It has taken me a while to share some images from our food styling and photography workshop in Dordogne, but I am finally here with a little bit of visual storytelling.
In September, Nadia, Steph and I returned to Beynac where we hosted a 4-day workshop at the beautiful La Manoir de la Malartrie. Eight women from all over the world joined us and we spent 5 days exploring local food, culture and landscape.
We visited local markets, spent our days styling and photographing food, eating poppy and daffodil ice cream, a riverside picnic, a Moroccan feast and more.
Here is a little recap of the places we visited and food we ate.
Once again, Steph welcomed us into her maisonette at the footsteps of the Beynac castle. Waking up to the views and the quietness every morning was truly a gift.
I started my days with sheep’s milk yogurt and mara des bois. Breathing the cold, country air.
There are no cities in Dordogne. Medieval villages and architecture. It’s a bit like fairyland, really.
We were eager to start our trip with a visit to the St Cyprien market to procure all of our ingredients for the workshop.
Potimarron, apples, pears, figs (so many figs!), wild strawberries, currants… the bounty of early autumn.
The evening before our students arrived, Steph, Nadia and I prepared welcome gift bags for our guests with the generous gifts that many friends had sent.
Thank you all.
We met our students early Monday morning and from the beginning the chemistry flowed. Erin, Kathleen, Tracey, Jen, Leen, Emanuela, Juliana and Cecilie. They were open and a pleasure to work with – we played and laughed a lot too.
On our first day, we dove into the technical aspect of photography. Unfortunately, we were faced with very unpredictable weather, which really made us work harder to “find the light” and make it work for us. The forecast was ominous – rain, dark skies and cold. But despite these conditions, we really used it to our advantage and work really hard to get our shots.
That first afternoon, we took a break and headed to the Jardins des Marqueyssac where just like last year, I was to have coquelicot ice cream. I waited one long year for it and as expected, it did not disappoint. Even in the cold rain.
The Dordogne region is known for their walnut trees. Everywhere you turn, you will find a perfectly-lined walnut grove.
We spent an afternoon at an organic walnut grove where while our students practiced their styling and photography, Nadia created a beautiful picnic spread for us to enjoy. Fig, olive and mache tartines, heirloom tomato and cheese baguettes, green bean and pesto salad, mini apple tarts, macerated strawberries, and much more. It was beautiful.
We also visited the Sarlat farmer’s market on a Wednesday.
Rain and cold… But I have to say I loved the light. It really brought out the depth and colors of the place.
We found great produce once again and spent that rainy afternoon at La Malartrie working hard and experimenting with light. Some wanted dark scenes, others light. We practiced and it was great to watch everyone excited to hone their craft.
While we worked on lighting, Nadia styled another beautiful food scene in the grange and everyone enjoyed photographing it.
We were exhausted, but eagerly awaiting the Moroccan dinner that our hostess Ouafa was preparing for us. A feast for the palate and the eyes. One of the best flans I have ever had and I have had many in my lifetime.
On our last day, we visited the Beynac castle and walked the old streets. Stephanie greeted us by the river with yet another beautiful picnic. The sun finally came out and we bathed in it.
We said our goodbyes that afternoon and even though we were sad to part ways, I knew we would see these women again.
On the other hand, I was excited for that evening as we had made reservations at an all gluten-free inn in Villars.
Château de Villars is run by Bill and Kevin. Exquisite taste, pristine location and delicious gluten-free food. I couldn’t get enough of the sheep, the chickens, the quince tree and their grounds. Green and lush.
We enjoyed dinner with all their other guests at the Château. Stuffed tomatoes, salmon with asparagus and pesto and my favorite, pineapple parfait with crunchy sablé and granita. I could have that dessert every single day of my life – and it’s gluten-free. Sadly, after an early morning walk and yet another delicious breakfast, we had to leave for Paris. But I must return to Villars. Thank you Bill and Kevin for your hospitality.
Thank you to our sponsors for your generosity.
And to our students… thank you for your openness and hard work.