The Gardens at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Just because I’m ter­rible at garden­ing doesn’t mean I don’t appre­ci­ate the tal­ents of oth­er people. This week I spent the day at Ray­mond Blanc’s magic­al Oxford­shire hotel Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, learn­ing how to make pista­chio souffle with a cocoa sorbet interi­or, basil and lem­on gran­ita, macar­ons with liquorice ganache and a perkily cute frais­i­er cake filled with kirsch-fla­voured patis­ser­ie cream. While wait­ing for my cake to cook and the gran­ita to freeze, we explored the veget­able and herb gar­dens.

There are nine full-time garden­ers at Le Manoir. Speak­ing as someone who struggles to stay in con­trol of a single herb­aceous bor­der, they appear to do the work of twice their num­ber. Just like the kit­chens, the gar­dens are bliss­fully quiet. Appar­ently it’s a rule that there must be no yelling, tan­trums, or high-octane drama. There are more squabbles in my kit­chen over who has which break­fast cer­eal than there appear to be at Le Manoir.

I grow fresh herbs in a few ter­ra­cotta pots by my back door. At Le Manoir there are acres of herbs, some mini­ature ones crammed into boxes the size of fil­ing trays and arranged like lux­uri­ously soft, patch­work blankets.

The micro-leaved cori­ander, sor­rel, basil and a host of oth­er vari­et­ies are har­ves­ted with scis­sors while still min­is­cule, to dec­or­ate plates and perk up tired pal­ates. These tiny fla­vour-filled leaves make their fully-grown rel­at­ives taste tired and flabby.

Per­fect, exquis­itely-per­fumed wild straw­ber­ries

An expanse of floppy bor­age plants, with their vivid blue, cucum­ber-fla­voured flowers

Once I’d seen the cour­gettes I under­stood why the word ‘vig­or­ous’ is some­times applied to plants

The bronze scare­crow is mod­elled on Ray­mond Blanc him­self

Le Manoir’s golden beet­root is much sweeter and less earthy tast­ing than the tra­di­tion­al red vari­ety — I ate it for lunch

Everything about Le Manoir is part of an elab­or­ate, glor­i­ous fantasy. The food is exquis­ite, the gar­dens per­fect, the staff unfail­ingly charm­ing. Just for one day I inhab­ited their escap­ist heav­en. I learned how to make the kind of cakes and tarts that until now seemed to belong behind glass in the finest patis­ser­ie shop; I dis­covered that sweet pastry made with icing sug­ar is cris­pi­er, that bak­ing a hot souffle with sorbet inside really is pos­sible and that chefs’ jack­ets are designed to fit people with bod­ies the shape of cer­eal pack­ets. And just in case you’re won­der­ing how much salt to add to my sug­ar, this wasn’t press-trip para­dise — I paid my own way.

If You are con­cerned in pur­chas­ing medic­a­ments online, now may be the when to do so. So the next mat­ter is where can you find info that is reli­able. You can get such inform­a­tion fast and con­veni­ently by going online. There are many ill­nesses such as schizo­phrenia which have no cure. One of the most pop­u­lar medi­cine is Via­gra. What about com­par­is­on between Cial­is versus Levitra and ? Nearly every adult knows about . Oth­er ques­tion we have to is . The symp­toms of sexu­al dis­orders in men turn on lack of sexu­al fantas­ies. Not­with­stand­ing sex is not vital for good hearti­ness, it’s cer­tainly good for any­one. So if you are exper­i­en­cing erectile prob­lems, it is essen­tial to see a cer­ti­fied doc­tor imme­di­ately for a com­plete med­ic­al test­ing. Cer­tainly, online phar­macy can hands-down help you for solv­ing your all per­son­al dif­fi­culties.

22 thoughts on “The Gardens at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

  1. Hi Kavey
    Thanks for leav­ing a com­ment — I always love hear­ing people’s views. And I’m very glad you like the post.

  2. You’re a mind-read­er! I was won­der­ing all the way down the page if it was a won­der­ful press trip.
    What a fant­ast­ic day. I’d love to do a patis­ser­ie course. I’ve always had a secret long­ing to learn how to make spun sug­ar … you know, those crackly bas­kets to dec­or­ate little cakes. I’ve nev­er had the con­fid­ence to try and have a bad track record burn­ing sug­ar! Was every­body on the course quite exper­i­enced?

  3. Hi Mary
    It wasn’t intim­id­at­ing at all and as you can tell I had a won­der­ful time. I think you need to use sticky, liquid gluc­ose to make those dainty little cages by the way — not that I’ve tried yet.

  4. Nice to see per­fec­tion in action and learn how to achieve/attempt it one­self. Le Manoir’s herb garden amaz­ing and there are some lovely pic­tures. Super blog.

  5. Thanks Charlie, I didn’t real­ise they were made from gluc­ose. Some­body I knew years ago once offered to teach me, but it nev­er happened — I remem­ber her say­ing that she used to spin the threads around a clean broom­handle and that it worked bet­ter on a day that wasn’t too hot. She said it was easi­er than it looked but I reserve judge­ment on that!

  6. Hi Mary
    Appar­ently mois­ture is the abso­lutely killer when it comes to those sug­ar cages. That’s why you shouldn’t make them and then store them in the fridge — they go all flabby. I have reser­va­tions about easy it is, just like you…

  7. I’m sav­ing my ‘house­keep­ing’ and plan to treat myself to a course, your post has con­firmed my belief that it will be worth every penny! And the gar­dens are divine:-) Judith

  8. Hi Judith
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Let me know if you go on a course — I’d love to know if you enjoy it as much as I did.

  9. Maybe she meant humid­ity rather heat, Charlie. Trouble is, it’s the sort of thing you couldn’t be bothered doing for your­self — but it’s too ter­ri­fy­ing to do for an audi­ence. But what a way to impress if we brought it off suc­cess­fully!

  10. Won­der­ful pic­tures. I’m sav­ing up for a Bertin­et patis­ser­ie course, but can’t get a day off at the right time. I might also add Le Manoir to the list of things to do some day.
    Can we see the souffle with the cold stuff inside please?

  11. Hello oxslip — it’s always great to hear your com­ments. The souffle with sorbet interi­or was pretty spec­tac­u­lar.

  12. Looks like you had a good time! Delight­ful & delighted. I pro­pose that RB & Head Garden­er Anne Mar­ie should ‘read’ your pic­tures.

  13. Hi Mitzi Fritz
    Yes, I really did have a good time. Your com­ment about ‘read­ing’ the pic­tures made me smile.

  14. Oh what a lovely lovely post… I had a birth­day luch at Le Manoir once and I felt exactly what you described — like I had briefly entered a bliss­ful fantasy world of tran­quil­ity and good taste. Yes it was pretty eye-water­ingly pricey but oh so worth it. I am in love with the gar­dens and now desire a patch­work of micro­greens of my own!!

  15. Hi Jeanne and thank you so much for your lovely com­ments. I quite fancy a patch­work myself, but, for the micro­greens’ sakes, should nev­er be allowed to own one!

  16. Fab­ulous pho­to­graphs Charlie- so glad you had such a super day there. I do hope Le Manoir has read your blog and appreic­ated such pro­fes­sion­al pho­to­graphs.

  17. That’s lovely of you Anonym­ous. So sorry to call you that — it seems a little ungra­cious when you’ve been so gen­er­ous!

  18. Gor­geous gor­geous gar­dens! Wow! And although I have the ulti­mate black thumb, I can cer­tainly appre­ci­ate the beauty of a garden — and an herb garden espe­cially. Won­der­ful post… and what a fab­ulous day. And oooh I would have loved watch­ing every­one make those desserts!

  19. Hi Jam­ie — proud own­ers of the black thumb unite! But I agree with you that it’s still pos­sible to appre­ci­ate oth­er people’s garden­ing tal­ents. It was a great day and I learned a huge amount.…

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