PROVENCE COOKING CLASSES
For several weeks each year my husband and I open our 18th century Provençal farmhouse to a limited number of students for personalized cooking classes. Our goal is not to teach just recipes or technique, but to help our students master cuisine in a more profound way. Watching us, following our tips and recommendations, benefiting from my many years of study with France’s best chefs, students tell us they gain a fluency and ease in the kitchen they’ve never had before. They also leave, many of them, telling us that it has been one of the best weeks of their lives.
The primary materials are the herbs, salads, vegetables, fruit and preserves from our own organic garden, or those of local farmers. The olives we use and its rich herbaceous oil are from our own groves, and the fragrant organic honey comes from the Chanteduc hives. The house wine is Clos Chanteduc, a red Côtes-du-Rhône from the vineyards on the property.
The weeklong English language program includes hands-on cooking lessons in the two kitchens at Chanteduc, followed by groups meals to enjoy the spoils of our labor. Throughout the 5-day course, the classes are enhanced with visits to local markets, vineyards, shops, and my favorite local restaurants.
Recipes are geared to the cooking enthusiast and cater to both the novice cook and those looking for more of a challenge in the kitchen. The classes are designed so that no matter what your skill level, all students will benefit from our knowledge and passion for the food, wine and art de vivre of one of France’s most storied regions. Each day’s program offers something different: Daily menus are prepared with the freshest seasonal ingredients and are shared together around the farmhouse table, sometimes beneath the shady pergola with a stunning sunset view, others in the cozy stone and ochre farm dining room. Throughout the lessons we also discuss cooking techniques, menu planning, and kitchen habits, organization and design. We also offer an insider’s guide to the regional production of olives, oil, and cheese, and tastings from the rich selection of local wines, including the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the heady and varied Vacqueyras and Gigondas, as well as the huge variety of top quality Côtes-du-Rhône.
All instruction is in English. Participants are supplied with personalized embroidered aprons as well as detailed recipe booklets featuring some 50 cherished recipe, both for students to take back home with them.
The class is limited to 8 participants. The week begins with a welcome dinner on Sunday night and ends after lunch on Friday. The fee is US$5,500 and includes all classes and tastings, market visits and transportation for local visits. The fee does not include airfares or transport to Chanteduc or lodging. (Information on housing as well as the specific week's schedule will be sent when students enroll. See Provence Accommodation for our list of places to stay in the region.)
The class schedule includes a welcome dinner on Sunday night; 6 hands-on cooking classes over the duration of the week with morning classes followed by lunch on four days and additional classes and dinner on Monday and Tuesday evenings; and a midweek winery visit and tasting followed by lunch in a favorite local restaurant. The other two evenings will be free for students to explore on their own or simply take a break.
A spouse or friend traveling with the student will be invited as our guest to the final lunch on Friday. He/she can also join the group for the Tuesday market tour, the Wednesday winery visit and the restaurant lunch afterwards, for a fee of US$250. For the spring and autumn Provence classes, there is room for two “companion” slots, meaning that a spouse or friend traveling with the student may attend dinners on Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, join us for the Tuesday market tour, the Wednesday wine tasting and lunch, as well as the final Friday lunch for a fee of US$500.
See a week's sample schedule from a previous class.