Through the week we will roast, stew, pan fry and use sous-vide and a pressure cooker. We will make different kinds of stuffing, and a French style pâté. You will learn delightful Provençal vegetarian and fish dishes. Improve your knife skills, learn how to work with different kinds of dough (bread, croissants, tarts, choux). Master sauce basics and advanced. Use seasonal products during a season when fruits and vegetables abound and are so delicious!
And by re-applying once or twice through the week some of the cooking principles you will be learning throughout, you will gain a ‘fluency’ in your cooking, to paraphrase Patricia Wells.
We will go into the details of when and why to use different cooking techniques, from sous-vide to pressure cooking. And we will see how certain techniques are great to help organize life in the kitchen, whether for daily cooking or parties. But we will also apply classic roasting and stew techniques to different cuts of meat, as well as apply pan frying and poaching to different kinds of fish.
Bread dough can be as simple as flour, water, yeast and salt. But add a bit of sugar, or butter, and give it a bit of time and you get something quite different. Which can be used for different purposes and pleasures. So through those few days we will touch upon a couple of different techniques as well, and it will all start making sense.
And every meal is the opportunity to learn a new dessert of course! From Peach Melba to Strawberry Charlotte, through Clafoutis and Profiteroles, you will learn quite a few French Classic desserts.
What is nice about spending one week together is some of what we will cover on the first day, we will be able to re-apply later in the week. But with variations. Just to give an example, once we have seen the principles and techniques for making bread, we can make bread everyday - the same or different, but using the same basic principles. Same for some sauces, etc... And we can also marinate ingredients over several hours or days. So we can take advantage of the time we are spending together to see what time does to cooking. And the goods news is that time does a lot of good actually.
When we think seasonality, we immediately think about Fruits and Vegetables of course. But actually all produce have a seasonality because life in nature always follows the cycle of the seasons. So we will use courgettes (Zucchini), courgette (Zucchini) flowers, Tomatoes and many other vegetables of course, from Asparagus to Green beans through Fennel. But also Lamb, Beef, Chicken – and Mackerel, Red Mullet or Langoustines. And all this will be a great way to go through many different prepping and cooking techniques.
So we will fill upon those, and enjoy them for the whole week!
Here are some examples of recipes we might cook to do just that:
Small Stuffed Provençal Vegetables (petits farcis de legumes provençaux)
Slow Roasted Lamb shoulder (Agneau de 7 heures)
Zucchini flowers stuffed with goat cheese mousse (Fleurs de Courgettes farcies)
Red Mullet Simply Sautéed with a locally based vinaigrette (Filets de Rouget Sauce Vierge)
What would be Provence without Herbes de Provence? So we will of course use them throughout the week. From Thyme to Rosemary, through the less famous but equally delicious Marjolaine and Sarriette – and of course Lavender, sometimes incorporated simply in the form of honey, we will explore ways you can bring Provence back to your home with these flavours.
So we might use these fragrant herbs to cook this:
Bay Leaf Skewer of Mackerel and Langoustine (Brochette de Maquereau et Langousine au Laurier)
Breast of Duck in Lavender Honey (Canette laquée au miel de Lavande)
But Provence is the land of quite a few other specialities: in the summer in France, everybody drinks an aniseed based drink called Pastis. Wonderfully refreshing, but also somewhat treacherous, it is also very good for cooking – it is actually one of the key ingredients in Oysters Rockfeller.
The Southern part of Provence is the only region in France where we grow rice: Camargue.
And not far from our Village the region where we make some of the best French Olive Oil, Nyons. Always virgin cold pressed oil - by law actually.
Here are some examples of recipes where we can make full use of these very local produce:
Pilaf de Riz de Carmargue (Local Provençal Rice based Pilaf dish)
Small Chickens cooked in Pastis (Poulettes au Pastis)
Vinaigrette with local Nyons Olive Oil
In Summary, pretty much everything
Transfer from and to Avignon
6 Nights Accommodation Double or Double Twin
7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches and 6 Dinners
7 Hands-on Cooking Sessions of 1,5 to 3 hours each
All visits and wine tastings
All meals with 1/3 bottle of Wine included per person per meal
(Doube Occupancy Basis)
Whether about terms and conditions, who to come with or what to bring ...