post63 // where to eat croissants in paris (+video!!)

you’ve asked and i’ve answered! after my last episode of foodstuffs presents here in paris, i asked viewers what they’d like to see more of. requests for croissants came knocking on my inbox, one after another. so here we are! i took the subway on over to east paris — home to the very trendy and bustling “le marais” and bastille neighborhoods — to check out two of the most well-known bakeries in paris.

ride along with me to see which croissant wins out and what bakery you should bookmark for your next trip to paris.

  1. blé sucré (11th arr, bastille) 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris, open 7am-730pm tuesday-sunday
  2. du pain et des idées (in between 10th and 3rd arr, république) 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, open 645am-8pm weekdays only

blé sucré’s croissant (left), du pain et des idées (right)


blé sucré’s croissant, exterior


blé sucré’s croissant, interior


du pain et des idées’ croissant, exterior


du pain et des idées’ croissant, interior


blé sucré’s croissant (top), du pain et des idées (bottom)

and in this week’s non-croissant related stuff!

current inspo: this hedgehog

my host family showed me the intro to a classic french film with uncanny resemblance to la la land. what do you think?

a great read on new york city restauranteurs

photography and videography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post61 // open this valentine! (psssst, it’s filled with chocolate)


heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat

hellooooo! greetings from my chocolate-filled valentine! since i’m far away from many friends and loved ones on this valentine’s day 2018, i’ve decided to send you a virtual valentine with chocolate creations like the stuff of dreams.

this valentine’s day landed perfectly in the middle of my pastry trimester, which is focused on chocolate work. well done, le cordon bleu scheduling! from chocolate glazes to tempered chocolate to chocolate mousse to chocolate crunch, i’ve been working with a lot (!!) of chocolate this trimester. talk about keeping my uniform supremely white while doing it — the toughest job of them all.

below you can find four chocolately creations that i’ve made in my pastry classes. i’ve listed their core components so that you (yes, you!) can go and make one for yourself!

dark chocolate choux pastry choux au chocolat noir 



this chocolate choux pastry is filled with chocolate pastry cream and a crispy praline insert. outside, you see a chocolate crunch topping, finished with a dark chocolate glaze.

to get started, check out this recipe for chocolate choux pastry. you’ll quickly see how easy it is!

chocolates (muscadine, praline) chocolats (muscadine, praliné)


these two types of chocolates are called pralines (the square) and muscadines (the baton). the muscadine is filled with a creamy praline, chocolate, cointreau paste while the praline is filled with a simple chocolate and praline paste. i dipped both in tempered chocolate and rolled the muscadine in icing sugar directly after. to make the “professional” decoration on top, simply use a fork to lightly mark the chocolate 10-20 seconds after dipping, just before the chocolate has set.

don’t have space or a big marble slab to temper chocolate at home? follow this guide for a quick microwave-tempering! thermometer required.

heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat



this three-tier cake is quite the showstopper. the base is a hazelnut dacquoise filled with a praline crunch paste, topped with two layers of chocolate mousse and tempered chocolate rounds. the decoration on top was made with cookie cutters and tempered chocolate.

never heard of a dacquoise? it’s a cake base that’s very popular here in france, made from egg whites and nuts. bonus: it’s gluten free! start this cake by making your first dacquoise with food network’s recipe.

opera opéra


of all the pastries seen here, you may be most familiar with the opera cake, a parisian classic! this cake alternates between layers of biscuit sponge and coffee buttercream, with a layer of chocolate ganache smack in the middle. on top is a chocolate glaze and the traditional opera writing (my first attempt at writing on cakes!).

you might be able to find this one in a high-end french bakery. but if not, Joe Pastry blog has a great tutorial that matches the authenticity of my recipe from cordon bleu.

just in case you’re wondering

while i’d love to be sharing all my cordon bleu recipes with you, they’re under copywrite. *but* i look forward to testing many of them once i’m out of school and sharing renditions that can be cooked in your home oven. stay tuned on this for next year!

in this week’s other stuff !

a hot new restaurant i’ll be trying in paris this weekend. reviews have been a+++++

books as decor is popping up everywhere (even in my house here in paris!). definitely digging this style trend

wardrobe goals

andddd that’s all for this week, folks! wishing you a very lovely valentine’s day!💖



post57 // culinary school, first look

bonjour mes amis! [hello my friends!]


15th arrondissement, my neighborhood here

greetings from parisland, where i’m back again after a long american holiday! it feels wonderful and exciting to be back in this foreign city that feels every bit less foreign and more like home by the second.

tomorrow i head back to le cordon bleu where i’m enrolled in their grand diplôme program. this program runs for 9 months and upon completion, students receive superior certificates in both pastry and cuisine.

while home, i was asked the following questions countless times, #1: what is a typical day at cordon bleu? and #2 what is your favorite dish to make? so for this week’s post, i’m serving up answers on a hot plate for you! (just in case you didn’t get to hear them in person).



a day at cordon bleu

6am. wake up!!! most of my days begin with an early call time for class so i’m up and at ’em. to keep me full through the morning, i eat this muesli (a cereal-like breakfast made from rolled oats, grains, and dried fruits) almost every day. i do *sometimes* splurge for a croissant or pain aux raisins like the ones below…c’est la vie!


pain au chocolat, croissant, pain aux raisins

7am. en route to school! i chose to live with a french host family while staying here to help improve my french and lucky enough, they live within walking distance from the school. once i get into the institute, i put on my uniform: pants, chef’s jacket, neckerchief, and shoes (i use dansko’s).


crudités, mimosa hard boiled eggs

7:45am-11am. class starts! at school, there are two types of classes i can have: demonstrations or practicals. in demonstrations, i sit in a large lecture room where the chef prepares the dishes i’ll be making that day in practical class. while i receive the ingredient list, no recipe instructions are provided by the school so i take a bigillion notes during these demo classes to make sure i don’t miss a thing! at the end of each demonstration, team leaders (a sort of group captain for the week) passes around a tasting portion of the dish. above you can see my very first cuisine tasting at cordon blue, a crudité salad that employed many, many knife skills!

11am-11:45am. lunch! time to scarf something down that will hold me ’til half past six. i’m usually munching on something that i made in a practical class the day before.

11:45am-3pm. class again! pastry instead of cuisine this time.



pastry demonstrations function the same as cuisine demonstrations and sometimes the chef will make a dish for fun on the side, like these heart macaroons! too sweet.



in this particular demonstration, the chef used macaroons from prior classes that week to model how much food coloring we should be putting in our meringue batters. super helpful! (see below to see how mine turned out.)

3:15pm-6:30pm. practical class! recognize the colorful vegetables below from the tasting dish earlier? this was my recreation of the chef’s crudité platter, complete with cabbage, radish, celery, carrots, tomatoes, and cucumber, all specified to different types of cuts. plus a deviled egg! my knife skills have been on a major learning curve since i step foot in this school.


crudités, mimosa hard boiled eggs

practical classes are different from demonstrations in that i show up in full uniform (apron, hat, and tea towel included), and cook for 2-3 hours. most chefs require dishes to be served on a hot plate within 2 1/2 hours of start time, leaving the final 30 minutes for cleaning. every student has their own workstation, oven, and stovetop, and is required to produce the same dish. it’s pretty intense! the stuff of tv shows.

looking back, the crudité platter was easy compared to some of these other dishes…


braised beef cheek with honey and lemon fondant carrots, pureed potatoes


salmon paupiettes, genevoise sauce, crunchy cabbage with ginger

you can see that the salmon paupiettes above have been broken into. in each cuisine practical, chef will taste my dish. this is the ultimate test! during tasting, chef will also take note of my personal hygiene (no apron stains!), how i operated throughout the practical, and how warm my plate is. fun fact: this salmon dish showed up on my final exam!

6:30pm-6:45pm. try and shovel dinner or a snack in before running to the next class!

6:45pm-10pm. pastry practical!


how’d i do on the macarons? judging from the chef’s macaron gradient, i could’ve used a bit less food coloring. and when piping the macarons out, it’s best not to flick the tip of your pastry bag too far upwards. that’s what makes these guys look a *little* busty.

pastry practicals are a bit different from cuisine as i’m usually on a clock with shorter sprints. for example, the dacquoise cake below required the meringue layers to be baked before i began assembling the buttercream filling or marzipan rose. in my practical for this cake, chef only allowed a specific time frame to bake the meringue layers. if my meringue hadn’t been piped within that time, you wouldn’t be seeing this pretty cake in pictures!


dacquoise meringue filled with praline buttercream, caramelized almonds, and topped with a marzipan rose

bringing me to the next difference between cuisine and pastry practicals: chefs typically do not taste student’s pastry dishes. why? in most of the pastries, a chef can determine whether an ingredient was missing just by looking at it.


dacquoise meringue filled with praline buttercream, caramelized almonds, and topped with a marzipan rose

10pm-11pm. get out of my uniform, and head home! after a long day like this, it typically takes me a couple hours to unwind. i head home and eat a late dinner, catch up on some texts, and get to sleep asap. there’s more work to be done in the morning!

my favorite dish to make

bread! i still can’t quit it. after spending the summer before culinary school rolling out baguettes and mixing sourdough starters, i feel even more connected to the bread products i make in school now. my first pain au chocolat was a big hit and i can’t wait to make more!


in the cuisine realm of things, i enjoy making quiches and stews. the most delicious dish i’ve made in school so far has to be the braised beef cheek dish. see the fancy portrait of that dish above, in contrast with the “how-i-eat-this-at-home” image below. (with a glass of vin rouge of course!)


braised beef cheek with honey and lemon fondant carrots, pureed potatoes

while every day at cordon bleu isn’t as jam-packed as the day i described above, that schedule is typical of at least half my week. on lighter days, i try my best to catch up on sleep, exercise, blogging, and exploring this city!

and because you made it so far in this article, here’s me (hairnet and all) at my final pastry practical in november! i guess sleep deprivation will make you think anything looks cute.


springtime charlotte with ladyfingers, almond bavarian cream, fruit mousse, and fresh berries

in this week’s other stuff:

to get back in the french spirit, i’ve got sidney bechet’s si tu vois ma mère on repeat. fun fact! it’s the opening song to midnight in paris.

speaking of food gradients, check out the queen: wright kitchen

west elm is getting trendier by the second

french soulcycle, my latest obsession

post55 // foodstuffs bakery crawl: manhattan

hello people!! i write to you this week with a very exciting post: my first ever bakery crawl!

what’s a bakery crawl you may ask? well for those of you familiar with its drunken cousin, the pub crawl, a bakery crawl functions similarly as an extended time spent hopping around to different bakeries.

on my very first bakery crawl, i visited 10 bakeries. in 1 day. so you better be hungry, because you’re about to watch a whole lot of sweets!

video time! foodstuffs bakery crawl: manhattan

  1. arcade bakery (tribeca) 220 church st, new york, ny 10013, open 8am-4pm mon-fri
    • what i bought: seeded laminated baguette, and lemon sugar brioche
  2. maman (tribeca) 211 w broadway, new york, ny 10013, open 7am-6pm mon-fri and 8am-6pm sat, sun
    • what i bought: chocolate pistachio croissant
  3. dominique ansel bakery (soho) 189 spring st, new york, ny 10012, open 8am-7pm mon-sat and 9am-7pm sun
    • what i bought: dka (dominique’s kouign amann)
  4. mah-ze-dahr (west village) 28 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011, open 7am-6pm mon-fri and 8am-6pm sat, sun
    • what i bought: sadly mah-ze-dahr was closed for a private event but i have tasted their chocolate chip cookie and ice cream before, both delicious!
  5. aux merveilleux de fred (meatpacking) 37 8th ave, new york, ny 10014, open 8am-7:30pm everyday
    • what i bought: “the incredible” a speculoos meringue, covered in whipped cream and white chocolate shavings, and “the wonderful” a meringue with chocolate whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings
  6. momofuku milk bar (chelsea) 220 8th ave, new york, ny 10011, open 8am-11pm mon-thurs and 8am-12am fri-sun
    • what i bought: b’day cake truffles
  7. sullivan street bakery (chelsea) 236 9th ave, new york, ny 10011, open 7am-4pm mon-fri and 8am-4pm sat, sun
    • what i bought: garlic stretchy
  8. breads bakery (union square) 18 east 16th st, new york, ny 10003, open 6:30am-9pm mon-sat and 7:30am-8pm sun
    • what i bought: reverse chocolate chip cookie
  9. zucker bakery (east village) 433 east 9th st, new york, ny 10009, open 8am-6pm mon-fri and 9am-7pm sat, sun
    • what i bought: yin-yang black and white cookie
  10. supermoon bakehouse (lower east side) 120 rivington st, new york, ny 10002, open 8am-5pm everyday
    • what i bought: eggnog cruffin

breads bakery


breads bakery


supermoon bakehouse


aux merveilleux de fred




aux merveilleux de fred


dominique ansel bakery

and in this week’s other stuff:

my jacket from the video

a stellar west village restaurant you need to try, duck fat tots and all

christmas spiriting!!

that’s all friends! have a happy weekend!

post54 // a very merry foodstuffs gift guide

greetings friends!! it’s starting to feel a bit more wintery here on the east coast and i am very excited by the prospect of snow tomorrow! there’s nothing i like more than watching our corgi, sandi, run through snow with her little corgi legs.

with winter on its way, christmas is inching closer and closer by the minute. to get a head start on gift-giving, i’ve come up with a little guide for a foodstuffs holiday! these gifts are hand-picked by me, some of which i’ve received personally and others that i’m putting on my list this year. perfect for the foodie in your life, these food-inspired items will make you laugh and make you hungry.

happy shopping!

  1. croissant ornament by anthropologie43376524_025_b

warning: this product is not edible. i refuse to be responsible for any cracked teeth this holiday season 😂. buy here:

2.  everything bagel & cream cheese kit by farmsteadyEverything Bagel & Cream Cheese Making Kit

nothing is better than a new york bagel and cream cheese, especially on christmas morning. buy here:

3.  taste of streep glitter matchboxes by saint celebrityil_570xN.1160163643_m60y

nothing will please your instagram foodie friend more than a taste of streep. if you don’t know, start knowing: @tasteofstreep. buy here:

4.  cherry bomb earrings by opening ceremonyIMG_8952-2_1024x1024

a little holiday flair for your ears? yes please. buy here:

5.  3-piece salad bowl and server set by mud pie (and all their other kitschy serving items!)117678461299634p

yes, we all have those “healthy” foodie friends. these friends make gourmet salads and art out of smoothie bowls in their spare time. give them the gift of punny salad tongs this year. buy here:

6.  baguette bag by now designs 81bwBlAYf5L._SX587_

is a bread-eating francophile on your list? i sure hope so. buy here:

7.  whisk necklace by food52813afad2-1bd3-4383-9c4e-5c5c716c335f--2014-0220_mary-handmade_gold-whisk-002

pro tip: take the whisk off this necklace and use it with a miniature mixing bowl. #minigoals. buy here:

8.  secret ingredients: the new yorker book of food and drink by david remnickshopping

highly recommended for anyone who is in the food industry or wishes they were. buy here:

9.  pad of butter notepad by chronicle books81+sZznDZKL

i can’t believe it’s not butter!!!!!! buy here:

10.  béchamel: le cordon bleu collector’s bear by le cordon bleubear1

the cutest stuffed-animal for your dog to rip to pieces this holiday season. bye béchamel!! buy here:

all photography by credited shops. 

post51 // 48 hours in paris


bonjour! i hope your november is off to a wonderful start, with the bundling of scarves and sipping of hot cocoas already making you feel the coziest you’ve been all year. at least that’s how i feel 🤗.

it’s truly fall here in paris! the leaves have almost all fallen off their mama branches and the temperature is starting to drop. daylight savings is past and i can now wake up without it being pitch dark outside, woohoo! in celebration of this beautiful season, i compiled a 48 hour guide to paris, specific to this leafy, festive, and warming (check) time of year! some notes:

this guide is not for the list checker. no, it doesn’t include every major sight and you may not recognize every area or name. instead, this guide is for someone who wants to really see paris: to see the brasseries, to see french people sunbathing in luxembourg gardens, to see what they eat and how they are. of course, there’s some great food in here too. so if you’re interested, hop on board!

day one, morning


pastry breakfast at a local boulangerie: all hail the boulangerie! for those of you who were stumped by the word like i was, it translates to a bakery, specifically one focused on bread products. many boulangeries in paris also include viennoserie — typically laminated bread products i.e. puff pastry, croissants, the pain au chocolat above — and sometimes patisserie — a term you’re likely more familiar with, indicating pastries i.e. macaroons, tarts, etc. regardless of your hotel (though i’ve listed some great suggestions below!), you’ll be seconds away from a solid boulangerie in paris. they’re frequent and smell wonderfully doughy from the outside sidewalk so don’t be shy — head in and pick up a croissant! find it! but do note that many boulangeries are not open on sundays

rodin museum: this museum is a true treat in the fall as the gardens are shades of green, yellow, orange and everything in between. the artist behind the museum is auguste rodin, a french sculptor during the late 19th-century, early 20th-century. below you can see his (arguably) most famous work, Le Penseur a.k.a The Thinker. additionally, the gardens and museum offer a fabulous view of the hôtel des invalides. 77 rue de varenne, 75007 paris, open 10am-5:45pm every day except monday



lunch at kapunka: it’d be a shame for you to come all the way to paris and not taste some of the incredible ethnic foods this city has to offer. it’s half the fun (or more)! kapunka is a thai restaurant that i have absolutely fallen in love with here. musts: tom kha kaï soup to start, pad thaï, and their mango rice. 32 rue delambre, 75014 paris (with other locations in paris), open 11:30am-3:30pm and 6:30pm-11pm every day but sunday


a walk through luxembourg garden: there’s no prettier place to digest a big lunch than here. if the sun’s out, grab a seat like a true parisian and get some color on your face. despite the crowds, this place can make you feel miles away from the city. jardin du luxembourg, 75006 paris


snack time at pierre hermé: depending on how long you sunbathed, you might be a bit hungry! never fear. ditch the touristed and overblown macaroons at ladurée and head to pierre hermé. their entire showcase, macaroons included, are exquisite and definitely something you can’t get anywhere else! my favorite? their salted caramel macaroon. 72 rue bonaparte, 75006 paris, open 10am-7pm daily


if you’re like me than the following activities don’t begin without a nap. grab some quick zzz’s before heading out for a night on the town!


walk through saint-germain: it’s hard not to be enchanted with this neighborhood. saint-germain is filled with gothic architecture, pedestrian-only streets, live music, bustling brasseries, shops, the list goes on! for a weekend night, it’s a wonderful place to soak up culture and enjoy the evening. walking through saint-germain’s alleys and under it’s arches will definitely wake you up and work up an appetite for dinner.

dinner at le relais de l’entrecote: now, there are many, many, many!!! steak frites restaurants throughout paris. i am not here to say le relais de l’entrecote is the best as i haven’t been to them all. but, if you are looking for a solid steak frites option, this is a great one. service is wonderful, food is served immediately, and there’s a beautiful indoor-outdoor patio out front. there’s no menu so all you have to choose is wine. voilà! 20 rue saint-benoît (with other locations in paris), 75006 paris, open 12pm-2:30pm and 7pm-11:30pm daily

second round of wine at bar etna: a cozy bar in the middle of a bustling street! bar etna will make you feel at home, and their wine doesn’t hurt either. 33 rue mazarine, 75006 paris, open 6:30pm-2am tuesday-saturday

day two, morning

breakfast at fragments coffee shop and cafe: i linked to this gem of a cafe last week in last week’s post and i still can’t get enough! their sweet potato cake is superb and though you may never feel as cool as the hipsters who walk in here, it’s a great place to people watch the young and hip frenchies. 76 rue de tournelles, 75003 paris, open 10am-6pm on weekends

sit in the place des vosges: this is the oldest planned square in all of paris and boy was it planned well. take in the sun and grab a seat at one of the endless benches that line the square. place des vosges, 75004 paris


lunch at glou: luckily you didn’t fill up too much at fragments, leaving plenty of room for a delicious lunch at glou. though they offer both entrees and small plates, i’d recommend the latter. highlights: comte cheese, eggplant. 101 rue vieillle du temple, 75003 paris, open 12pm-5pm and 7:30pm-11pm on weekends


shopping in le marais or le pompidou: your choice! in terms of shopping, le marais is the place for interiors and clothing. my favorite shop in the marais has to be les milles feuilles (translates to the thousand leaves), an interior shop. give it a look! 2 rue rambuteau, 75003 paris, open 10:30am-7:30pm on saturdays and 2pm-7pm on sundays

and the pompidou! check out the exhibits they’re running as you get ready for your trip. some are pretty unbelievable. not to mention, the architecture of the building itself: a staircase you don’t want to miss! place georges-pompidou, 75004 paris 


walk down to aux merveilleux de fred: eat a true french meringue, covered in chocolate shavings, exploding with buttercream from all sides. sounds good, right? the meringues at aux merveilleux de fred are so beautiful and inviting, you might just have to have more than one. think of it as dinner’s appetizer! 24 rue de pont louis-philippe (with other locations in paris), 75004 paris, open 9am-8pm


eat dinner at la régalade saint-honoré: come here for the soufflé. stay for the soufflé. eat the soufflé. 106 rue saint honoré, 75001 paris, open 12pm-2:30pm and 7pm-11pm on weekends

nightcap at harry’s: end your trip with a nightcap at the home of the bloody mary and the french 75. known as the original cocktail bar, this “new york bar” was a popular spot for expats in the 1920s. with history and liquor on your side, head to harry’s for a true time warp. 5 rue daunou, 75002 paris, open 12pm-2am on saturdays and 4pm-1am on sundays

lodging recos

hotel relais saint germain 9 carrefour de l’odeon, 75006 paris

hotel emile 2 rue Mahler, 75004 paris

or this uber chic airbnb rue delambre, 75014 montparnasse

planning your trip yet?

all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs with the exception of the 6th photo by sofitel, and the 5th and last photo by her mama, caroline fawcett


post49 // french wine, explained


hey hey! happy tuesday! the past couple weekends have been a crazy whirlwind of adventures for me sandwiched between days and nights spent cake making and fish gutting during the week. i know it’s only tuesday but i hope you’ll have a glass of wine tonight after hearing my learnings from the most informative wine tour there ever was…


a significant wine program is offered at Le Cordon Bleu, where students learn about wine and food pairings as well French wine, it’s history, how it’s made, how it tastes. though i’m not enrolled in their wine program, the department offers a wine tour of the loire valley each trimester. they didn’t have to ask me twice to join! along with some friends from my cuisine and pastry program, and my mom who was in paris visiting at the time, we set out at the crack of dawn for the two hour trip south of paris.


first stop: Vincent Carême Winery in vernou-sur-brenne

if the entrance to this wine cellar wasn’t enchanting enough, margaux, the winery owner’s oversized dachshund was. margaux accompanied us on our morning visit through the Carême vineyards and well into our wine tasting there. the region we visited within the loire valley was known for it’s sparkling white wines, and specifically vouvray at the Carême vineyards. vouvray wine is made from the chenin blanc grape. it can be produced into both sparkling and still wines, my favorite from our tasting being their sparkling vouvray.


wondering how they get such great sparkling wine? here are some reasons:
  1. fermentation. the actual sparklization (i made up a word today!) of the wine occurs because it has been carbonated — in Carême’s case by an extra fermentation. this fermentation happens as sugar ferments into alcohol. most interesting to the Caréme wines though was that they don’t add additional sugars to their wine. none! instead, the natural sugars from their grapes do the work, leaving a wine that is wholly organic. it’s great for avoiding hangovers too, bye excess sugar!
  2. soil. if i learned one thing on this tour, it was that soil matters. with both vineyard visits, letting the soil do it’s own thing was of the most importance. for the Carême winery, they hand-pick all their grapes, limiting as much machinery as possible used from grape to bottle. this way, they can ensure they snag all their grapes in entirety, and don’t damage the vineyard with machines trudging through.
  3. weather. as the past year has been a cool one, Carême and other vouvray producers in the area will shift to making more dry and sparkling wines for production. if the weather had been hotter and more humid, there would be more sweeter, dessert-type wines. the weather in this region is highly variable so you take great risk being a wine producer here!


second stop: La Cave restaurant in montlouis-sur-loire

a great place to rest your legs and visit when in the loire valley. the restaurant offers delicious french fare, accompanied of course by wine from the region. make sure you get their meringue for dessert! it’s unmatched in lemony flavor, and size. and fyi, cave doesn’t mean cave in french, it mean’s cellar!


third stop: Domaine de la Taille aux Loups with Mr. Jacky Blot in montlouis-sur-loire

just a quick drive from la cave sits domaine de la taille aux loups, the vineyards of jacky blot. that’s my mom and i outside his home and tasting room!

jacky took us on a ride through his nearly 5000-acer vineyard property and boy did we learn something. unlike the Carême vineyard, Jacky hadn’t yet picked his grapes. this meant that we actually got to go into his fields and see the grapes just as they were about to be picked (he ended up picking them a week later!).

jacky explained to us one of the most important stages of the grapes for his production: noble rot. i’d never heard of the stage myself but for this specific vineyard, acheiving noble rot is necessary in producing their wines. to get a grape to noble rot, the grape must be highly ripe and have taken on a grey layer of fungus on the outside skin. yes, fungus sounds gross but i promise it makes a damn good wine!

here jacky shows the inside of a noble rot — yes, he sacrificed a grape for us! — and you can see it resembles a raisin in the middle. for this reason, the noble rot grapes can produce highly concentrated sweet wines. yum!

there’s a very small time frame between when the grape takes on noble rot and then develops grey rot, a damaging form of the rot that will ruin the grape for production. as you can see in the image of the grape bundle above, some of those grapes have taken on grey rot and shriveled, thus unable to use in production. as we visited, jacky mentioned how he’s been checking the weather like crazy, figuring out which exact day to pick his grapes.


if you hadn’t deducted already, my title is a bit misleading as i couldn’t possibly explain all of french wine to you. that would take a very long book and decades of research! but, i did learn an enormous amount about wine and grape production and i hope you enjoyed the knowledge bit too. below you can find the two wine producers’ information and their profiles on they both have tasting rooms where you can drop in and visit but you might have to do some extra sweet-talking if you want to get into their vineyards 😉

and in this week’s other stuff!!!

  • best. leather bags. ever. get you one! (they ship internationally and through etsy)
  • if you’ve got a knack or interest in politics, sign up for my brother rob’s weekly newsletter! starting five supplies you with all the know-how to keep up with today’s state of politics

that’s all folks! xx

Vincent Carême Winery 1 rue du haut clos 37210 Vernou sur Brenne
Domaine de la Taille aux Loups  8, rue des Aîtres – Husseau 37 270 Montlouis sur Loire