Bon Appetit!

Find something you are passionate about and

keep tremendously interested in it.

                                                   ~ Julia Child 

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. Please allow time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the seventh in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along?)

artisan samplings

In the true Mediterrean style, dining al fresco prevails at Chateau Dumas. The polished terra cotta terrace just off the chateau’s dining room is perfect foil for leisurely watching the interplay of summer light and color as the sun quietly sets over the tapestry of the French countryside. The simplicity of the centuries-old terrace allows the dramatic beauty of this Mediterrean region to take center stage.

Terrace view

Dinner on the Terrace 2

In celebration of some of southwest France’s finest offerings, sommelier Laurent Zimmerman presents a cheese, bread and wine tasting. Ah, what can be more lovely than the bread and the freshest cheeses of the region?  The warm bread aroma is amazing.

Laurent welcomes the Chateau’s guests with warm French enthusiasm, and tells of the sampling process for the evening. The goat cheese samples are served with the white wine. The red wine is accompanied by the cheese from cow’s milk. The charming Chatelaine de Dumas effortlessly provides interpretation for those of us less fluent in French. I am quite grateful.

Laurent 2

Laurent 3


The tasting is quite an International event amongst our tiny band of travelers. Laurent’s stories are translated from French to English by the adept Chatelaine Lizzie. Then, a generous traveler translates into Spanish, and another traveler translates into German. A five nation tasting–quite amazing! Laurent pauses and listens attentively… to English … to Spanish … to German. Travelers ask questions. The questions are translated from Spanish or German to English — then to French. Laurent responds in French . . . Yes! it is rather lively and colorful!

The regional goat cheeses are featured first. Each of the hand-crafted artisan cheeses are to be eaten in a specific order ranging from mild to more pungent. The delicious cheese variety samples are quite unique in flavor and vary in texture from one another.  Most of the cheese varieties have edible rinds, including one excellent cheese with an splendid ash rind. In particular, the Chevre du Quercy is an outstanding local artisan variety, and is a favorite of our merry band of travelers.

Laurent and Goat Cheese Sample

 Next, stories about the cheeses made from cow’s milk are presented. Some of the cheeses are both beloved and reviled for their earthy aroma. They are all outstanding. Mais, j’adore le fromage.

More cheese

Goat Cheese FAV 2

The evening’s sampling includes tastes of three speciality breads of the region–multi-grain, walnut and whole grain fig. While all are delicious, the fig bread is amazing and is made from fresh figs gathered locally. I consider how to slip a few loaves of the fig bread into my luggage for the return trip–the bread is spectacular! Alas, maybe some for breakfast tomorrow? A quest for a fig bread recipe lies ahead. Ideas?

Fig Bread FAV

 Goat Cheese and Bread Sample

sweet endings

It is nearly 9:00 p.m. — time for the evening meal following a brief intermezzo from the superb tastings on this picturesque summer eve. A plethora of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are offered for the evening meal. Mediterrean cooking is quite wonderful — I feel so healthy.  The finale of tonight’s meal is an amazing fruit creation.

The adorable and incredibly talented MamaJo creates feasts befitting of kings and queens! This well-versed and former British university professor, prepares daily masterpieces at Chateau Dumas. Her beautiful desserts are steller using local fresh fruits. I consider whether or not she may enjoy an eager apprentice?!


assorted desserts

Pear gateau

rustic apricot pie

What gorgeous edible “gifts” the talented  MammaJo serves-up  to guests at Chateau Dumas each day! The little packages are almost too pretty to eat tonight. I decide to look for one of her cookbooks she authored. . .

Apple bundle dessert


A beautiful evening shared with travelers from around the world is ending. As I begin to slumber, the simple — yet lovely — artwork on a wine bottle from the tastings comes to mind. It is rather intriguing. It simply says, tout ce qu’il faut” — all that is needed or necessary.

all that is needed wine FAV

My thoughts in the wee morning hours become quite contemplative . . . there is so much wisdom in the lovely little art adhered to the side of  the dark brown glass. I am so thankful for all that I have been given — it is all I need. My eyes are heavy. It is futile to resist the soothing effects of French lavender fragrances finding their way to my second story windows. Bon soir et rêves doux! [Good night and sweet dreams!]

The final lovely sights of  a once-in-lifetime dream trip to France are just around the corner.

à bientôt mes amis!

Won’t you journey with me awhile on this amazing trip in a gorgeous countryside chateau? Other adventures are at: 

 French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

See what other’s are “hooked on” at Julia’s Hooked on Houses, and find out more about Melissa’s inspiring beauty at The Inspired Home.

Read about how everyone is enjoying the outdoors at A Southern Daydreamer.



Filed under baking, Cooking, France, Travel

29 responses to “Bon Appetit!

  1. This was a very interesting post.

  2. You have a beautiful blog. Thank you.

  3. lynne@lynnesgiftsfromtheheart

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by. What a fabulous trip you’re having. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful pictures with us. I feel as if I’m right there. I know you hate to see the trip end. The desserts look so incredibly yummy.. Looking forward to more..
    hugs ~lynne~

  4. Your son

    I am still waiting for that bread you put in your suitcase! Or did it vanish on your trip home?

    Lets try and find some of these recipes and go to town in the kitchen!! Especially the pear thing, it looks fantasticly delicious.

  5. Kim

    Thanks for sharing your pictures! Everything looks absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to see what is next!

  6. Dear Debbykay,

    What an incredible view for your al fresco dining! I am certain it made your dining experience all the more enjoyable to be surrounded by such beauty. The cheeses and breads look and sound so delicious! I can only imagine how good it all tasted! How wonderful to have listened to all of the different language translations of your fellow traveling companions.

    Oh, I do hope you can find a recipe for the fig bread, or come up with one on you own, dear friend! I love fresh figs, and can see why you would want to bring some of it home! Those desserts look so delicious and beautiful! Such a lovely lady that prepared them.

    Your sentiments are so lovely Debbykay, coming directly from your loving and grateful heart!

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos! I look forward to your next post!

    Love and blessings to my kindred heart in the north,

  7. ahhh…those pastries look absolutely perfect and scrumptious!
    bon appetit….

  8. Ah, the wine, the bread, the cheese…, what a tease. I need to go to France (used to vacation on the Riviera, long time ago though).

  9. My tummy is about to pop and then the pastries!!!

  10. Oh man this looks so good!! Where do I sign up for all that good looking food?

  11. The idea of so many languages being spoken! What a truly magnificent experience. The fig bread looks divine and the pastry “packages” are a tempting -looking treat for the eyes!

  12. pk

    Great post and photos! I’m a little hungry now though… 🙂

  13. Interesting post. I have a fig tree and made a jam, a conserve and a quick bread this week.

  14. It’s so much fun to travel and meet people from different parts of the world 🙂 I can imagine how frenzied but fun it was to be part of a five-language conversation!!

    The fig bread sounds intriguing — I hope you can find a recipe to make it yourself 🙂

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  15. You have totally made my tummy grumble 🙂

    What a wonderful post.

    Thanks for sharing.

    TTFN~~ Claudia ♥ ♥

  16. It is all about the bread, for me! I couldn’t wait to get to that part of your post. Oh my!

    That had to be delightful!

    Becky K.
    Hospitality Lane

  17. Now you’ve done it! I’m off to the kitchen. 🙂

    Have a great weekend.

  18. I’m so enjoying your recap of your week at the Chateau, seeing many of the same treasured memories through your eyes. If you find the recipe for that delicious fig bread, please let me know. I wanted to bring it home with me, too!

  19. OMG that’s a delcious looking spread. I hope you have a good weekend.

  20. What a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Such lovely photos, and I am sure a wonderful trip! Love the wine logo!

  22. Amy

    Great post! Everything looks yummy!

  23. Delicious! Such beautiful post.


  24. Hi! Delicious! Such beautiful post.


  25. What a feast! Mmmm, bread and cheese, my favourite! Those desserts looked scrumptious too! Thanks for sharing and Happy Wednesday to you.


  26. Your wine and cheese andcertainly deserts pictures make me so hungry.
    Have a nice day
    Riet, Holland

  27. Thanks for making our world a much smaller place. I would have loved to have joined you on at this table. ~ Robyn

  28. How absolutely lovely.

  29. Pingback: Charming French Shutters « rose cottage gardens and farm

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