Christmas Cuisine Weekend

8th - 11th December 2023

A Christmas Culinary Experience Like No Other

Join us from 8th to 11th December for lots of fun in the kitchen as you learn from the wonderful Maggy some very special French recipes to dazzle your guests over the Christmas season. Enjoy the perfect balance between chilling and cooking as you pick up endless hints and tips to entertain and impress friends and family.

About the Retreat

During your break with us, you will enjoy a perfect balance between hands-on cookery classes and restorative downtime. Hosted by chef Maggy Paul-Martinet in her beautifully rustic and welcoming home, your cookery classes will provide endless insights into traditional Christmas recipes using the finest of local ingredients. Outside the kitchen, we will visit local markets and immerse you in the sights and sounds of this magical region.

About Your Teacher

Maggy Paul-Martinet is a true master in the kitchen. With a career spanning hotel management and catering, she spent 25 years at Air France, traveling the world and experiencing diverse cultures and cuisines. After running cookery workshops in Christchurch, New Zealand, Maggy returned to France and pursued professional training in cookery and pastry. A devoted mother and grandmother, her passion for hosting and cooking shines through her teaching.

About Your Hosts

Olive and Charlie will be your hosts for the week, ensuring a seamless and unforgettable experience from start to finish. Having made the move from Ireland to France some years back, they fell in love with the Charente region and have dedicated themselves to creating retreats that combine quality instruction and authentic French experiences, from the delicious local food and wine to visits to unique local attractions.

About the Venue

This very special weekend will be hosted in Maggy’s family home – an 18th century manoir surrounded by the vineyards of the Grande Champagne Cognac region close to the beautiful town of Chateauneuf sur Charente. The house is a truly special place - a bustling family home - which emanates warmth and charm in equal measure. It is the perfect setting for an unforgettable experience...


Day 1: Arrival and Welcome

  • Arrival at Bordeaux Airport, where you’ll be greeted by your hosts, Olive and Charlie.
  • Transfer to Chateauneuf sur Charente and your country dwelling for the weekend.
  • Settle into your comfortable accommodation and relax.
  • Enjoy your first “apéro dînatoire” – a taster of things to come over the weekend, meet your fellow retreat guests and discuss the exciting days ahead.

Day 2: French markets and Charentais Christmas Fare

  • Begin the day with a delicious French breakfast.
  • Visit the local markets to pick up some key ingredients needed for your cookery classes
  • Afternoon cookery classes with Maggy will introduce you to traditional Charentais Christmas dishes and provide lots of opportunity to practice and perfect your art.
  • Gather for a communal dinner to enjoy the fruits of your afternoon labour.

Day 3: Cookery classes and Cognac distilleries

  • After breakfast, continue your culinary journey with Maggy, with a focus on savoury delights.
  • In the afternoon, the focus will move to sweet treats and French dessert favourites. 
  • In the evening, you will enjoy some wine tasting savouring the best of local producers, learning about the history and production of Cognac, wine and pineau.

Day 4: Closing and Departure

  • A wrap up session to finish off your culinary Christmas delights followed by… 
  • …a final French brunch before bidding farewell to your hosts and fellow guests
  • Transfer to Bordeaux Airport for your return flight, taking with you cherished memories and newfound culinary talents.

Please note that this itinerary is subject to change.*

Travel Arrangements

We recommend traveling Aer Lingus Dublin – Bordeaux on the 8th December and Bordeaux – Dublin on the 11th December for complimentary airport transfers.


The all-inclusive cost of this exclusive Christmas Cuisine experience is €749 per person sharing or €929 if you wish to avail of a private room. The fee covers accommodation, food and wine, tuition and ingredients, as well as transport to and from Bordeaux airport if you book the recommended flights. Flight costs are not included and must be arranged by you separately.
A non-refundable 50% deposit is required in order to confirm your booking.

Register Your Interest in Our Christmas Cookery Weekend

As we are in the process of fine-tuning some details of this retreat to ensure it provides a transformative experience, we are currently not accepting immediate bookings. However, we recognise that you might already be considering this retreat for your future plans.
Once you express your interest, you'll be among the first to receive updates about the retreat. We'll keep you informed about when bookings will open and any exciting details or enhancements to the itinerary as they are confirmed.

    A Place I Want to Return To

    Wonderful hosts, great house and ambiance, kindness amongst friends, beautiful countryside surrounded by amazing grapevines and sunflowers, birdsong and farm life. Living in the moment with mindfulness makes it a place I want to return to.

    Susan Barr

    Like a Gathering of Old Friends

    Olive and Charlie were so kind, generous and hospitable and really couldn’t do enough for the group and to make our stay as comfortable as possible. There was a lovely balance between our sessions and local trips. It became like a gathering of old friends after the first night at dinner...I’ll certainly be back!

    Miriam Glynn

    Genuinely Warm & Welcoming

    This weekend exceeded my expectations. Olive & Charlie are wonderful hosts, immediately creating an environment which is genuinely warm & welcoming. Which in turn makes the group dynamic work effortlessly. I really cannot recommend it highly enough and look forward to my next trip to Olive & Charlie.

    Jennifer Callan