Gastronomy in the Heart of France
Loire Valley, France - 6 nights
Available March to November - Sunday to Saturday
For those who are interested in learning to cook in the Loire Valley of France, from two very qualified and award winning chefs, this exciting cooking vacation is for you! Your seven hands on cooking classes during your six night stay are taught in English in a traditional French farmhouse kitchen. You will learn French cuisine but with a twist, using exotic flavors from around the globe. Your culinary holiday will also include visits to local areas of interest as well as a wine and chocolate tasting.
Depending on availability, your accommodation for the week will either be at the school’s brand new luxury on site accommodation where each room is beautifully decorated with ensuite shower rooms with its own private terrace with picturesque vieww, or at a charming 4 star hotel, close to the school. Transport for all activities is included so a rental car is not at all necessary.
After this cooking adventure there will be no doubt that you have more confidence in the kitchen, having been taught by 2 professional chefs who have cooked for celebrities, heads of state and even her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II!
Day one - Sunday
Arrival from 2:00pm. Settle into your home for the week and get acquainted with your surroundings.
Tonight around 7pm your hosts will welcome you with an aperitif followed by a "Taste of the Loire Valley" buffet. You will have the opportunity to meet and get to know the other guests on the course.
Welcome to France!
Day Two - MONday
Enjoy a traditional French Breakfast
Today we share French Mediterranean dishes with you which are known for their seasonal, local, and fresh ingredients, something we passionately believe in and strive to share with our Culinary Family.
During all your classes you will be exposed to accompaniments or side dish preparation as well.
You will prepare several Mediterranean dishes using local ingredients that will include Quiche Touraine, Flatbread, Grilled Piperade and Provençale Salad.
For lunch we enjoy our mornings' cooking.
This afternoon we continue our Mediterranean journey beyond the French borders and Sidney shares some of his favourite memories with you cooking with his mentors and a young chef. and we prepare our Brioche dough as it needs to rest overnight. Alison shares with you two desserts that are enjoyed all over the globe, with a twist.
• Roasted Garlic and Camembert Brioche
• Gnocchi of the moment
• Free-range Chicken
• Burnt Pannacotta and homemade gingerbread
• Chocolate Crème Brulée
We also make our Brioche dough that needs to rest overnight.
Leisure time until dinner
Tonight we enjoy the dishes we prepared together.
Day three - TUESday
This morning we will enter the world of Ice Cream and all things Sweet and Nice.
• Salted Caramel Ice Cream
• Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream Lollies
• Lemon and Coconut Ice Cream
• Chocolate Marshmallows
• Mousse au Chocolate
For Lunch you will enjoy The Classic Croque Madame followed by a contemporary take on the Pain Perdue. Both using the Brioche we have made together.
This afternoon your chef will share with you her passion for creating and preparing one of the world’s most sought-after classics, the Macaron, on which she has put her own stamp.
• Exotic Chocolate Macaron
• Seasonal Macaron Creations
Tonight we enjoy a dinner using recipes from Alison and Sidney’s book ‘Le Calabash’ A Culinary Journey.
Day Four - Wednesday
08.00 Depart for Tours
Today we experience Culinary France and Cultural Loire Valley and a day out of the kitchen.
We visit Tours best bakery to choose our breakfast pastries which we will enjoy in a little market coffee shop. This morning we explore both the indoor ‘Les Halles Food Market’ and the twice weekly outdoor market. We visit the old town which clusters around place Plumereau; its old houses restored to their former glory. Today this is the place for pavement cafes and people watching in the summer but stroll the smaller, narrow streets like rue Briconnet and you step back into the historic medieval city. To the south you’ll find a Romanesque basilica, the Cloitre de St-Martin and the new Basilique de St-Martin. You’re in the place which was once on the great pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. St-Martin was a soldier who became bishop of Tours in the 4th century and helped spread Christianity through France. His remains, rediscovered in 1860, are now in the crypt of the new Basilique.
Lunch - After lunch we Depart for Chateau Chenonceau where you have the afternoon to explore Chenonceau at your leisure.
Property of the Crown, then royal residence, Chenonceau Castle is an exceptional site not only because of its original design, the richness of its collections, its furniture and its decorations, but also because of its destiny, was loved, administrated and protected by women, who were all extraordinary and who, for the most part have marked history. For the historical background, the “Château des Dames” was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers then Catherine de Medici. Chenonceau was protected from the hardship of the revolution by Madame Dupin.
Enjoy Lunch in Chenonceau.
Tonight we have a relaxed evening discovering French Cheeses and Charcuterie and local wine.
Day five - THURSday
Traditional French Breakfast
This morning at 4am, our fish delivery arrived off the boats that came in late last night at the Atlantic port of La Rochelle a two-hour drive from the school.
You will be taught the best catch for each season, how to identify your fish and how to ensure it is fresh. The day will include techniques of preparing and cooking fish dishes.
Fish will include hands on tuition of:
• Preparing and working with Mussels, fresh from our Atlantic coast.
• We prepare a seasonal Fish course using our Fresh Ocean Catch of The Day.
For lunch, we enjoy one of our dishes we prepared this morning.
This afternoon we embark on a hand on savoury and sweet Souffle adventure
• Savoury Souffle of the moment.
• Passion Fruit Soufflé with coconut and lemon grass ice cream
• Soufflé of the moment.
We return to the cooking school for a tasting of Loire Valley wines and French chocolates followed by Dinner.
Chocolate is the confectionery match to wine. Perhaps this is because the process of making chocolate is very similar to wine. Both cocoa beans and wine are fermented with the very same type of yeast. No wonder there are so many wine and chocolate lovers!
Day Six - FRIday
After a traditional French breakfast we enter the world of bread making. We will share with you how easy it is to prepare and array of freshly baked breads using fresh and dry yeasts including laminated dough which can be used for pastries.
‘Fire and Spice’ reflects both Alison and Sidney’s adventurous side to cooking. Having met and tied the knot in Africa and having lived in several African countries they have a passion for cooking on the BBQ or over the coals of the fire pit.
Alison and Sidney take on a hands on cooking class that will leave you with a new and exciting approach to cooking outdoors and the depth, flavours, and techniques of what they call, ‘Taking a Walk on the Wild Side’
Leisure time until dinner
Certificate presentation and champagne and our farewell Fire and Spice Evening.
DAY SEVEN - SATURDAY
Breakfast followed by departure by 11am
*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc.
*Menus are samples and may vary according to the season
A minimum of 1 participant is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 8 participants.
(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)
HOW TO ARRIVE
Closest Airport/Train Stations:
Paris Charles de Gaulle & Orly airports are all within an hour and a half by train to Châtellerault, Tours or Poitiers train stations, from where you will be transferred. Transfer free of charge from Châtellerault. Transfers from Tours & Poitiers train station are not free of charge, but can be arranged.
2024 Fees Per Person
Single Room Supplement/US$575
*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation
After availability is confirmed, a 30% non-refundable deposit per person and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due no later than 75 days before your arrival date.
May 26-June 1
October 29-November 4
*Please inquire about dates of additional themed itineraries
*Accommodation for six nights
*Entrance into Château Chenonceau
*Meals: daily breakfast, and meals as per itinerary, including three glasses of selected wine with meals
*Transport for all activities in the itinerary
*Personalized apron and recipe folder
The price does not include:
*Transport from and to airport or station / this can be arranged
*Optional excursions or meals not listed in itinerary or any additional expenses ordered personally.
*Drinks that are personally ordered or excess wine consumed at meals
*Additional nights’ accommodation
*Excludes all Classes and Lunches
Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Patricia D., Orange, Connecticut
This exciting region is depicted below. You can also access Google MapsTM by clicking HERE.
*In some cases mapping may give clients a general sense of location due to changes in venue. Please inquire about specific location.