Thursday, May 12, 2022

Chocolate Retreat in Provence


I forgot on Monday to mention I’m running off next day (6:00 am /TGV) to Villeneuve les AvignonIn fact I overslept (a first) and woke up at 5:01! Oh la la la la

Somehow I made it to the train, just.🤸‍♂️Villeneuve is a stunning, small, medieval Provencal village you never heard of, just 10 minutes outside Avignon .

I am here for a 5-day chocolate 

And jam retreat. And yes, it is a religious experience. I lost count of the times I died & went to heaven this week.

Darling  Shannon and Wlady Grochowski of La Châtelaine Chocolat Co. of Montana and Burgundy are our celestial guides. “So kind of you to let me come”,😊 Shannon and Wlady (is 100% Parisian btw).

We stayed at heavenly l’Atelier de hotel.My room is much bigger than my Paris chambre de bonne.

My atelier in the Hotel de l’Atelier. 
I am trying hard to remember what croissants look like. Practice makes perfect🥐🥐🥐
Across the street Shannon explains about les herbes de Provence and the famous Provençal garrigue
We will infuse our tempered chocolate with thyme, menthe & jasmin Shannon hand-picked herself. 
Such pretty place settings Shannon set out for each of us! 
We attack the chocolate.
We try desperately not to give into dipping into the Valrhona melted chocolate 🍫 with our fingers. Some of us succumb. Oscar Wilde said, “ The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it”.
After much blood, sweat and tears over the melting chocolate
We go back to the hotel’s outdoor garden for an l’apero and grignote/snacks)
Then a strawberry tarte (4 different kinds of berries) Shannon threw together. Oh la la la
Meet Gemma on the team. I am allowed to walk her as much as I want, though she flirts with everyone equally and not as discriminating as she might be.
More croissant studies from day 2, jam-making day!🤸‍♂️ More to come dear PBers. Please share and visit my Etsy shop for lovely Real Paris mail 💌 in your mailbox 📮 


  1. Anonymous2:10 AM

    This is a delightful post and I did so enjoy the trip through your words. Fabulous!!

  2. Anonymous2:27 AM

    Fun, fun, fun. And all we got to do is make wine.

  3. This village looks idyllic! I am certain you are having another “time of your life”!!! Years ago I had a short visit to Avignon visiting the Popes Palace and wandering around the old city streets.
    Did you get to keep that neat red string bag that was used as a place mat? I hope so.
    Have fun!🗼❤️🇫🇷

  4. Green with envy.Green..Cascade green.☺️☺️☺️

  5. Anonymous8:48 AM

    Can I kidnap Gemma? Sigh … Enjoy the chocolate, sounds heavenly. Thank you!

  6. All of the above is true and more so.
    We need more jam & chocolate retreats in this world.
    A very happy experience in an exquisite site.

    Every one is falling hard for Gemma. She goes with the person with the most tidbits. I have hardly eaten a thing here.
    A great new kind of diet/regime.
    At her most insistant she puts her full body weight on one of your toes!
    One can not say no to Gemma.

  7. Suzanne10:05 AM

    Looks like a beautiful place. Found myself singing “sur le pont d’Avignon, l’on y Danes, l’on y danse…”

  8. Holy cow…heaven…def stay on! 🍓❤️

  9. Thank you Carol, yes we are indeed having lots of fun, having you around with our other guest is a pleasure, and Gemma gets spoiled by everyone and especially you ahahah. She will go running with me next week to get back in shape.

  10. Anonymous6:35 PM

    Oh how lovely! An exquisite place in which to learn and taste and experience such joy😍 Enjoy, dear Carol😊

  11. I can’t think of a better vacation…chocolate making…and jam? Yes, please! Everything looks absolutely delightful. The food looks irresistible and the hotel looks lovely. Enjoy your stay, Carol. ❤️

  12. Kathy T9:30 PM

    I am lucky to call Shannon and Wlady as my friends. Kind souls and adorable together! I think I stayed in the room just below yours facing garden. What a treasure L’Hotel de L’Atelier. Lovely photos and sweet watercolors (literally!) Enjoy! Bonne dégustation!

  13. Desiree11:37 PM

    Lucky you!

  14. Cynthia4:01 AM

    Fabulous post!!!!!! Just lovely!!!!!

  15. Loving your chocolate & jam retreat. I feel I have joined you in my favorite Provençal town.

  16. just a quick note to say how much I liked your post. I went to Shannon & Wlady’s interesting! I would love to do their workshop in Burgundy. We’ve been to Auxerre before. Close to Chablis. That area is foodie heaven!

  17. looks like a great place. I'd live there in a heartbeat. I love the city and I did love Paris, but I don't want to live in the city--I love the countrysides better. Never thought I'd be that way, but it turns out I'm more content living there.

  18. Charley3:57 PM

    Beautiful! I just spent way too much time on Hotel de l’Atelier’s website. Great choice, Carol. It will be difficult to leave the hotel…or to go home!

  19. All my favorite things in one post - chocolate, berries, France, croissants, cute chien and you, dear Carol! Thank you for sharing your experience.

  20. Looks dreamy! I keep adding more and more ideas to my Paris/France travel notes from your wonderful stories. Thanks for inspiring us!

  21. The photo of the cheese board and the grignote had me. Must have been a brilliant time.


Love hearing from you