Auctions : Catalogue

Details on a Luxury Travel Diary auction. Review information on an auction below. When applicable, pay particular notice to available dates. Enter a bid to win.

is used for your security.


This auction is for the unique opportunity for 1 guest to attend a 4-night Photography & Gastronomy Break with award winning London photographer, Roger Stowell & the celebrated, ex Ottolenghi chef, Olia Hercules. The winner will be staying in a Single Room with shared bathroom at a beautiful farmhouse in La Poublee, Le Mazeau, Vendee. Your stay includes: transfers to and from La Rochelle, Poitiers or Nantes airport, all food and drink consumed at the villa and excursions, valued at approximately GBP£599 / USD$775*. Prize stay dates: this 4-night prize can only be taken 15-19 June 2017, with clients arriving in the late afternoon of Thursday 15 June and leaving in the morning of Monday 19 June.

Please note this auction has a reserve price set of £249 GBP.

Big in France are pleased to be hosting their first food photography course in June 2017. This is a new gourmet residential food photography holiday in France, which has been designed to suit all levels of competence and the course will be based at the stunning villa Le Mazeau in the South Vendée.

The course will run over a long weekend (4 nights) during which time you will have the chance to improve your photographic technique, be it with your phone or your DSLR, under the guidance of Roger Stowell, an award-winning London photographer who is now resident in France and to hone your culinary skills the celebrated, ex Ottolenghi chef, Olia Hercules will guide you as the guest chef.

During your stay you will have the opportunity to improve both your photographic and culinary skills but, above all, you will have the chance to relax and eat well in a magnificent house in the heart of the French countryside. The winner will be staying in a Single Room with shared bathroom in a beautiful riverside farmhouse situated in the Marais Poitevin. The prize includes transfers to and from La Rochelle, Poitiers or Nantes airport, all food and drink consumed at villa and excursions. The beautiful house is full of rustic charm with 8 guest bedrooms, Sky TV and wifi, and outside you will find a newly renovated eating area with a pizza-oven, BBQ, and handmade table overlooking the gardens and river, perfect for a get-together. There is also a heated swimming pool with a bespoke seating area built alongside for relaxing in the sunshine. This is a holiday for the photography enthusiasts or the sybarite….. great food, good wine and the chance to take pictures in a perfect environment.

A normal day will begin with continental breakfast overlooking the pool where the day’s activities will be discussed once everyone is fully awake. Each morning there will be photography tuition linked to the guest chef’s preparation for the afternoon’s cooking. After this you will set out to market to buy ingredients at the covered markets of both Niort and La Rochelle. The course does not offer lunch so you would be pointed in the direction of nearby restaurants for you to dine in. After lunch, Roger will be available to discuss your morning’s photography, to give some tuition on Photoshop or to talk about photography linked to the afternoon’s cookery session. Although there is the opportunity to learn and improve your skills, it is important to be clear that this holiday does not have a school room scenario…. it’s about having a good time and doing as much or as little as you like. At 6.00pm there will be drinks around the pool followed by a gourmet dinner with wine.

After a long career as a well-known editorial and advertising photographer in London, Roger Stowell. “” now lives and works in the Vendée. Over the years, he has worked for most of the well-known English magazines such as Elle, Marie-Claire, Sunday Times, The Times, The Observer, Telegraph Supplement, Red, Olive, and BBC Good Food as well as a legion of advertising clients. During his career he worked with every possible film format yet when digital arrived on the scene he fully embraced it and has become an expert exponent of Photoshop and digital photography.

Olia Hercules is a Leith’s-trained chef, recipe writer and food stylist who honed her cooking skills in the fiery kitchens of Ottolenghi after which she worked as a freelance recipe tester and developer for a variety of food magazines, including Sainsbury’s and Jamie’s, and appeared in a Food Network cookery show. She was picked as an Observer Rising Star of 2015 in the food category and her recipes are regularly featured in 10 Best column of The Guardian’s Cooks’ Supplement “”.

EXAMPLE MENU (subject to availability)
Courgettes, broad beans, yogurt sauce and borage flowers
Peach, gooseberry, tarragon salad with lemon and garlic dressing
Kohlrabi, fennel, sorrel salad with pomegranate molasses dressing
Radish, tomato, spring onion and cucumber salad with yoghurt dressing and dill
Ossetian pies (flatbreads stuffed with cheese, herbs, spring onions)
Charred Armenian vegetables (lots of dill, garlic, quarters of cabbage – all barbecued)
Mallmann-style potatoes (parboiled, squashed and cooked on the plancha with butter until crust forms on the bottom)
Adjapsandali (Georgian ratatouille with a little saffron and herb and garlic paste stirred through at the end)
Whole bbq cauliflower in preserved lemon and spice butter served with kindzmari (Georgian green chilli and coriander sauce) and tahini yoghurt
Leg of lamb marinated in herb, preserved lemon, coriander, fennel seeds and cumin (slow cooked)
Miso, ginger, garlic beef ribs slow-cooked and finished on the bbq
Georgian mtsvadi (pork neck cooked over grape vines, sprinkled with wine seasoned with salt)
Azerbaijani spatchcocked chicken cooked under weight on the plancha in lamb fat with potatoes, aubergines, chillies, tomatoes, sourdough bread
Grilled strawberries and rhubarb with Sorrel and mint sorbet
Roasted apricots and buckwheat and bay-infused creme anglaise
Sour cherry and vanilla sponge cake, yoghurt

Please note the following is not included: Visas and travel / medical insurance, any meals out.

Terms and Conditions

: Luxury Travel Diary terms and conditions apply. This auction is for 2 guests to attend a 4-night Photography & Gastronomy Break, staying at La Poublee, Le Mazeau, Vendee, in a Single Room with shared bathroom. *This auction item is valued at approximately GBP£599 by Big In France – please note this valuation is the list price provided to Luxury Travel Diary by the Auction Prize Provider and should be used as a guide only as cheaper discounted rates may be available. No cash alternative is available. This auction item excludes flights and transport, except for the transfers mentioned in the auction description above – you will need to arrange your own flights / transportation to and from your home to La Rochelle, Poitiers or Nantes Airport in France to coincide with the course. This auction prize can only be taken 15 – 19 June 2017. A place on this course is subject to availability. If this course is unavailable you will be offered a place on a different course later in the year. Please note this auction has a reserve price set of £249 GBP. Please note the following is not included: Visas and travel / medical insurance, any meals out. Winners must pay for their auction item in full via Paypal within 48 hours of the auction end, otherwise Luxury Travel Diary Ltd. reserves the right to offer the auction item to the next highest bidder with immediate effect.