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Durham, NC 27701

Writing Workshops & Retreats - France, Italy, North Carolina


à Table

Mimi Herman

We're hard at work on the scratch-and-sniff technology, because we want you to experience the food at Chateau du Pin the way we do, by walking down the spiral stone steps to the scent of chef Anne Villedey's boeuf bourguignon or the delicate taste of her beurre blanc (which took her 30 days to master) over filet de sandre, a fish found only in a small section of the Loire River. In the meantime, the pictures below will have to suffice.

Each morning, we begin with coffee, French yogurt in pale blue pots, fruits and juices and of course, fresh croissants.

Look in the middle for the almond croissant, so soft with almond paste that you have to eat it with both hands. You won't see any pain au chocolate in this picture, because we couldn't wait to eat them.

Each evening, Anne calls us to dinner with the phrase that makes us swoon: "à table."

We may begin with a tarte aux champignons


or a salad with fresh salmon, smoked duck and Anne's homemade fois gras.


Our second course might be the boeuf bourguignon

or tender broccoli and mushrooms with noodles for the vegetarians among us, with flavors that would tempt even those of us who never finished our vegetables.

I could tell you how good the sandre with beurre blanc tastes -

or I could just show you.

Even after all this, who can resist the cheese course, with three or four astounding cheeses each evening?

It's a good thing we have a separate dessert stomach, so we have room for mousse au chocolate with crème Anglaise

or Anne's perfectly blended tiramisu, which she mastered while working in Italy,

or her tarte au poivre, which is, as she says, a nice change from the usual apples.

Look soon for a video of Anne caramelizing her crème brûlée, but in the meantime, look below for Anne herself, with John and Mimi.

Photos by Tobias and Mimi.  

For more about our week, visit Tobias at

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