Tuesday, December 16, 2014

French Castle, French Porcelain, French Cookware, and Gourmet Foods from Napa Valley - Just in Time for Christmas

The entrance through the castle walls that surrounded the city in 1492 still serves as gateway to the tiny town of Mehun-sur-Yvere.  Most of Pillivuyt's 350 employees come from the surrounding neighborhoods of Mehun.

WE ARRIVED IN THE NAPA VALLEY'S MOST CHARMING TOWN, ST. HELENA, after a 6 hour car ride, very much looking forward to Christmas and window shopping.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year, twinkle lights fill the tree-lined street with charm, some of the best window displays, bakeries, quaint restaurants, and specialty stores are all lined up neatly in a row.  Leisurely strolling is the best form of transportation to pop in and out and enjoy the season.

Anything French and especially French Brocante has been ever so popular here in the states for some time now.  As Americans we want a piece of that lifestyle.  I personally appreciate the quality of their craftsmanship, and I love vintage French monogram linens, and vintage French dishes.  But the vintage ironstone is no longer food safe, and while it looks wonderful displayed, I couldn't use it.  This began my love for Pillivuyt, who has been producing fine culinary porcelain in the heart of France for nearly two centuries.

Founded by the Pillivuyt family in 1818, the factory is now employee owned (can you believe that?) and operated near the town of Mehun-sur-Yevre.  Everything is handmade by artisians with a 17 step process to exacting standards of quality and supported by state-of-the-art equipment, blending century-old craftsmanship with modern production techniques.  Pillivuyt is beautiful and functional, and is used by almost all restaurants in France.  It can go directly from the freezer to the oven or microwave, it is dishwasher-safe, and everything looks good on it!

Olivier's window display in the evening.

Pillivuyt's porcelain is a gorgeous clear white and has a wonderful weight, it dresses up any table and looks fabulous on open shelves in the kitchen

Pillivuyt France: Lion's Head Tureen, Casseroles/Terrines, Oval Gratin Dishes, dinner plates, and Mehun Milk Pitchers 

Olivier Napa Valley:  Cranberry Bourbon Confit on their gorgeous Antique French Butcher's Block.

In this charming town of St. Helena our first stop for many years now has always been Olivier Napa Valley.  Established in 1995, Olivier began producing fine gourmet oils and savories for specialty stores, and opened a retail store in 1999.

It's a gorgeous store filled with wonderful gourmet food, French Porcelain- Pillivuyt, French Cookware-Staub, Antiques like this gorgeous French butchers block, French soap, lavender, French Pottery and cookbooks.  I always keep their olive oils and specialty mustards on hand.  My new favorites are Olivier's Toasted Garlic & Herb Dipping Oil which is wonderful on anything including eggs, and Truffle Mustard which takes an ordinary sandwich and makes it divine.

Pillivuyt France: Oval Casserole with lid

Olivier's Window display (backside) with an assortment of Pillivuyt, Olivewood, and Pewter

Olivier: Salted Rum Caramel Sauce, Pernod Anise Caramel Sauce and Highland Butterscotch Sauce with their 

Cooper Wrapped Chop Blocks and 

Vallauris French Pottery

Balsamic Vinegars:  
VSOP, Red Apple Balsamic, Blueberry Balsamic, Raspberry Balsamic, and Vinegar/Olive Oil Cruet

Mediterranean, Lemon Dill, and Pomegranate  

 Olive Oils:  
Basil, Chili, Garlic, Herbes de Provence, Lemon, and Truffle Olive Oil

Staub en France Cookware and Teapots
Oval, Round and Mini Cocottes

Olivier Classiques Entrée Base:  
Swedish Meatballs, Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken Marsala, Beef Stroganoff, and Coq au Vin

Olivier carries the self-basting, enameled cast iron cookware and teapots from Staub, France.   Every piece of Staub is made in the Alsacs region of France and is produced using a one-use sand mould, which contributes to the intrinsic beauty of Staub's glazes.  They are used in the best restaurants of France and by notable chefs.

I had been searching for a new tea pot, not made in China, that didn't rust, and looked good on my stove top -and voila!  I purchased a graphite, gray, Staub and I love it.  It's beautiful, stylish, functional, and looks great with my Pillivuyt tea cups.  What more could a girl want from a teapot.  You will most likely never need a new one, well, unless you want a new color.

Olivier's Entrée Base is the perfect way to have a gourmet meal quickly!  Just add one chicken, about 4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces or better yet 4 chicken breasts, add salt and freshly ground pepper, 2 Tbs. of Olive Oil, 1 jar Chicken Marsala base - in your new Staub Cocotte of course - and serve on your French Pillivuyt dishes.  Then add an organic baby green salad, sparkling San Pellegrino with a slice of lime or lemon, and end with anything chocolate!  Delicious!

Oh Santa!  Do you think that soup tureen could fit in a stocking?

I absolutely love stacks of white porcelain!

Vallauris:  Pottery and Dishware from Vallauris, France.

Olivier has a wonderful selection of seasonal sauces

Salted Rum Caramel Sauce - YUM!

French Lavender

Savon de Marseille on a antique French Butcher's Block

Olive Wood Bowl and Copper Wrapped Chop Blocks on top of an Antique Free Standing Chopping Block.

Olive Oil:  Choose your own blend or type.

Olivier has a large selction of Condiments:  
Artichoke Tomato Bruschetta, Caramelized Onions, Green Olive Salsa, Artichoke Pizza Sauce, and Mushroom Duxelle

Staub Fondue Pots and Pillivuyt French Porcelain:  Bakers /Roasters and Deep Pleated Ramekins and Soufflé Dish.

Olive Wood

Olivier carries a wide variety of handmade olive wood items: spoons, saltboxes, cheese boards, vases...

Brilliant!  Vanilla seeds already scraped out of the vanilla pod!  Perfect for Holiday baking!

Olivier sells all their products online making gift-giving and pantry-stocking easy.

I would like to thank Kevin Buchholz, one of the owners of Olivier, for his time and allowing me to "stage" for photos.  Kevin is personable and very talented, a winning combination.  To Jess, Olivier's best concierge, his associate for all of her help, knowledge, and list of new-to-us great restaurants.  Finally, to Alice Title, President at Pillivuyt USA, for her kindness and the opportunity!

To you my friends,  MAY YOUR DAYS BE MERRY AND BRIGHT...

xx Rié

Olivier Napa Valley
1375 Main Street
St. Helena CA  94574
(707) 967.8777

Pillivuyt France can be ordered online at

*All photos: Portobello Design


  1. Well, you captured me completely with this post, Rie. I love stacks of anything (even colored plastic!) so I would be in complete heaven in this shop. Beautiful products, and I didn't know of
    Pillivuyt and it looks brilliant! Merry Christmas, my friend.

    1. Merry Christmas Marsha, and thank you for your sweet comments. Rié

  2. Oh to fill my kitchen with beautiful Pillivuyt porcelain pieces would be a dream...maybe someday! And I just have to say, that French antique butcher block is spectacular!
    Mary Alice

    1. Their French antique butcher blocks get me everytime! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you Mary Alice. Thank you for coming by! Rié

  3. So many beautiful things to admire! I hope you picked up some special French finds!
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

    1. It's hard not to, but restraint was shown as it's almost Christmas. :) xx Rié

  4. Absolutely stunning! You have put me in the mood to fix up my French style cottage in château style, Rié! Anita

    1. Anita, Your French style cottage is absolutely charming! Thank you for your kind words! Have a wonderful Holiday and a Merry Christmas! Rié

  5. When I go to Napa Valley, I go just to go shopping in St Helena (since I don't drink) and Olivier is one of the shops I go to! Oh I wish I could go there now!

    1. Angelina, I am the same way, I don't drink either and people are always asking me, what do you do there then... shopping, strolling, restaurants, take drives and enjoy the countryside, etc. I hope you get to go back soon! Stop in Napa Valley Vintage Home in St. Helena, great items!! Happy Holidays, and a Merry Christmas! Rié

  6. Nice post, things explained in details. Thank You.

  7. I have been browsing internet for more than three hours today since morning, yet I didn’t found any interesting article like this which provides knowledge. Thank You.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! I hope you have a lovely day in Gurgaon! All the best, Rié

  8. Reading this article was an experience. I enjoyed all the information you provided and appreciated the work you did in getting it written. You really did a lot of research.

    1. Thank you, I really do love Pillivuyt so it was a pleasure! All the best to you.

  9. Very interesting article. You did a great work for us. Thank you.


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