Food Styling & Photography in La Dordogne, Part 2

I woke up to the sound of the church bells ringing.

It was Wednesday at 7 o’clock in the morning – our third day into the food styling and photography workshop and still as excited as day one. I made myself a quick tea and headed out for a walk. The air was crisp and fog had set into Beynac. I walked up the cobblestone path alongside the castle and took a deep breath. I was beautiful beyond words.

I was ready for more.

For our third day, we had planned a trip to the Sarlat farmers’ market. We were to gather local produce and cook lunch for our students back at the Manoir de la Malartrie. Of course, we would style and photograph it all.

Sarlat is one of the main urban areas in La Dordogne. It was a crowded day with lots of tourists, but we still felt deep into the Perigord food culture. Stands full of the best local cheeses, jams, honey, charcuterie, and lots and lots of produce. Winter squash, hearty root vegetables, greens, and local dried cèpes and morels. Lots of them.

We walked the back streets of Sarlat and watched people come and go. Filled our market baskets with ingredients for the day and made one last stop – potatoes fried in duck fat. We sat next to the park while we shared this decadent snack. No plastic forks – only our fingers and insatiable appetites.

We were happy.

Back at the manoir, I cooked a swiss chard and cèpes risotto for everyone to style and photograph. I loved seeing everyone’s brains turn. You could see the level of commitment in each of their faces. They walked around, found “their” light and styled and shot until there was no more to do. It was beautiful to watch.

After all was set and done, we sat around the garden table and ate this satisfying risotto along with some salad, local cheeses, olives and crusty bread.

We continued styling and shooting into the afternoon until we decided it was enough. We were all ready for a relaxing evening. Stephanie hosted at dinner for all of us at La Maisonette (you can read Olivia’s post). It was such a beautiful night. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. Really, I laughed until I cried.

That night I slept like I hadn’t slept in years.

We left our last day in Beynac to do a little bit of sightseeing. Toured the medieval castle right next to La Maisonette. The views were breathtaking. From there we took a stroll down to the village center, along the river. We stopped for some coffee and tea and chatted up a storm.

A surprise awaited us by the river.

Stephanie had arranged a beautiful picnic for us to enjoy with crusty bread, cheeses, charcuterie, chocolate and lemon custard tarts. Everyone raved about them (unfortunately not gluten-free for me). I loved spending time with these women in a scenario that wasn’t only work. I felt we had known each other for years – like old friends.

After the picnic, we drove to a walnut grove where walnut oil is pressed. We learned about walnut trees, harvesting and the methods used to extract the oil. I always love seeing trees perfectly lined. They make the best photos. We couldn’t stop photographing as we knew this was such a special place.

This put an end to our trip. I was sad to leave yet so excited about what we had shared and the new friends I had found. I think every one of them will say the same thing. We became close.

We drove to Paris that night where we spent our last day before heading home. It was great to be back although it was too short and I was by this time exhausted.

Managed to visit Poilâne, Pierre Hermé, Merci and Steph’s favorite, Mamie Gâteaux.

Also had a great lunch with the lovely Clotilde at Rose Bakery where we all had the assiette de légumes (an assortment of the salads of the day).

After some more walking and a few failed attempts at finding dinner reservations, we ended up at Les Cocottes. It reminded me very much of how we eat in the Basque Country with an assortment of small plates and desserts written on a chalkboard. I spotted a lot of Basque cheeses, meats and fishes in fact, which of course made my day. I had a poached egg salad with lardons and a dish of cod, potatoes and cèpes. Lovely. And once again, I was ready for bed.

Our flight left early in the morning the next day. I left with my belly, heart and mind full.

This was an experience of a lifetime and I hope we can make it happen once again. We will keep you posted.

I have to thank Stephanie and Nadia for all their hard work. They made it happen for me. And of course our wonderful students who pushed and pushed. I thank you.

Here are their latests posts. Lorna, Romina, Kimberly, Olivia, Jennifer, Sanda.

you may also like…

84 Responses to “Food Styling & Photography in La Dordogne, Part 2”

  1. meesch says:

    These photos are absolutely breathtaking. You have such a great eye for beauty!


  2. argone says:

    What a post !! I want to visit Perigord now … thank you

  3. maggie says:

    Just beautiful! You can tell these are the landscapes and architecture fairy tales are made of ;)

  4. Francesca says:

    Wonderful atmosphere! I have always wanted to go to Dordogne, and will make sure I do this time! Next week I’m off to Montpellier again with a short visit to Marseille – can’t wait!

    Thank you for your PartII post!

  5. tinajo says:

    Fantastic pics – and I´m so envious, wish I had seen it with my own eyes! :-)

  6. Such a wonderful thing you all got to do! So glad it came together so beautifully! And that red door is my favorite!!

  7. What visual candy. These beautiful photos of beautiful landscapes and delicious food makes me want to arrange a trip there ASAP! :)

  8. I am in love with your pictures !!! wish i could visit this place sometime in my this place really this awesome or its your clicks made them mind blowing?

  9. Yas says:

    Hey Aran,

    Wow, your pictures are honestly beautiful beyond words. You are so incredibly inspiring.

    Love you work, always grateful..

  10. Salma says:

    oh my, these pictures are soooooo lovely – i also read your other post about your wonderful trip to france and i was really amazed :)

    thanks for sharing your gorgeous experience with us!

    have a nice day

  11. Jennifer says:

    Wow, your pictures are BREATHTAKING! I felt such a serenity while looking at your pictures. Thank you for this beautiful moment. :) It made my day!

  12. Maia says:

    I visited La Dordogne when I was a student at the Paris Conservatory back in 2002. It was comforting to see your magical photos – to see that magical atmosphere has not changed at all – to know that in some places, time can stand still, and life can remain simpler indefinitely!

    Thank you for sharing your experience leading such a wonderful workshop!

  13. Oh Aran, this set of photographs is spectacular. I was envious seeing the ones from your previous post, now I’m jealous!! What a wonderful time you must have had and your students were so lucky to have you as their teacher.
    That last photo is perfect; I love Poilâne bread!

  14. Tine says:

    Lovely pictures! Great foods!

  15. vive la France et ses merveilleuses régions que vous avez su si bien photographier, bravo à vous tous.

  16. Sheila says:

    Aran, I am Nadia’s friend Sheila. I’ve been dying to see Nadia’s photos and hear about the trip, and happily found plenty to hold me over here. What an absolutely amazing time you all must have had! Just gorgeous, gorgeous photos.

  17. Ruzu says:

    OMG that place it is a dream *__* I want to come back to Europe.
    I like your work a lot… aww I wish to go to a workshop, but I can´t.

  18. Aran, your posts and photos just take my breath away. It’s something I look forward to every week! I so wish I could make it for your session in Boulder – I live just a half hour from there – but unfortunately won’t be able to. Anyone who is able to learn from you is very fortunate!

  19. What a fantastic experience for both the students and teachers!!
    Gorgeous photos!

  20. A beatutiful post about a beautiful place! Everythign looks dreamy in Dordogne. I will keep my fingers crossed that you do this again very soon and I can join you.

  21. déjà que cet endroit me faisait très envie..mais avec ces photos c’est encore + tentant!

  22. Carrie says:

    So much beauty in one post. Thank you for sharing with us.

  23. Mrs. L says:

    This is just magical. So very beautiful and so very lovely. I hope that one day I too can see such a place with my own eyes. For now, thank you for letting me journey with you.

  24. Such beautiful pictures Aran! you’re making me want to hop on a plane and go there!

  25. chelsea says:

    Ack!! What a dream. Oh so stunning and looks like such a fun time!

  26. Stephanie says:

    The photos of the boats on the water brought tears to my eyes this morning. So absolutely beautiful. Was that fog in the one photo or a filter?

  27. Victoria says:

    Wow – it sounds and looks amazing. What a fabulous experience.

  28. Stunning pictures of an amazing place! Really splendid.



  29. Zita says:

    Hi Aran,

    As much as I adore your beautiful, inspiring photography. The pleasure is hearing thoughts.

    thanks for sharing,


  30. Stephanie- no, that was real fog in the morning. it was gorgeous!

    Thanks all. I hope you guys can visit some day. It really is a breathtaking region of France.

  31. Such stunning pictures with a story to tell! What a beautiful part of the world :-)

  32. De belles photos qui réfètent si bien la Dordogne et la France. Merci de redécouvrir ses paysages à travers votre regard.

  33. Emilie says:

    I’m so disappointed I didn’t sign up for this workshop! Great photos! I hope you’ll do another workshop in France next year.

  34. Hi Aran,

    This comment is sure to get lost amongst the many you receive but I wanted to tell you anyway that your blog is truley inspiring and of the best quality I have ever seen. I have put your food styling and photography course on my list of “MUST DO in my life”. I’m in Australia with a young family but I will join you one of these years.

    Kel x

  35. This post is full of so much beauty my head is spinning. Simply unbelievable.

  36. Kellie- No comment ever goes unnoticed and I appreciate them all from the bottom of my heart. I wish I could make it to Australia soon. I want to visit badly! Thank you very much for your words. xo

    Thanks all!

  37. Ta says:

    What beautiful photographs! I wish that our farmer’s markets here in Va looked like that. And what peculiar and beautiful squash colors.

  38. corine says:

    Goosebumps! I love it all…

  39. Yelena says:

    Thank you for every picture and every word! Stunning-))

  40. stunning, LOVE LOVE LOVE these photos. Wish I would of been there. Sounds like the best of times. Heavenly.

  41. Sandrine says:

    Wow! Alors voila moi j’ai le mal du pays maintenant Aran :)(sight!)Beautiful photographs thanks for sharing :) Sandrine x

  42. Indu says:

    It is beautiful beyond words!

  43. Maria says:

    I still can’t believe places like this exist…I feel like Belle is going to burst through her front door and start singing ‘Bonjour!’

    Maria xx

  44. Jimena says:

    Wow what an amazing place. LOVE the photos and please do another workshop in France so I can go this time :D

  45. Kits says:

    Stunning images – totally made my day reading about your experience there. Awesome stuff and keep it coming

  46. Kathryn says:

    Oh! How I wish I was there. Such beautiful photos, they really make you feel as if you can smell, feel and taste it all.

  47. Erica says:

    It’s official, I need to go to France.

  48. Edwina says:

    What beautiful photographs. They make my heart sing and ache thinking of the mess that Europe is in. I truly hope that country towns will keep on doing what they do, that people won’t leave and that life will continue in Europe as it has for millennia. It is so beautiful, may we all be able to enjoy moments like these for ever. Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience.

  49. ChichaJo says:

    Gorgeous photos and beautiful post!! You have painted such a wonderful picture here, not just of a special place but also of special moments :)

  50. Julia says:

    Superb! These images value more than a 1000 words. Such a magic place and such delicious and simplistic food. Indeed, great taste lies in simplicity.

    classified ads

  51. The place is very beautiful and the foods look so yummy. All of your photos are stunning. They made the place look more enchanting. I totally enjoyed this post. :)

  52. Golubka says:

    This is just so amazing. It’s great to know that beautiful places like these exist. Thank you so much for sharing!

  53. Susana says:

    Ahhh…c’est belle la France¡!


  54. Shelby says:

    What an incredible experience this sounded like! I do so hope to join for one of these workshops sometime in the future..Please keep them coming! …and thanks for sharing!

  55. visnja says:

    is that a vintage brown coat youa re wearing int he photo holding the bread?

  56. visnja- that is not me in the photo. it’s my friend Nadia who also came to the workshop. i think she had the coat custom made actually, but i will ask her. i don’t think it’s vintage.

    thanks all!

  57. ani says:

    How are you going to be able to top yourself on any upcoming posts? You must have been in the Disneyland for food lovers and photographers. Once again, your view is inspiring! I love your vision. Thanks for linking the vrbo website, it seems so affordable and doable to stay in France!

  58. Fragolina says:

    The scenes and nature are amazing, magnificent, im dreaming of going there now.

  59. Deborah says:

    Please, please, please do another workshop like this one !! You have inspired so many of us and I would love the opportunity to learn from you. I am considering the Spring Makerie workshop but would love to do one entirely on Food Styling & photography. Anything in the works???

  60. Deborah- the Makerie is my next one. We are still trying to figure out if we will have another one in France next year and as soon as we know more, I will announce it in the blog. Thanks so much!

  61. lolawi says:

    très beau reportage….

  62. Inés says:

    Aran…ez dut ezer ederragorik ikusi! Benetan Sarkozyk omenaldi bat egin beharo dizu noiz edo noiz halako herri eder bat ederragoa erakusteagatik. Argazkiak disdiratsuak dira…benetan bakea eta egoteko gogoa ematen dute. Eta gaur hona ere bakea heldu zaigu. Vive la Pix! Gora bakea!Mila musu denei!

  63. milena says:

    splendido reportage fotografico!!

  64. jane says:

    This is a lovely blog. I love to see how other people see beauty in their world. Thank you for taking the time.

  65. Maja says:

    So beautiful place and photos!! I’m thrilled!

  66. You have made me want to go to Vermont so badly! I am definitely going next fall. As usual your post is lovely.

  67. Exquisite. I spent three weeks WWOOFing in this region and completely fell in love with it. Thanks for bringing me back!

  68. I want to be there! Once again lovely photos!

  69. Ben Young says:

    You gave me a very great idea on how to take picture correctly. I hope I could read more of your post. I really, really want learn all the techniques in capturing pictures.

  70. Jaime says:

    Hi Aran!

    Those photos in Vermont and your workshop in France look amazing! I know you’ve got another one coming up at The Makerie but wondering if you have any plans to hold a workshop in the UK some day?

    Best regards,

  71. Jamie- I don’t have anything scheduled yet but I would love to! Thanks!

  72. Calogero says:

    A lot of nice photos, thanks :-).

  73. Beth says:

    So inspiring! I’ve added this to my list of places to visit.

  74. jen laceda says:

    Awesome! Are these classes open for anyone? How do I sign up? I’ve never been to the Dordogne, but this would have been a perfect getaway for me! Food, photography, markets, natural beauty…lots of wood and stone…Ahhh…

  75. Jen- keep checking the blog for updates for next year’s workshop. we will announce it soon. thanks!

  76. martine says:

    Un blog magnifique !! j’en prends plein les yeux !!

  77. Thank you Aran for the beauty of your gorgeous photos…I get lost in them…they give me such joy !! Now,,,come to California and do a workshop in Carmel Valley,and the Monterey Peninsula ! It’s California’s version of France !!! A bientot !

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.