Despite the globalisation of shopping and the boom in online sales, Marbella continues to be a small oasis of curated shopping experiences.
When you let your legs actually do the walking, you tend to stumble upon quaint, unique shops that sell the kind of items that add a touch of exclusivity to your home, or make the perfect gift for a discerning friend.
Virginie is one such shop – the ‘baby’ of Virginie Demonchaux, a keen gourmet and décor lover who is as knowledgeable about pâtés and wine, as she is about interiors.
Virginie is a special, unique shop; one that merits various visits, especially when a party comes around and you wish to delight guests with a French delicacy and with gorgeous tableware that perfectly encapsulates the zeitgeist of the season.
Virginie specialises in high quality products from the Dordogne Périgord region in the South of France, selling everything from foie gras to a plethora of mustards, apéritifs and liqueurs, walnut specialties and table linen.
Virginie, who moved to the Coast a couple of years ago with her husband, Bertrand, lived for 25 years in the rich production region of Dordogne Périgord (ensconced between Toulouse and Bordeaux), where she grew to become very familiar with the unique products that she would incorporate into her recipes.
“I am happy to share my passion for cooking with customers,” she smiles, her bubbly personality making every visit to her shop a simple pleasure. Virginie is in close contact with many of the producers – one, who makes the foie gras, is actually her brother-in-law!
Virginie chose Marbella as the location for her new shop because it is such a rich mix of culture and nationalities, she knew she would find the right audience to share her vision. She originally opened her shop in Elviria, moving to the Golden Mile (a few steps away from Pan y Mermelada) when the locale became too small.
Simply entering the shop is like savouring the best of France – lovely natural fragrance fills the air, French music plays romantically in the background, and an array of bright colours and patterned linens entice and invite you to look carefully at the beautifully prepared shelves, containing sweet and savoury items, as well as a small but wonderful selection of French wines and liqueurs.
Virginie often offers visitors a degustation, pairing liqueurs or wines with some of her prized delicacies.
Some of the items you will find at Virginie include:
Wines and Champagne: Bordeaux, Chablis, Côtes du Rhône, organic rosé from Provence, Sauternes and more, as well as Champagne rosé and prestige brut.
Foie gras and duck products: Foie gras entier, traditional rillettes and old school pâté, goose gizzards and bloc of foie gras.
Mustard: In an array of different flavours, including grape must, red pepper, Provence herbs, walnut and more.
Oils and Vinegars: Including grape seed oil with a truffle aroma, either with balsamic vinegar or raspberry vinegar and fine walnut oil.
Aperitifs and liquors: Fig or peach wines, Pastis, liquor of Paris and plum Brandy Grande Reserve.
Walnut delicacies: Traditional, 100 per cent homemade walnut pie, chocolate walnuts and chocolate truffles.
The shop features stunning Basque linens by Jean-Vier, whose work is intricately linked to the region and culture. The linens are incredibly water repellent and anti-stain, so they are able to weather even the biggest parties!
The shop stocks placemats, aprons, rags, tea and hand towels, cushions, beach and bath towels, beach bags and printed coated canvas wear for exterior tables.
Lovers of candles will adore the different collections from Bougies le Francaise (founded in 1902), a fourth-generation company manufacturing long-lasting scented candles, fragrances and fragrance diffusers.
One of the most exclusive items in the shop are the knives by Corrèze, in ebony tree, steel and olive tree varieties, as well as gorgeous bottle openers.
Virginie is, indeed, the ultimate choice for colourful quality stoneware, as well as acrylic trays with fabric incorporated into the trays themselves.
Pop in and visit Virginie, who is certainly one of the most delightful shopkeepers we can recall meeting. Have a taste of one of her delicious walnut products with a glass of liqueur, and marvel at the different designs – food and décor are, indeed, the first steps towards turning a house into a home.
Virginie can also help you pick a perfect gift or design your wedding list, so don’t hesitate to experience the very best flavours and style from France.
Words Marisa cutillas Photography kevin horn
Marbella Real Local 20, Marbella. Tel: 952 834 398.