, meet our friends who make wine and finally cooking a last feast together at our house, 1 rue de Loudenne in St Yzans.

This is a 4-day workshop which is unusual but we just don’t feel we can do this properly and enjoyably in 3 day. This workshop carries a supplement due to accommodation included, restaurant meals etc.

• for furthers details and cost of participation, please send me an email on [email protected]

June 12-14, 2019 “The Playing restaurant workshop”

This is a workshop I’m particularly excited about. As I mentioned earlier in this post we had an idea, briefly, to turn parts of our house into a restaurant. We did a pop-up the first year we lived here and we’re still in love with the idea of creating the “perfect bistrot”. So while this will partially be a classic workshop it will also be built around the idea of conceiving a restaurant. Before the last day we’ll split the group in two with each party taking care of one meal, one lunch, one dinner. Each group will come up with a menu, wine pairings, table settings, flower arrangements. Which little treats to serve the guests when they arrive, the music, the coffee. And cook of course – with each person playing on his or her strengths. For fun we’ll invite a professional restaurant critic who will declare one team the winner. Sounds like fun, right?

• Cost of participation: 2000 euros per person

June 19 – 21, 2019 “The annual Summer abundance workshop”

Probably the most popular workshop of the last 2 years, so popular in fact that we added a second one in 2018. This is a celebration of summer and seasonal produce, when the season is still young and full of the freshest fruits and vegetables. A traditional workshop in summer clothes, with al fresco lunches and dinners, long communal tables, picnics and barbecues on the beaches and in the vineyards – the color of this workshop is rosé …

• Cost of participation: 2000 euros per person

September 25 – 27, 2019 “The first Fall harvest & wine workshop”

Médoc is a wine region above anything else and while the talk most of the year is of nothing but wine (and perhaps meat, mushrooms and oysters) the harvest is September is the culmination of it all – the region really comes alive, migrant workers flock to Médoc to pick in the day, party in the evenings – there are endless feasts and events, a time for celebration and sometimes also worry. The most Médoc of all periods. This will be a classic workshop, with much cooking and eating at our house but the thread of intrigue will be the wine picking (which we will participate in) the wine partying (which we will also participate in), some early foraging, some late summer celebrating. One of my favorite times of the year when we can still enjoy tomatoes and are already having mushrooms and pumpkins.

• Cost of participation: 2000 euros per person

October 2 – 4, 2019 “The second Fall harvest workshop”

Another classic workshop that’s proven incredibly popular. A similar take on the season as the Summer abundance but with slightly warmer clothes and different colors and flavors. Foraging for mushrooms, a feast in the forest, hanging out with local hunters (for those who dare), serious wine tastings, recipes rich with autumn produce and local game.

• Cost of participation: 2000 euros per person

 

Workshops in Italy

 

April 17 – 19, 2019 “Spring in Piemonte”

By then my Italian cookbook will be done and I’ll be full of knowledge, new tricks and inspiration. Piemontese cooking has really taken me by storm and I can’t wait to share all my newfound secrets. We’ll stay in the Langhe – Roero winemaking region (where they make Barolos) and spend our days cooking together, eating together, visiting one or two restaurants to sample the best of the region. We have decided, for the sake of variety and to make everyone happy, that I’ll stay put in the kitchen while others, like my husband Oddur who is a photographer and who loves wine intimately – will take those who want on wine tours and offer photography classes – a sort of cooking relief for those who need it, or spouses and friends who come along for the ride but would rather taste wine than actually cook too much. It’s a something for everyone formula 

• for furthers details and cost of participation, please send me an email on [email protected]

July 4-6, 2019 “The Mysteries of Turin”

The most unusual workshop of the year … and the most mysterious. Turin is a legendary city, the only one in the world that lies on both the so-called Black and White triangles. For three days we’ll indulge in good food and wine, while diving into these mysteries, like in a good detective novel (where the detective likes to eat and drink), fascinate ourselves with the legends, the shroud of Turin, the origins of Italian cinema, the legend of Carlo Mollino. Where Julia Child meets Agatha Christie. I’ve got goosebumps writing this …

• for furthers details and cost of participation, please send me an email on [email protected]

October 15-19, 2019 “The Great Italian roadtrip” … a cookbook revisited

Over the years we’ve been fortunate enough to visit some special places in Italy and the coming year will see us do even more travel as we put the finishing touches on my Italian cookbook. Come October 2019 we’ll be, not only celebrating the realisation of all that cooking and travel in the form of a book, but also inspired to revisit the settings of our food discoveries and photographing, sharing our favorite destinations with a few good and interested people who love Italy and want to know her better. We’ll start in Rome and work our way up through 5 regions until we’ll end up in Piemonte (of course) where we’ll have a farewell dinner (that we’ll cook together ) in our Turin apartment.

This is a 5-day “extravaganza” workshop

• for furthers details and cost of participation, please send me an email on [email protected]

December 5-7, 2019 “Festive in Piemonte”

The white truffles of Alba are one of the most sought after foods in the world. And for good reason, come October/November and Piemontese chefs & waiters will grate or slice truffles on just about everything they serve you – and it will all be delicious. We’ll escape the crowds but catch the truffles in local restaurants, set up a kitchen where we’ll cook away and explore the early winter country and festive cooking of Piemonte. This will be a workshop comparable to the “Spring in Piemonte” workshop but with vastly different ingredients and weather and some early Christmas influences for a festive atmosphere.

• for furthers details and cost of participation, please send me an email on [email protected]