Miss Maggie’s French country fare

Childhood stays in France left an indelible mark on Héloïse Brion, who turned her back on fashion to concentrate on food adventures. Here she reveals her journey and chooses three favourite recipes.

I grew up between two countries: the United States and France.

Throughout each school year in Florida, life followed the rhythm of regular holidays and celebrations like Thanksgiving, Easter, and birthdays.

For these festive events, my mother and I would decorate our home with care to fit the occasion.

During my summer vacations in France, the rhythm shifted, and daily family meals in the French tradition set the pace of each passing day.

In our family’s old mountain farmhouse tucked away in the Pyrenees, spontaneity was the norm.

Between friends passing through, neighbours from nearby villages dropping by, and lost hikers, it was not unusual to find twenty of us gathered around the table. Every meal was a party!

With no electricity, we cooked over a wood-burning fire, and everyone took part in preparing the meals.

We would source our ingredients locally, like the best peaches and tomatoes from a local farmer friend and goat cheese from a farmhouse on the mountain opposite our home.

Memories from these summer days are deeply etched in my mind – the fragrant bread, peach-apricot jam bubbling away over the flames, honey from my great-grandfather’s hives, old hand-embroidered table ...

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