Tag Archives: wine

Bordeaux & Espiens holiday

What we ate and what we saw.

I  studied French and always loved France – I spent as much time as possible there before and during university but France somehow dropped off the radar and over the past years, we’ve spent the majority of holidays in Spain and Italy.

This year, having realised we’d neglected this wonderful country, we decided to go to France for our Summer holiday, hoping to rediscover its land, culture and food (of course).

We spent four nights in Bordeaux staying in a two bed airbnb in the Chartrons district of the city. It’s the heart of the historic part and easy to get around on foot from here. The apartment was owned by a couple and not some large apartment company, which is always nice as you get more feel for the city and people. Get in touch if you’d like the details.

We spent our days walking around the city visiting art galleries, parks, and many of the sights. The CAPOC museum of contemporary art stood out, particularly its cool roof top restaurant (lunch definitely recommended) and Bristol’s very own Richard Long stone sculpture.

Richard Long Bordeaux

For a small city, there is an incredible amount of restaurants ( many with Michelin stars). The ones we ate at were generally good but pretty pricey (Lou Lou, Petit Bec et).  We did eat in the touristy areas as well as places where there were locals and prices were similar.  Most of the French restaurants featured duck, steak, veal (they do like their meat) and fish on the menu and all were pretty good. There are plenty of places to hang out for an aperitif, from little squares, the Darwin eco system which is super hipster on the other side of the river to roof top bars, like Mama Bordeaux which we absolutely loved.  They do food here, but we just had drinks.  They also have rooms which look pretty cool.  The Chartrons market square is a great place to drink, eat and people watch of an evening as is Place de Quinconces.

Chartrons square
Chartrons market square

Bordeaux is of course famous for its wine and there are so many opportunities to sample at shops, wine bars etc. We went to La Cite du Vin which is a short tram ride or 20 min walk from Chartrons.  This industrial area of the city is obviously being developed with blocks of flats going up everywhere.  The Cite du vin is in a super modern silver decanter shaped building and if you’re a wine lover, you’ll be able to spend hours learning about terroir, history, taste, smell etc in this interactive museum. I’m not that dedicated to wine but learnt a lot and was impressed by the extremely imaginative ways they got the information across. You can then access the roof top views of the city with a glass of your choice of wine from an amazing international selection. Simon would easily have spent a great deal longer here and had to be persuaded to leave 🙂

La Cite du vin - wine museum in Bordeaux
La Cite du Vin

Opposite here is Les Halles de Bacalan, a large warehouse with many small food and drink stalls.  We sat and had langoustine and a chilled glass of rose which were very reasonably priced and absolutely delicious. There is also cheese, charcuterie, crepes, boulangeries ( Bordeaux is home to vanilla scented castle shaped caneles), bars etc, so you can spend quite some time here sampling all the regional specialities.

Caneles in Bordeaux
Delicious caneles

The beginning of August sees “Liberte” a cultural exhibition that takes over old, forgotten buildings.  We stumbled across Le Temple des Chartrons whose interior had been transformed into an eerie, rubble filled space with the theme of light and time.  With images reminiscent of the burning Notre Dame it was both fascinating and haunting.  If you’re in Bordeaux at this time of year, it’s worth looking up https://rue89bordeaux.com/2019/08/liberte-coup-de-projecteur-ephemere-patrimoine-bordelais/


We then left the city and spent a week staying at Peyres near Espiens in Gascony, a 90 minute drive inland. A stunning house with pale blue shutters and views of the vine covered hills into the distance.  At night we saw shooting starts and all was brilliantly clear thanks to the minimal light pollution. Not to everyone’s taste, Peyres is a very much lived in home.  Peter the owner spends Spring every year here and leaves it exactly as he would like to find it.  All is clean and comfortable, but what we loved was the original art work and antique furniture.  There are shelves of books you can read and the pantry full of condiments, oils etc, so you don’t have to bring your own.  All they ask is that you replace what you use.  An excellent house for entertaining, Peyres has a large kitchen with a chandelier lit by candles, enormous oak table as well as plenty of outside space to eat and take in the views.  Its incredible peaceful and completely dark in the bedrooms at night, which meant we all had lots of sleep! If you’re into five star, modern accommodation and multiple ensuites, you won’t like it, as the upstairs three bedrooms share a bathroom, but our families weren’t bothered about such things and preferred the huge amounts of character the house offered, along with the beautiful views and peace and quiet.

Airbnbn Espiens
View from Peyres

Once again, travelling with our very own private chef (Simon aka Papa), we were able to buy seasonal, regional produce in the markets and eat incredible meals each evening overlooking the vine covered hills. In the afternoons, after a morning outing, it was so good to dip into the pool (hoping not to be jumped on by one of the boys), surrounded by lavender buzzing with bees and miniature bee hummingbirds. Bliss. Our very own cocktail waiters and mixologists, Tom and Hemali arrived with a tray each afternoon of drinks and nibbles. Most enjoyable.

nectaries for sale
Nerac market

A ten minute drive away gets you to Nerac, a lovely medieval market town.  We had lunch one day at Cafe du Concert by the river, which has a simple menu of salads or steak/ saucisson / duck and frites. We all got very excited about the puddings which were a fabulous range of ice cream sundaes.  I had the Armagnac one as it is, afterall,  the land of Armagnac. The owner is extremely friendly and welcoming and organises concerts (one the following Saturday, starring Johnny Halliday’s guitarists who is from Nerac, nonetheless). Lou Bin, the town’s specialist wine shop, holds frequent tastings and has a great range of local wines and spirits.  We went here a lot as certain members of our group became partial to the sparkling wine and charming owner 🙂

Cafe Liégeois at Cafe du Concert

We loved the restaurant by the Henry IV museum, L’Escadron Volant and had lunch here the first day – a stunning steak frites and a pretty good Thai duck dish followed by breakfast on our last day – waffles and crepes.

Mezin cafe du marche
Cheese in Mezin
Mezin market and cheesemonger

You can go to a market or two) every day of the week in this region.  On the Sunday we went to Mezin market, a small village with a picturesque church and square.  We tried snails for the first time (and last for me, I’m afraid) and stocked up on cheeses, vegetables, meat, bread and of course a sliver of nougat).

Mezin - the market
Market in Mezin

Night markets are buzzing in the Summer months – we went to the market in the main square of Sos.  There must have been a few hundred people all sitting on long tables.  The locals come with their own cutlery and crockery and set up for dinner, choosing from al the stalls around the edges of the square.  From duck, steak, veal (they like their meat), to grilled vegetables, artisan breads, cheese plates, langoustine, Moules frites, tomatoes, onion tarts, rose wine, beer, ice cream – you can sit and feast to your heart’s content. The atmosphere is really friendly and lively and it’s lovely to see this little village come alive.

SOS night market
Sos night market

My favourite town was Lectoure.  One end of the high street leads to the church and a viewing platform of the valley below, the other end takes you to an old school or hospital building which is now home to the most fascinating antiques market. It is full of the most unusual, eccentricities  Eat at Cafe des Sports, an unassuming restaurant on the high street, which has delicious food, great service and excellent atmosphere.  The shops are worth visiting here too with a food hall, lots of clothes and shoe shops and small galleries.  Lectoure and the region is home to the most delicious of melons, which are found in all the surrounding markets. 

cafe des Sports Lectoure
Cafe des Sports, Lectoure
Melons of Lectoure

We had to visit Condom, of course – an attractive town with large church and 4 musketeers sculptures  – cue obligatory photos.

Condom - 4 musketeers
The 4 Musketeers at Condom

Our French visit was a fabulous reminder of the superb quality and range of French produce from cheese, sprities, wines, fruit, vegetable, bread to all the delicious sweet things (nougat, ice cream, chocolate).  For a super peaceful, relaxing holiday, a hit of city sights and a big dose of gastronomy, I’d urge anyone to visit. We certainly will again soon.

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French cheese
We loved all the cheese!


The shop will be open for you to pop in and browse and have a cuppa from November 25th to Christmas.


christmas baubles
panforte bristol
yule log
panettone Bristol
deli at Christmas

We have so many beautiful gifts and ingredients for you to explore, all hand picked by us.

Seasonal panettone, which arrives in the deli in November, freshly made for Christmas – a deliciously vanilla, spiced fluffy cake that is eaten with vin santo or a cup of coffee.

A range of the most delicious chocolates from local makers like Zara’s and Costelloe and Hellerstein. We also stock Rococo, Chococo, Prestat as well as Italy’s Boeri amongst others.

Christmas treats from Italy and Spain including: panforte, turron, vin santo, fig balls for cheese.

Artisan cheeses from Montgomery Cheddar, Colston Bassett Stilton and soft cheeses such as Wigmore to speciality cheeses from Spain, Italy and France. A wide variety of crackers, breadsticks and flatbreads, chutneys, fruit pastes, Membrillo etc…

Our deli counter is overflowing with superb homemade dishes that you can eat in or  take home ( why not stock up the freezer for Christmas? )

Have you seen our cake counter recently? It’s brimming over with frangipane topped mince pies, yule logs, cheesecakes, brownies and our scrumptious rocky roads ( my son’s favourite! ) To name but a few.

Don’t forget we have vouchers that make great gifts ( we also have cookery class vouchers ) and hampers which are always popular ( they can be delivered )

We also have lots of foodie gifts such as: cheese boards and knives, hand-painted mugs and plates, jugs etc…

Please email us if you’d like to order in advance and beat the queues.


Christmas wine tasting!

Wine tasting event in the deli this Saturday 12th 12-3pm.

It’s always good to have some reliably delicious drinks around, and Christmas is no exception.  It’s a lovely excuse to treat yourself to an excellent port, sherry or perhaps even a tot of Madeira.  Do remember to have the odd bottle of quality white or red, so that you can sip and enjoy (instead of swigging quickly to get rid of the stuff!).  Oh, and don’t forget the Vin Santo – it’s SO good!

There is a world of difference between mass produced multi vineyard wines and single estate, small producers ones.  Honestly!  If you’d like to try some of what we have on offer in the deli, make sure you come to our wine tasting event on

Saturday 12th December between 12-3pm when Raj Soni or RS Wines (a Master of wines – he really knows his stuff).

Christmas foodie gifts

Christmas gifts in the deli

Time to celebrate with food

It is so wonderful to see customers in the deli getting excited about gifts they’re buying for friends and family this Christmas.  Many of us are fortunate enough to have what we need and appreciate a well chosen food item over a scented candle or another trinket.  Giving food means that it will be enjoyed and shared with others ( if they’re the generous sort!).

So what to give?

Charbonnel et walker at Papadeli


A bit cliched?  A bit unoriginal? We don’t think so! Every chocolate bar and box at Papadeli is chosen because it is made by producers that value quality ingredients.  Milk chocolate is not cloyingly sweet, but made with a good percentage of cocoa.  Dark chocolate is not harsh and bitter but smooth and rich.  We know that aesthetics are important when choosing a gift – and all the boxes are quite beautiful.  These chocolates are not cheap, and therefore when given as a gift, it’s likely that they will receive them as a true sign of your appreciation They may not have tasted them before and will see them as a little bit of luxury. Lovely. Select from Charbonnel et Walker, Prestat, Chococo, Bodrato, Doble & Bignall  – the list goes on… More unusual chocolates include brand soaked, chocolate stuffed figs, cherries in a grappa syrup covered in chocolate, dulce de leche filled chocolates….

Gifts of food in Bristol

Unusual ingredients

Many of us enjoy cooking (and eating) and love to try new ingredients and dishes.  One special ingredient can often transform a dish, and Papadeli’s shelves are full of such wonderful things. We have balsamic vinegars of all ages and types (add to salads, meat dishes, even puddings), delicious pates from France, Spain and the South West, superb cheeses and all to go with – from quince paste, to fine cheese company fruit pastes and mostarda fruits from Italy.  It’s a great chance to try some new tastes.

Cheeses for Christmas



If you’re visiting someone at Christmas, what lovelier gift than a large slice of Montgomery Cheddar, Stilton or something a little more exotic such as Monte Enebro, a creamy white Spanish goat’s cheese. Our experts at Papadeli really know their cheese, and are always happy to discuss the best option for you and give you a little taster!

foodie gifts Bristol

Foodie gifts

If you’re looking for something that might last longer than something edible, then have a little browse amongst our beautiful objects for foodies.  From gorgeous sustainable mango wood bowls to locally made olive oil decanters, all are simple and original gifts that will look good in any kitchen.

Christmas foodie gifts

Wine & alcohol

We have a small, carefully chosen selection of wine that is generally unavailable at other shops.  Each is from single estate, small vineyards and so you can rest assured that if you’re looking for wine for someone who really knows their stuff, they will be happy (and probably pretty impressed) by your wine choice. We also have cava (so underrated now that prosecco has taken over!), limoncello and sherry. How about combining a slice of cheese with a lovely red?

papadeli cookery classes

Still not sure – how about a cookery class or a voucher?

Papadeli is the sort of place that people love to spend time – there is so much to look at on the shelves, plenty to enjoy from the counter selection of divine food and cakes, a cafe at the Royal Academy and a cookery school.  If you are unsure about what exactly to get them, but know they’d enjoy something foodie, we have vouchers – both general and for cookery classes.  They can be bought in the shop or here.

If you’re still stuck for ideas, come to the deli and take a look around.  You’re sure to find some inspiration!

For more information about Papadeli, please email info@papadeli.co.uk

Papa’s Prize – every Friday!

Your chance to win a prize

Winner, papa's prize on twitter

Everyone who works at the deli in Alma Road and at our cafe at the Royal West of England Academy on the Triangle in Bristol, always comment how lovely our customers are.  It’s true – we have lots of regulars, many who’ve supported us since the opening of our downstairs deli nearly 14 years ago and many newer customers who are always so cheerful and enthusiastic about Papadeli.

So we thought we’d do something small and fun to say thank you.  We’ve always loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and often dreamt of finding a golden ticket in our chocolate bar.  So we decided that we’d create our own version and came up with a Papadeli blue ticket that can be found in one customer’s bag at the deli every Friday.  Once found, the winning ticket can be exchanged for a prize in the deli.  It might be some artisan cheese, or a bottle of excellent wine, perhaps a box of handmade chocolates or a Papadeli voucher.

Win a prize at Papadeli

The RWA cafe

find a blue ticket and win lunch for two and free entry to the exhibition!

Once a month, one lucky customer will find a blue Papa’s Prize ticket and win lunch for two at the cafe and free entry to the Royal West of England Academy’s exhibition.  To find out more about the RWA exhibitions, click here.


To win a prize, check your bag on a Friday and present your Papa’s prize winning ticket.

Christmas hampers

Christmas hampers make such a lovely gift

We conducted some research on Twitter and Facebook to see what people like to get in their Christmas hamper….

Christmas cheese for hampers

The responses we received on Twitter were  overwhelmingly savoury – with cheese, quince jam, pickles, mostarda fruits, charcoal crackers, wine, port and prosecco!

However, the Facebook followers were much more into sweeties – in addition to cheese, crackers, port, wine and pickles, they listed Turkish Delight, Salted caramels, Christmas pud, mince pies, dark chocolate, chocolate coffee beans, marmalade…. What an excellent Christmas hamper!


When we asked the Twitterati whether sweet things would be OK in a Christmas hamper and they responded that chocolates were acceptable and grappa soaked cherries definitely welcome!

We love this sort of survey at Papadeli (well anything that involves talking about food pleases us greatly!!) and delighted that many our followers feel the same!

Don’t forget we can arrange delivery for your Christmas hampers around the UK. Just order online here!

Company Christmas hampers

If you’re a company and want to get a lovely foodie gift for your staff, please mail us info@papadeli.co.uk and we’ll organise it for you! We can supply foodie gifts and hampers for all price ranges.

Christmas food basket