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Learn to cook and serve duck and foie gras in both traditional and modern ways in a rural, rustic setting in the region famed for bringing these delicacies to the world culinary stage. Chef Bruno will show you how to transform the raw produce into delectable dishes helping you to demystify the misconception that working with duck is difficult all the while learning a few simple techniques. Awaken your palate with flavour revelations never before imagined. This weekend "duck experience" is the perfect introduction to the star item of the southwest region of France.
Lissac is a large private house rather than a ‘holiday let’. It has seven bedrooms and is surrounded by farmland amongst the rolling hills near to Toulouse and the Pyrenees, and between the Garonne and the Ariege rivers. The mountains are visible from a five-minute walk up above the house.
There is a large garden with flowering shrubs, lavender, roses, clematis, and wisteria climbing up the house walls. There is plenty of space for games, badminton, football, rounders, hide-and-seek, or reading a book under the shadow of oak trees. In the wood, you may see deer, hares, badgers, foxes, red squirrels, lizards, frogs, and a great many birds, including owls, nightingales, buzzards, kites, hoopoes and golden orioles depending on the time of year.
There is also a 7 x 14 meters chlorine-free swimming-pool enclosed by a fence for safety. You are welcome to use and enjoy this house as if it were your own. There is a grand piano, and a large library of books that should cover most tastes, shock some, irritate or enthrall others, At the side of the house, there is a huge open-sided barn, with a massive dining table and BBQ, and a sitting area to watch the distant tractors or neighboring horses and llamas, a field away. There is also a ping-pong table and table football.
Please note that there are no en-suite facilities. All three bathrooms are shared.
During this culinary retreat, you will experience a relaxing and hands-on approach to cooking, coupled with the understanding and knowledge of local food styles. You will look at ingredients, how they work together, different ways to cook the same item, but with completely different twists and, importantly, the art of presentation.
Upon arrival to Lissac (a French countryside farmhouse), and after you settle into your rooms, you will go out to a local duck producer and a local farmhouse bakery. Returning to Lissac, you will sit down to an evening meal prepared by Bruno and made with the freshest, local ingredients: salad with mixed duck charcuterie, celeriac soup with olive oil and foie gras toast, cheese board, and Tarte Tatin with Armagnac crème fraiche.
After a good night's sleep, you will wake up early on Saturday morning to a full breakfast. You will then travel 15 minutes to the nearby town of Pamiers, where you will experience a real French market and where you can shop for food souvenirs. After returning from Pameirs, you will get right back to work with your morning class where you will begin the preparation of a "Cassoulet Toulousain" showing you exactly how to make Magret de Canard (home-cured duck breast).
Lunch will be prepared by Bruno and will consist of grilled sourdough bread with duck rillette, pickles, greens and local cheese served with local honey and rosemary. Dessert will be fromage blanc with sweet chestnut puree.
Your afternoon class will focus on completing the evening meal which you started in the morning. You will create Brioche Dinner Rolls made of duck fat, fig, and foie gras; Rillette de Canard (duck rillette); and for dessert, a Tarte Prune Amande Armagnac (a typical and famous tart from the southwest of France). After dinner, relax and unwind around a fireplace, play board games, chat with other participants, or just post on social media about your wonderful experience so far!
Sunday morning, you will awaken to a full breakfast before starting your morning class. Your morning class will be focused on preparing lunch and will consist of how to make three delicious amuse-bouches: Foie Gras for a Ballotine, a Peach and Duck Foie Gras Crumble, and a Foie Gras Crème Brûlée.
Lunch will consist, therefore of all of the above, plus a salad and boozy dessert. After lunch, you will begin work on the evening dinner which will consist of duck in honey, orange, and star anise sauce, Millas (a local polenta), Apple Kouign Amman flambéed with Armagnac.
When you're finished preparing the evening meal, you will have approximately two hours free. Please ask your host for ideas of what to see in the area if you'd like to go out on your own and explore the countryside. Dinner will be served around 6.30 p.m.
After a hearty southwest dinner, you can do one of two things depending on everyone’s preferences. You can either stay in and relax in the farmhouse or for those who are wanting to see a bit more of the area, you can all go for coffee at a local cafe in one of the nearby villages. Either way, you will have plenty of time to pack.
Bruno specializes in French and American cuisine. For 30 years, he lived in London (UK) and in Rochester (UK) where he owned the (semi)legendary Bruno's Bakes & Coffee. In 2011, he won a Master Chef Live/BBC Good Food Show bursary award for his salted butter caramel and his sweet pastry base. He was a judge for the semi-final of the International Chocolate Awards held in London in May 2012. Bruno was also featured in the January 2013 issue of Delicious magazine and the May 2014 edition of Kent Life. His recipes can be found in the DK book, "Chocolate: Indulge Your Inner Chocoholic".
The farmhouse in Boulbennes de Lissac in Dufort is at the foothills of the Pyrenees, an old grange transformed into a farmhouse with seven bedrooms and a large traditional country kitchen where the meals will be taken and the workshop taught. Only 50 minutes from Toulouse and the gateway to Andorra. It has an open barn area to relax, a ping-pong table, a bbq, a grand piano, a library, table football, and a flower garden as well as a swimming pool in summer.
This area of Ariège, part of the Occitanie region, has the added benefit of fantastic rural countryside with fantastic local products. The biggest food market in Pamiers is only 15 minutes away and you will take a tour and shop there before cooking, so you have the opportunity to bring back food items you'd not find elsewhere.
You will have a larder of essentials stocked, but you will mainly cook with fresh and local ingredients. You will buy from local producers at the market in Pamiers for meat, dairy, vegetables, and fruits. Homemade sourdough bread will be provided.
Breakfast will consist of coffee (locally roasted!) and a variety of teas, as well as eggs, bread, brioches, jams and butter, local bacon or ham, and sausages. You will prepare most of the main meals together sharing the fruits of your labor.
There are many activities you can pursue when your culinary weekend has ended such as:
Transfer available for additional US$47 per person
Please book your flight to arrive at Toulouse–Blagnac Airport (TLS). The cost of a return transfer from and to the airport in Toulouse is 40 EUR per person with the host's own pre-booked taxi service. The pre-booked taxi will leave the airport at 1 p.m. sharp on the Friday of the workshop and will return to the airport at approximately 1 p.m. the following Monday.
If you would like to make your own way, then the nearest train station is Saverdun. Trains run often from Toulouse to Saverdun. From Saverdun, you can take a taxi to our farmhouse, Lissac. Tell the taxi driver you want to go to "Boulbennes de Lissac, 09130 Durfort".
For those arriving by car, there is plenty of free parking available on site.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.
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