In a quiet village surrounded by legendary vineyards, blogger Mimi Thorisson has transformed the beautiful villa where she lives with her family into an intimate cooking school and pop-up restaurant. Here, her story and seven recipes from her kitchen.Share
When Mimi Thorisson and her photographer husband, Oddur, decided to take a leap of faith four years ago and move from Paris to the Médoc, a remote wine region in Bordeaux, they had no idea what to expect other than access to some very good vineyards. Inspired by the Médoc’s abundance of ingredients and rustic recipes, Mimi started a blog called Manger. Almost from the beginning it attracted a huge following, thanks in no small part to her great sense of style (imagine The Pioneer Woman in France wearing Balenciaga dresses and Hunter boots). Only a few months after her first post she was offered a cookbook deal and a TV series.
Mimi was raised in Hong Kong by a Chinese father and a French mother: “I grew up an only child, obsessively searching out the best squid skewers with my father. And in the summers, we’d go to France and I’d spend the whole time in the kitchen cooking with my aunt and grandmother.”
For the first few years in the Médoc, the growing Thorisson family (Mimi and Oddur have seven children and more than a dozen terriers) rented a stone farmhouse in the middle of a forest. Then, about a year ago, a friend of a friend showed them a faded but grand L-shaped stone villa built in the 1870s that was once part of a larger château in the quiet village of Saint-Yzans-de-Médoc. Outside was a cobblestone courtyard with a wrought-iron gate; inside, a sweeping staircase, two kitchens and a dozen bedrooms. The owner had left the interiors fairly intact: elaborately patterned wallpaper, patinated red-and-white-tiled floors, carved wooden antique furniture. “I knew it was our fate,” Mimi says.
And that was before she learned that the villa had once been owned by a charming woman named Plantia, who in the 1950s ran a small restaurant out of the house, a favorite of the local wine merchants. As Mimi and Oddur renovated the rooms, Mimi came across Plantia’s old recipes and photographs. “I’m collecting everything in a box,” she says. “I will use it for my second cookbook.” (Read more.)