Author Jana Kolpen "The Secrets of Pistoulet" ~ A Fantasy Visit . . .


This week I'm joining the Novel Bakers as we share our impressions of three of Jana Kolpen's charming books, 
beginning with "The Secrets of Pistoulet".

>>But first a notice<< 

This one is more picture intensive than my usual posts,
 so depending upon the speed of my photo storage place,
your server and your computer ~
there may be a delay while the pictures load. 

My apologies for any inconvenience, friends.

Click image to learn more about the book.

A little background information ~

From the publisher:

"Everyone who passes through Pistoulet has a story which unfolds. All who spend time there leave with their hearts and minds transformed. Some never leave.

There is magic and mystery in the farmhouse known as Pistoulet, nestled in the remote, untraveled southwestern French countryside. ... The Secrets of Pistoulet tells the gentle tale of the healing power of magical soups and foods, while celebrating the redemptive and sustaining nature of shared meals among friends and family. With fold-out letters, removable recipe cards and pockets, and special vellum pages..." 

and a brief synopsis from the publisher's site:

"Far away in the remote, untraveled southwestern French countryside, there is a small village which contains two homes, an eleventh-century church, and a very special farm known as Pistoulet." Thus begins The Secrets of Pistoulet, a charming and beautiful little book filled with food, magic, and love. Part fiction, part cookbook, this richly illustrated book is reminiscent of the popular Griffin & Sabine:  An Extraordinary Correspondence
, with its collection of letters to be removed from envelopes, and recipes tucked into their own little pockets. Drawings, photographs, snippets of diaries, and mysterious maps decorate this tale of Mademoiselle J., who arrives at Pistoulet with a broken heart. There she is welcomed by the farm's tenants: Madame Claude; Monsieur Andre; the black dog, Marcel; and a chicken that lays golden eggs. Soon, such soul-strengthening dishes as Potage of Babble (guaranteed to cease excessive chatter), Potage of Passion (Cooks beware: this soup has been known to result in marriage proposals!), and Tart of Sunshine (sure to heat both body and soul) have Mademoiselle J. on the road to recovery."


Okay, it's me again ... Mari ~

As you probably know I do not live in France. 
I live in a wet and wild area of the Pacific Northwest in the USA.

That being said ~ 

Help!  Please dig deep and engage your most 
concentrated and vivid imagination as I attempt to turn 
my home/property into a special, ancient 
place located in the South of France. 

Ya, sure.

I invite you to pour a cup (or glass) of your favorite
beverage and come along as I share my (ridiculously loose
interpretation of some parts of this imaginative
little book into pictures  . . .



Here we go:

Please come to the back of the house, it's much cooler here
under the canopy of tall trees ~

A little nibble and chat before our meal ~

Some cheese and crackers, and perhaps a glass of chilled 
wine from our Terrior?

It's true, most of the roses have passed until the Fall flush, 
but here's a modest, casual bouquet of other flowers for our small table.

The blue cheese is local and the other is a creamy Boursin-style . . .

...  I made the Boursin-style cheese from thick yogurt and herbs from the garden,
it's creamy and tangy at the same time (and it's good for you!) Easy to make as well.

A closer look at the bouquet ...

And the local Blue Cheese ~

These are real, picked fresh from the garden, but . . .

These below are not. 

My hydrangeas are a couple of weeks
away from blooming. But this is a fantasy post, remember?!  *grin* :)

Well, the sun is beginning to shine on the table and
it's getting a little warm out here ~

Would you like to go inside to finish our repast?
It will be just a simple meal of Soup and Bread...

With freshly made butter, just for you.

And a bowl of a Potage of Passion ~ 
Vegetable Soup, with which I took a few liberties. For instance 
substituting white kidney beans for the potatoes in the recipe, and changing
up the herbs and vegetables a bit.

And we each get a herbed "Celestial Crouton"  (recipe from the book.)

My star and crescent cookie cutters are too large for these croutons, so I
made the crescents by cutting the bread into rounds with the rim of a glass,
then -off set-  cut a section (a bite) out  of the bread-round to form
 the crescent using the same glass.

Since the title of the book reminds me of the French condiment
Pistou (which I usually float as a garnish on soup), I offer a
little bowl of it to spread on our bread if you like, or you can put
it in your soup instead.

Just a humble vegetable soup, but soothing, healthful and very satisfying.


And for dessert (again, I veered away from the recipes in the book)...

But in the story we learn our main character Mademoiselle J. was invited by

"the very beautiful and gracious Nathalie to stay in her Paris 
home overlooking Notre Dame, moments from the 
best glaces in the world."

And we also learn that "Modemoiselle J. loves glaces."

So I made Fresh Peach Sorbet with a hint of sweet almonds,
I think it's close enough to a glacé*wink*

Peach Sorbet
Just a very few ingredients, and if you have some sort of
ice cream maker this recipe is soo easy!

This recipe is identical to the one I make, which has been around for years. 

For a change I added a few drops of pure almond extract 
along with the good vanilla extract in the recipe. Almond pairs
so beautifully with the flavor of peaches.

You can make this with either fresh or frozen peaches.
Sorbets are dairy-free if you have lactose issues, 
and if you have dietary concerns about sugar 
you can sweeten it with a Stevia product.

Thank you, my friends, for coming to visit and play today!
(The next time you come by perhaps the real hydrangeas will be blooming.)

Good bye faux flowers, until I need to pull you
out of storage again.  :)

Ending with a quote from the sheath of  this sweet book:

"The earth gives us food to nourish our bodies and we prepare 
the food with love to feed our souls and we serve it 
with compassion to make us whole."

~ Le Tresor of Pistoulet"

~ gros bisous, mes amis ~

Au Revior until Wednesday when we'll be visiting


And a big thank you goes out to the Novel Bakers for 
inviting me to play along with such talented ladies.

Here are links so you can visit their blogs about Jana Kolpen's books:

Home is Where the Boat is 

Rattlebridge Farm

A Quiet Life


  1. Oh my goodness!! Fantastic Mari!! I was swept away!

  2. You have swept me away with your Jardin de la Masion! Your photos, wonderful table under the canopy of trees, bouquet and cheese...*sigh* Your Potage and Pistou look like they would no doubt cause extreme ecstasy and feed the soul! Your peach sorbet is a beautiful & delicious finish~ I feel alot of anxiety about travelling to Italy and Ireland with you next :)

  3. Oh you had me hook line and sinker with the first photo where I see our sign:) But waht a DEAR dear planter that is..
    Then all the settings:) and our bowls:)

    You have made me want to read this cute book.
    You're in your element here Mary.
    Tasteful..simple elegance..
    LOVE every page of your book.It's a reread and a keeper.

  4. PS forgot to say love that pic of your pretty home..I still remember the Christmas tree:) and my borage just bloomed I took pics in the murky weather yesterday..I love that herb

  5. Wonderful! I especially loved the sweet, delicate bouquet. I can just imagine sitting at that little table.

  6. Pam, Mary, Monique, and Janie ~ Thank you all, SO much for your sweet comments! You've made my day. xo

  7. Yoo Hoo Jain, if you're out there?! Your comment got stuck in my mailbox and again, it's not posting on the blog for some reason... that's not fair! So I'm posting it here:

    a quiet life has left a new comment on your post "Author Jana Kolpen "The Secrets of Pistoulet" ~ A ...":

    omg, i got goosebumps with the very first pic... too many things i love in one post, sensory overload, danger, danger, will rogers! (imagine my arms flailing and head turning 360 degrees now please)!

    you can barely pull me away from your first shot, how freaking adorable is that!!! i have that same plaque too, i have been so uncreative and now i see the very PERFECT USE! i am wild over your herbs...

    your house is so adorable, you have me cracking up with your wee asides ;-)

    but your garden is melting me... your table, its so french, so you, so lovely... i love your collected flowers, so sweet... but that gorgeous cheese, oolala! AND YOU MADE IT! heck, this goes beyond churning butter! you must tell me your recipe please~

    all your flowers are like litlte fantasties to me, heavy sigh! but your soup, with that giant perfect moon floating in pistou, FABULOUS! and then a glaces, i missed that, so glad you did not!

    oh girl i sure hope you had fun because i relished my morning reading and ohhing and ahhing this picture perfect post... and i had to stop to steal for pins too, because you know i love beautiful things, and frankly your pics always have enchanted and delighted me, and now when you mix food with books and pleasure and jardins, i am over the moon! thank you so much for sharing pistoulet with us, what a treat!


    Thank you Jain! It was fun ~ I must say you, Michael Lee and Mary REALLY did phenomenal posts about Pistoulet, jaw-dropping beautiful!

    Have a great week everybody.

  8. A wonderful post! I got so intrigued, I visited some other posts and relished every one of them.

  9. Bonjour,
    Une publication gourmande et tellement agréable...
    De merveilleuses photos...
    Gros bisous

  10. Thank you for taking us to the French countryside Mari style! You ladies put a lot of work into these posts for our enjoyment. I think I'll make some magical soup tonight. xo

  11. So much fun Mari, you created a beautiful illusion~your photos are lovely and the food looks so perfect~thank you for the trip to Pistoulet!

  12. I have been hanging out in virtual France a lot lately. Thanks so much for another snippet.

  13. This post was absolutely gorgeous and I have to know, where did you get the Le Jardin. I am loving that!!!!!


  14. I loved my journey to France through your lovely home.

    - The Tablescaper

  15. Lovely Mari! I have that book, and now I feel like looking for it and sifting through it again.

  16. I loved your post! I've read and own the trilogy of this book series... it's just wonderful and makes you feel like you're there. Great pictures! :-)

  17. Reading your blog is one of the best ways to start my day! Lovely!!

  18. You captured the essence of the book. Beautiful.Thank you!
    Jana Kolpen


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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