28 November 2011

The cellier, or cold-storage pantry

Our relatively modern house (1960s vintage) doesn't have a cellar or basement, but it has a cellier on the ground floor. A cellier is a pantry or larder — a storeroom for food and wine — and this one has a dirt (sand, actually) floor. It's on the north side of the house, so it stays fairly cool in there except in the hottest part of summer. It's not heated, and it's windowless. A cellier can also be called a garde-manger.

Two photos of our cellier or pantry/larder

What we call a cellar in English is called « une cave » in French. It's an underground storage space, usually under a house or other building. It's an ideal place for storing wine or cider, because the temperature in a cave remains constant year-round. I wish we had one under our house, but we don't.

Larder, garde-manger, cellier, pantry, storeroom...

Meanwhile, the cellier or cold-storage pantry/larder will have to do. We of course keep wine down there, but much more besides. Having a good-size pantry sort of makes up for having a small kitchen with only minimal storage space in it. And it means we run up and down the stairs many times every day. That's called "exercise."

The duck confit I made recently is in the big dish on
the right, on top of the deep-fat fryer (la friteuse)
which is full of peanut oil.

Since we buy wine in bulk and bottle it ourselves, we keep a lot of both empty and full wine bottles in the pantry. They drain and dry on the red bottle rack before being put away. We also keep a lot of jars for putting up jams, jellies, etc. — not to mention bags and other containers of spices, condiments, and dried herbs. Sugar, flour, noodles, glasses... un peu de tout, quoi.


  1. Having seen une Cave recently, I think a Cellier is preferable.
    That cave needed a lot of cleaning out. There were jam jars down there since I am not sure when.

    One can see yours is a functioning pantry, which is the way to go really, compared to those Martha Stewart/Coupon ladies pantries, where it's all organized, but full of useless items.

  2. We kind of use our garage like this.

  3. It's a great storage space to have. Just think how you would manage if you only had your kitchen cupboards !!

  4. This time of year I'm always on the lookout for the mice that want some warmth. They just love the places that have a bin of dog food that wasn't carefully sealed! Our sous-sol is all interconnected with laundry space, wine store ,tools & workshop, garage and, of course, long term storage/oubliette.

  5. Our cellier is the old grain merchant's office at the end of the entry hall. I love having a pantry, although it fluctuates a bit too much in temperature for some things. The plan is to convert the pit for the winding gear in the graineterie one day into a sort of cave for the wine.

  6. when i leave for 4 mos or so to go to my house in NC I take my spices & other kitchen items with me....so my car looks more like a cellier.....I probably concentrate more on food related items than clothes for my "necessities"

  7. A pantry is such a great thing to have.


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