The Loire valley is the home to many a castle and a magnificent, and still somewhat wild river. So one can not spend time in the region without exploring some of the fish which comes from the river; Sandre is the most famous - and possibly the most delicious. But it is also the opportunity to poach some fish in a traditional court-bouillon. And one of the most deceiptively simple sauces to accompany Fish, Beurre Blanc, will have no secret for you - including some of its variations such as Beurre Rouge. We will see how we can use pressure cookers to accelerate cooking of long stews, but also how to make very flavouful stocks with it. We will make extensive use of the early Fall seasonal products, including musrhooms and various roots; but it will still be time to catch the last tomatoes, loaded with flavour at that time of year.
And by re-applying some of the cooking principles you will be learning throughout, you will start gaining confidence in reapplying some of these techniques for your day to day cooking - or for entertainment purposes
As we explore different techniques we will discuss when and how is best to use them, and how they can help you organize your cooking at home. We will roast, stew, fry, poach, bake and pipe - always keeping in mind why we do things the way we do; and what are the critical tips and tricks to remember from those experiences.
Bread dough can be as simple as flour, water, yeast and salt. But add a bit of sugar, or butter, and more importantly give it a bit of time and you get something quite different and very flavourful. So we will use the fact that we have a bit of time to explore some of these techniques to make bread at home as well
And as always, every meal is the opportunity to learn a new dessert of course! From tarts to crêpes and back, we will make quite a few classic French Desserts through the week.
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.
As all produce have a seasonality because life in nature always follows the cycle of the seasons, we will pursue cooking with the end of the summer and the fall in mind. From grapes to musrhooms; wonderful fresh beans, late tomatoes, the early prunes, just to name a few. But also Poultry, Lamb and Beef (Burgundy is not that far after all ...) - and Sandre, Mussels, and our beloved mackerel (good for you and great to taste). And all this will be a great way to go through many different prepping and cooking techniques.
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
We will organise a pick-up on Saturday at 4:30 pm from the Avignon TGV station. So the easiest way might be to get to Avignon TGV station at least 15 minutes before that time.
To get to the Avignon TGV station from Paris, you can take the TGV directly from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (Terminal 2) . Or you can take the train from Gare de Lyon as well.
If you can not arrive at such a time that the pick-up we organise will not work for you, please note that there are taxi stands at the station. However please note as well that at the time of the Avignon Theatre Festival (6th to 30th of July) taxis might be in high demand. So you might want to pre-book your transport. And Uber drivers are available in Avignon as well.
You will not need a car to participate to any of the activities we have planned for you. This means not for any meal or excursion or to lounge around the pool. If you still decide to rent a car, you should plan to do so in Avignon as you will not find a rental place in Sablet. And we will of course be happy to provide you directions on how to get to us. Specific parking will not be provided though, but you will be able to park on the street and/or in the village.
Whether about terms and conditions, who to come with or what to bring ...
In Summary, pretty much everything
Transfer from and to Toursn
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 to 1/2 bottle of Wine included per person per meal
(Doube Occupancy Basis)
(Single Occupancy Basis)