Food and Drink

i promised you another post about the little trips we took during our stay at CHATEAU ST. PIERRE DE SERJAC in the french languedoc. we have spent three extended weekends there so far, so it’s safe to say we know our way around the property and have taken full advantage of all the comforts their privately catered homes have to offer. so this time we took their advice and ventured out for two lovely expeditions. at 36 weeks pregnant (and carrying around well over 15 additional kilos) i couldn’t exactly plan entire day trips, but the crew at ‘our serjac’ knew exactly where to send us for family-and-pregnant-women-friendly little getaways.

first of all, we were taken on a guided tour of the vineyards that surround the domain. kerry and her dog oscar took us on winding little paths, and while juliet took turns chasing the dog and running away from him screaming like a terrified little diva, we listened to kerry’s fun and completely un-boring explanations about wine making, grape harvesting and vegetable foraging in the wild. we gathered wild leeks and asparagus, admired the beginnings of spring blossoming on trees and bushes, took a walk through the nearby olive grove and safely returned to the property before my back started protesting. (if you’ve seen THE LITTLE VIDEO we made about our trip last fall, you’ll see the vineyards that we filmed from up in the air.) the only thing i regretted was being pregnant at the end of the walk, because that meant no wine tasting for me. it’s a good reason to go back though – and then i also plan on visiting their brand new wine production facilities on site (and tasting everything they make!)

the other trip was my absolute favorite discovery in a long, long time – the restaurant of oyster farm TARBOURIECH. this was a true insider tip from the serjac crew, who organise private boat tours out to the actual tarbouriech oyster farms, ending with an apéritif and lunch or dinner with a view. we didn’t want to commit to more than two hours, so we opted just to have lunch at their restaurant, and that was a completely amazing experience in and of itself. when you drive up to the property, you’d never guess what you’ll find behind its walls. when we walked through the kitchen (well, the area where they keep and clean the oysters anyway), we had no idea what we would find two meters further… you guys – it’s like you walk onto this cool little ibiza-like island! the view is amazing, the vibe is relaxed and spontaneous, the decorations are nonchalant yet on point at the same time, and the food… oh my god the food. there are only maybe four options on the menu, most of which are raw, and obviously i didn’t sample any of the raw oysters. but i had the steamed mussels and heated oyster dish and it totally rocked my world. the husband had the unthankful task of sampling everything else, and it’s safe to say he was in foodie heaven. luckily we brought something for juliet to eat, because adventurous as we try to raise her, she wasn’t having any of it. but she loved the environment, there were plenty of kids looking for oyster shells on the little beach in front of the restaurant, and she had fun looking for fish in the water. it definitely was our favorite part of the entire trip, and it’s going on our ‘return-to-once-baby-two-is-here’ list.

just for your information – there are plenty more things to do around the chateau st. pierre serjac. you can rent a bike and explore on your own, or have the team come up with a good plan for you. we also wanted to visit the noilly prat production facility and museum in marseillan, which comes highly recommended and looked really pretty from the outside, but unfortunately once we got there juliet was super tired and we decided to return to the domain for her nap (ok, i admit i took a nap as well!) but that one, too, is going on our to-do list for next time. to be honest – whenever we go to serjac we think to ourselves for a split second ‘what if we get bored this time?’ but we’ve never actually thought this once we’ve arrived there. there’s something about the environment that is so relaxing and beautiful and peaceful, that makes us perfectly content just sitting in a chair on the patio – glass of wine in hand and something fresh cooking on the bbq. if you haven’t seen my previous post and don’t know what i’m talking about, then BY ALL MEANS CHECK IT OUT.

photos by stephanie duval

Holidays Are Coming

December 17, 2017 • Food and DrinkHome Decor

just popping in quickly between end of year deadlines, winter colds, weekend brunches and gift wrapping to share this table setting i created for a recent dinner with friends. what is it about this time of year that it always seems to fly by so quickly? i spend october and november in anticipation of my favorite month of the year – planning visits to christmas markets, date nights with the husband to go gift shopping, trips into the hills to go sleighing with juliet… and it always seems like we’ll have so much time to do everything multiple times, but in the end we’re lucky if we’re able to check off half of our to do list.

it’s so easy to rush through life – always in anticipation of things to come – and so much harder to live in the here and now. i’m trying really hard to appreciate the moments as i experience them, especially now that i’m seeing so many things from a new perspective through the eyes of juliet. having a kid really makes this period so much more intense and enjoyable, but i do miss some things from our old life as a couple. dinners with friends are definitely on top of that list – we used to host people all the time, and it still is one of my absolute favorite things to do.

so this year we consciously made the decision to host a few pre-christmas dinner parties to spend some time with dear friends and start enjoying the holiday season extra early. we tried to keep the menus super simple so we (okay, okay, my husband) didn’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen and we could really enjoy sitting down, talking and laughing with our friends. we don’t exactly live nearby most of them – our belgian friends need to plan a weekend and take a plane to get here, and even our friends in switzerland have to take the long drive from geneva up to our place in the hills of the jura.

so to make it worth their while, i did make an effort to create really nice table settings for each dinner. i feel like nice tableware, fresh greenery and lots of candles can make even the simplest meal feel that much more luxurious. and we really do enjoy spoiling guests in every way we can – putting drinks in their hands the minute they arrive, putting out little bites before dinner, refreshing their glass of cold sparkling water before they have to ask… leaving them wanting for nothing is such a nice way to show people you care about them. what are your favorite ways to make dinner at home with friends or family feel extra festive?

photos by stephanie duval • post created in collaboration with BRU WATER, our family’s favorite belgian sparkling water • table linen from H&M HOME • tableware from POMAX


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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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