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La Vie Du Château offers all-inclusive culinary holidays in a family’s 18th Century château.

Mary Pochez has been cooking and entertaining family and guests in Paris and at Château de La Barbée for more than 30 years. Born and raised in Southern California, she met her husband Xavier when scouts from a French modeling agency discovered her on the Malibu beach volleyball courts and brought her to Paris.

Beginning her new life in France, she quickly realized she should make something other than tacos for her husband. Following the example set by her mother-in-law, la Comtesse d’Alton, who was an excellent cook and gracious hostess, Mary learned the art of French cuisine. Her first successful dish was lamb in a salt crust served with Pommes Duchesse. In a short time Mary was cooking and hosting lavish dinner parties in Paris and gatherings of up to 100 family members at the chateau. Her children think nothing of bringing home a dozen of their best friends for the weekend, putting Mary in the kitchen for three meals a day.

Today Mary is the consummate French home cook–although for her, home is a château. She makes regular trips to the markets in La Fleche and Angers to select ingredients for that night’s dinner. She is an expert at navigating rows of beautiful vegetables and fruits, cheese carts, fish vendors, and butchers and bakers to create easy yet memorable meals.

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