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Food + Drink

Get Your Fix of French Country Cooking

In the quiet, idyllic countryside of Médoc, a wine region north of Bordeaux, Mimi Thorisson spends her days whipping up decadent feasts in the kitchen of her French chateau. Here, we try not to drool (or get too jealous) as we pore over her second cookbook, French Country Cooking: Meals and Moments from a Village in the Vineyard.

A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.

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When food blogger and author Mimi Thorisson and her husband Oddur serendipitously happened upon the chateau at No 1 rue de Loudenne, in Médoc, it was after a failed day of house hunting. While the couple acknowledged that the enormous countryside manor wasn’t the exact type of home they’d been looking for, something just clicked.

The grand home in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Saint-Yzans-de-Médoc needed a lot of work, but it had a rich culinary history, and a distinct “derelict glamour,” as Thorisson put it. In its past lives, the house had functioned as a wine-making chateau, hotel, restaurant, and family home. So it only made sense that after moving in, Thorisson would take to writing her second cookbook – French Country Cooking: Meals and Moments from a Village in the Vineyard in the storied chateau’s kitchen.

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Sea scallops with cauliflower puree and capers © 2016 by Oddur Thorisson

The cookbook aptly begins with a proverb from the Count of Neufchateau: “To build the living room before the kitchen of the house would be ruin,” something that clearly resonated with Thorisson as her new home’s remodel started first with the kitchen. In that room, she completed 100 simple but still lavish recipes that would be accompanied by 150 of her husband’s photographs, including not only mouth-watering food, but their 7 children and band of 10 Fox Terriers, Jack Russells, and lone German Pointer.

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© 2016 by Oddur Thorisson

Thorisson’s recipes navigate starters, main courses, Sunday family suppers, side dishes, desserts, and more. Some were inspired by the house’s former inhabitants, while others revolve around seasonal produce. One thing’s certain after you flip through the glossy pages: you’ll be yearning for your very own French countryside retreat, and your stomach will be growling for roast duck with cherries, quail stuffed with foie gras, and a thick slice of everyday pear cake.

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Quail stuffed with foie gras © 2016 by Oddur Thorisson

French Country Cooking Copyright © 2016 by Marie-France Thorisson. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Oddur Thorisson. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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