Graciousness-makes everything look easy


Yesterday I had the delight of attending French Food Camp. The theme was Romance In France…perfect with Valentine’s Day right around the corner.



Our hostess extraordinaire was Elizabeth, the Contessa who writes Vintage Hen House. Our fabulous chef and teacher was Andrea, The French Basketeer. who offers these amazing cooking classes at her home in Laguna Beach as well as Beaune, France.


Andrea and Elizabeth

The table was set to perfection. A confection of pink, rose and white. Flowers, crystal and delicate china everywhere.

Vintage crystal and china place setting

Cherubs and feathers graced the table.

Silver and gold, gilt and patina. Perfectly, delightfully design to thrill. And it did.

We began with Pink Grapefruit and Pink Champagne cocktails. The glass rims had been romantically dipped in sugar.

Pink Grapefruit and Pink Champagne Cocktails

There were roses and crystal everywhere. This is the backdrop of her kitchen sink.

We gathered around Countess’ stove, the true heart of this amazing home, sipping our Pink Champagne and listened as Andrea shared her wealth of knowledge with us.

Contessa even had fresh Roses in her hair!

I’ve never attending a cooking lesson, quite like this. Elizabeth had ensured that our senses were delighted and Andrea provided the exquisite tastes!

Pink salt in vintage dish.

Even the salt was pink.

We began with a “Through the Door Bite” of Scallops, served in scallop shells. Sautéed and drizzled with Andrea’s special Passion Fruit & Blood Orange reduction sauce.


The shells made the presentation perfect.

Then we sat at the magnificent table and began our meal. The lesson continued all through lunch.

toasting with french rose wine

Cheers to Contessa! Her earrings were simply perfect!


Salad with Rocchetta Cheese and Poached  Quince.

Salad with Rochette Cheese and Poached Quince.

We drank a lovely Rose which was the perfect touch.
Rose wine.

Andrea explained the special details of these dishes, that made the difference between food and perfect food. It was all so delicious.

The Rose Petal sorbet was an amazing delight.

The Rose Petal sorbet was an amazing delight.

The meal progressed from one delight to the next. It was an intimate gathering of new friends, delicious food and eye candy to delight all of our senses.

Pots De Creme with you guessed it, candied Rose Petals on top.

Pots De Creme with you guessed it, candied Rose Petals on top.


Delicious Cappuccino with Creme Puffs to finish the meal.


Duke was right at home and on H&S very best behavior.

Duke was right at home and on his best behavior in his chair!

If you every have the opportunity to attend one of Andrea’s French Food Camps, be sure you do!!

French Food Camp

Andrea, Contessa, me and Kim.

The graciousness of both our chef and hostess made the entire experience a memorable delight, not soon forgotten.

Cake with sparklers

Our magical day ended with sparkling beauty. This White Cake with Rose essence was exceptional!

I can’t thank Andrea and Elizabeth enough for such a memorable experience. They both made everything appear effortless!




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  1. French Basketeer
    February 5, 2015 / 9:10 am

    Oh what do I love more, seeing your gorgeous images and text, or reading the comments!!! We must do this again soon…working on some great ways to do that! It was a very fun day and I was so grateful to cook with you Jennifer, and this amazing group of ladies….and Contessa and her home, well what can we say! Love it all!! Call you soon; xxoo A

    • Jennifer
      February 6, 2015 / 9:16 am

      What can I say? Thank you, thank you!! It was a magical day and I loved it all!xoxo

  2. February 4, 2015 / 9:38 pm

    La Contessa is the BEST!! and all these women teamed together to make an incredible experience!


    I adored the shot of Duke in his chair; and the corgi sitting up showing off how well-trained he is! The Circus is next for him!!!!

    • Jennifer
      February 4, 2015 / 10:11 pm

      I agree! Contessa is totally amazing. “Winston” sat up and showed himself to perfection. With picture perfect manners!

  3. February 3, 2015 / 12:27 pm

    It looks like a meal straight out of Versailles! I’m half-French so I can almost taste these as I see the photos and read your descriptions. What a lovely way to spend the day. Thank you for sharing it with us 🙂


    • Jennifer
      February 4, 2015 / 2:27 pm

      It did feel very chic and European. Her home is stunning and the food was sumptuous.

  4. Deborah Montgomery
    February 3, 2015 / 6:31 am

    So lovely; a feast for the senses! How I would love to step into any one of these pictures a la Mary Poppins. Thank you for sharing all this beauty!

    • Jennifer
      February 4, 2015 / 2:27 pm

      I’m glad I took as many pictures as I did so I could relive it:)

  5. February 2, 2015 / 8:42 pm

    A French Food Camp would be just the thing – I’d love it! What a wonderful table and food. Parfait!

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:58 pm

      It was perfection:))

  6. February 2, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    Gosh, my dear friend, I don’t know where to begin……!!! My mouth is watering just looking at your fabulous photos. Food Camp….definitely a more inviting concept than Boot Camp, n’est-ce pas?? This looks like a good excuse to travel to the West Coast, in addition, of course, to seeing you. Some day!!

    Do these lovely ladies ever set up shop on the east coast? May I say you look beautiful, comme d’habitude.

    I’ll be in touch by e-mail very soon.

    Cheers, M-T

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:57 pm

      Come out west for camp and stay with me:))
      It was amazing.
      Let’s chat soon. Next week work for you

  7. Catherine
    February 2, 2015 / 9:29 am

    Jennifer, the cake looks amazing…everything looks so wonderful you must have had a wonderful time…ooh, I wish I had been there 😉
    Have a lovely week xx

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:58 pm

      I wish you could have been here also. I’m so anxious to meet you!!xoxo

  8. February 2, 2015 / 7:27 am

    It looks like a painting from the Dutch Masters. So beautiful!
    I can just imagine how much fun you all had….

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:59 pm

      You would have adored this Leslie!! Very much.

  9. February 2, 2015 / 6:22 am

    Did I HEAR you say YOU NEED a new CAMERA at this lunch?!!!!!I DONOT THINK SO!YOUR PHOTOS are STUNNING and your WORDS are JUST as STUNNING!GRACIOUSNESS,is a word I have heard before from YOU…………..I don’t think I have EVER written it!I LOVE IT!
    IT was a BEAUTIFUL DAY and ANDREA knows how to serve up MAGICAL DELIGHTS!DId you have any idea SORBET or CREME PUFFS were SO easy!!!!!!!!
    Love YOUR PHOTOS…………….YOU captured the DAY JUST SO!

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:55 pm

      I took these all with my iphone which leaves a lot to be desired!! It wasn’t hard to capture great photos of the magical setting you created. And the food!! Oh my!! Delicious. Graciousness..it’s a trait I aim for and admire in others. It’s part of elegance and I adore elegance.
      Merci my Contessa!!

  10. February 2, 2015 / 5:20 am

    Jennifer, How fabulous! I feel like I was there with you all, in spirit anyway!!
    One day soon we will all be together for a memorable time at Andrea’s (maybe this spring or summer!)

    The Arts by Karena

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:52 pm

      That would be so lovely Karena! We should start on Andrea’s schedule now…for the summer:)
      I’m anxious to meet you.
      Enjoy your week!

  11. Anita Rivera
    February 2, 2015 / 3:21 am

    Jennifer, we have “met” from time to time and you have been to my blog; I come by way of darling Elizabeth who has shared this fabulous moment and I LOVE IT! I am no longer posting blogs (at least for a while) but I am still enjoying the fun of visiting you all. I am so impressed with the beauty here, and isn’t Elizabeth so fun?

    A great memory indeed. I so wish I had fun blogger friends in my area to play with as such!

    Enjoy your week! Anita

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:50 pm

      I had just found your blog when you stopped posting!! I do hope you’ll be back.
      Elizabeth is called the Contessa for very good reason. She is gracious, glamorous and real. A unique combination.xoxo

  12. February 2, 2015 / 12:24 am

    Oh how lovely…sigh. Yes, I wish that I had been there but your beautiful photos truly are the next best thing. Such a truly unique and special afternoon…

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:45 pm

      Heather it was more than magical. My pictures do not do it justice!

  13. February 1, 2015 / 11:32 pm

    Jennifer lovely recap of a fabulous day I will never forget. I’m so glad we got to do this together. I’ve got to try to recreate these at home and thanks to Andrea we can. I will write mine later in the week. I think I need pink salt. Didn’t you love Contessa’s salt cellar too? So glad to see you. x Kim

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:43 pm

      Funny you should mention pink salt:). I bought three types of it yesterday!! It’s a day I won’t forget anytime soon. I also loved getting to spend time with you too.

  14. February 1, 2015 / 6:53 pm

    It all looks so amazing and delicious! Oh, to have the time to cook….

    • Jennifer
      February 3, 2015 / 12:00 am

      It was a special occasion. Andrea makes it all look so simple and effortless. The sign of a true pro!!

  15. Tamera Beardsley
    February 1, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    Such a beautiful recap … of what I am sure was a most magical afternoon! I am so grateful to live in an area … which allows me at attend each of Andrea’s classes. Andrea and Elizabeth … are masters of collecting the most fabulous women … of course … you my dear … are the prime example!

    Sending you big hugs … this post makes me miss you so!


    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:41 pm

      Thanks Tamera. You are fortunate to live so near. Andrea is a true connoisseur of fine food and women!! And Contessa is one in a million. They both have such an “eye” for vintage beauty. I love to see and learn front them. Hoping to see you soon!!

  16. February 1, 2015 / 6:39 pm

    Oh my! It all looks so beautiful — and romantic, and above all, delicious. . .

  17. February 1, 2015 / 5:52 pm

    WOW and WOW and WOW! If that is a food camp, I want in! Lovely to read and imagine all that Rose essence permeating the air as well as your taste buds. Just imagining that you all met through blogging is something special in itself. Thank you for sharing Jennifer and for reading along…much appreciated! xx

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:38 pm

      The Rose Essence tasted surprisingly lovely. I’ve tasted Lavender before and it wasn’t quite as pleasant. It’s true! I have met the most amazing women through blogging. I feel blessed.

  18. Renee
    February 1, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    Just adore everything here ~ what a feast for the eyes with so much beauty and texture and shimmer. And what a feast for the tastebuds ! I love it when people who enjoy collecting then share their beautiful homes.

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:36 pm

      It really was Renee. Contessa’s home simply takes your breath away and the food was amazing.

  19. Karen H.
    February 1, 2015 / 5:21 pm

    Wow, Jennifer, this looked fabulous! I’m interested in French Basketeer’s cooking class. So is my husband lol!! But I told him it’s probably ladies only. Your pics are so beautiful. Sounds like a fun day. ~ Karen

    • Jennifer
      February 2, 2015 / 11:35 pm

      I’m not sure it’s women only Karen! I would check with Andrea. It was an amazing experience!!

  20. Barb Fullerton
    February 1, 2015 / 5:11 pm

    Beautiful feast for the senses!

    • Jennifer
      February 3, 2015 / 12:00 am

      The best:)

  21. February 1, 2015 / 5:08 pm

    Truly a sensory and culinary delight, Jen. I drank in every opulent, romantic photo (you are an excellent photographer), and enjoyed every moment you shared between each of you talented and gracious ladies. What a memorable, celebratory afternoon! Thank you for sharing a peak of the beauty with us. I only wish I didn’t live so far away!
    Inspiring post of beauty, love and deliciousness!
    xx, Heather

  22. Dawn
    February 1, 2015 / 4:15 pm

    Looked like a delightful time. Did I mess the seeing an entree, or was this just a light meal of small dishes?

  23. Wendymm
    February 1, 2015 / 4:00 pm

    Oh my gosh! What fun! You and Kim look like you are having a blast! How lovely and genteel and just overall delightful! I may steal this idea!

    • Jennifer
      February 3, 2015 / 12:02 am

      It was both Pam. Can’t wait to meet you in Nashville!!

  24. February 1, 2015 / 3:50 pm

    Absolutely lovely! Thank-you for sharing!

    • Jennifer
      February 3, 2015 / 12:01 am

      Just a little eye candy:)

  25. Theresa
    February 1, 2015 / 3:28 pm

    This looks devine! How fun!

    • Jennifer
      February 3, 2015 / 12:03 am

      A real treat and lots of laughter involved which made it right up my alley!

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