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This six-day course is perfect if you are looking for a high-end cookery course with a strong emphasis on covering all aspects of cooking and food presentation. Chefs Maynard and Benedicts philosophy is to use the best ingredients along with intuition and imagination. By the end of the week you will have learnt a core range of cooking skills from butchery to patisserie. The style of food will not only include classic French dishes but also Mediterranean and Asian dishes.
You will stay in a luxury, converted 18th-century French farmhouse set in the picturesque countryside in the Loire Valley region of France. Rooms are all en-suite, beautifully decorated, and with impressive views of the countryside. The house is surrounded by a lovely walnut tree grove and gardens where you can relax and also dine al fresco. Across the courtyard, there is your wonderful professional teaching kitchen where you will soak up a huge amount of new and impressive cookery skills.
The kitchen is country style complete with high ceilings and exposed oak beams. The house has fully equipped purpose-build kitchen and another kitchen in the farmhouse for your use. There is also a large sitting room with dining table for you to relax. Internet is available in the sitting room. Every room has en-suite bathroom. On-site secure parking is available.
As soon as you arrive, you will sample the delightful gourmet cooking through a six-course dinner. You will then dive into the cooking on your second day, when you will learn professional knife skills, and how to make a variety of bread using different techniques and master butchery. With a maximum of four guests to one chef, you are guaranteed an attentive, personal learning experience.
Check into your room in the afternoon and after that, you will have the chance to explore the house, gardens, and local area at your leisure. At 17:00,you will enjoy a welcome glass of fizz while you have an introductory talk where you will go through the cooking course structure. You will meet your chefs and have thechance to chat about your level of cooking experience, but dont worry, because the course is suitable for complete beginners as well as experienced cooks. In the evening, you will tuck into a delicious six-course gourmet dinner prepared by your chefs, Maynard and Benedict, that will give you a taste for the week ahead.
Wake up to a continental breakfast complete with croissants, breads, jams, cereals, fruits, and yoghurt before heading to the kitchen for your first cookery lesson. At around 10:00, youll head to the professional kitchen to begin your first cooking lesson. This first session will involve getting to grips with knife skills. You will learn about kitchen safety and practice dicing, slicing,and finely chopping various vegetables. After this, the chef will demonstrate how to prepare leek and potato soup with cheese croutons. You will then learn the importance of seasoning followed by a lesson on making your own bread.
While you rest your dough, you will have another hands-on session working on your meat butchery skills starting with chicken. After an energetic morning in the kitchen, you will take a deserved lunch break at 13:30, eating on the mezzanine level above the kitchen and enjoying the leek and potato soup, fresh breads, cheese, pickles, salad, and olives. In the afternoon, you will sit back and relax as you watch another demonstration of making chicken stock, veal glace, red wine and shallot sauce, preparing salmon as well as gravlax of salmon. After the demonstration, you will have another hands-on class where you will learn to prepare fresh fish, from fish filleting to making a delicious stock.
You will learn how to prepare seafood chowder, home-smoked trout, and crab bisque sauce. Delicieux! Your first day of cooking will finish around 16:30,and you will have a short break to relax before you head back to the kitchen to do the fun bit - presenting the dishes! You will make the vital finishing touches and learn key presentation techniques that will make your dishes stand out from the crowd. After an aperitif, you will enjoy your gastronomic dinner which will be finished with coffee and truffles (if you have any room left for them).
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then, head over to the kitchen to watch your chef demonstrating how to make fresh pasta, chicken and foie gras mousse, and sweet pastry. Then, it is your turn to be chef and make your own ravioli and tagliatelle. Take a short break to discuss the afternoons menu before you begin to prepare a six-course feast for dinner. Once you have finished your preparation, you will take a break to enjoy the lunch you made earlier of tagliatelle, bread, and salad followed by cheese and biscuits.
In the afternoon, you will visit either a 19th-century windmill which produces buckwheat flour using traditional methods or a local cider farm where you will havea tasting session. This depends on the season. After your visit, you will return to the kitchen to finish off the dinner, plate up the dishes, and then, you can enjoy an aperitif before sitting down to have the wonderful six-course menu around 20:00.
After a continental breakfast, you will have another fun-filled cooking class. In the morning, you will learn to make ice cream, learn about sugar work such as making a honey wafer basket or a tuille. A dessert-filled morning will be followed by a short break, and then, it is time to begin looking at the evenings six-course menu where you will put all your new skills into practice and begin preparing each dish.
You will take a leisurely lunch around 13:30 and have thechance to taste the ice creams you have prepared. After lunch, you will be visited by a French patissier who will teach you how to make croissants and macarons.In the late afternoon, it is time for you budding chefs to finish off your dinner preparations including presenting the dishes to a restaurant standard. Enjoy the fruits of your laboreating the wonderful six courses you have prepared.
Your last day is filled with yet more fun cooking activities. You will be split into teams and prepare spring rolls, a beef main course, a gravlax followed by a dessert, sorbet,and petit fours. Then, youll have a break to enjoy your lunch around 12:30, and then, the afternoon is free for you to spend itas you wish. You can visit the nearby town of Laval or simply relax at the house. For your last dinner, you will sit down to enjoy the dishes you have prepared and have a chance to reflect and discuss what you have learnt from your time on the cooking course.
After your final continental breakfast, you are asked to check out of your rooms and be ready for departure, taking home with you fantastic life long memories, new cooking skills, and some new foodie friends.
As part of your course, you will visit either a 19th-century windmill which produces buckwheat flour using traditional methods or visit a local cider farm with a tasting session. The cider farm, La Ferme du Pressoir, is an award winning cider press farm in Laval, where you will learn about the ideal orchard conditions, take a tour of the cellar, and sample local and regional apple cider.
This holiday will take place in the Loire Valley, France. Set amidst the pretty walnut tree grove, lies Flavours of Frances charming French farmhouse. Surrounded on every side by the peaceful countryside, this is the ideal setting for a relaxing, gourmet holiday. Within walking distance is the pretty French village of Livr La Touche, and nearby are the towns of Craon and Laval.
Please find the sample menu for your cooking classes below, including the cooking course techniques you will be learning and using:
Caramelized scallops with a cauliflower pure scented with truffle oil; techniques: cooking the scallops, preparing the pure, and presenting the dish
Chicken and foie gras tortellini with a truffle foam; techniques: making fresh pasta and the foie gras filling, learning about foams
Glazed lemon tart with iced lime parfait served in a honey wafer basket; techniques: baking the tart, making parfait and the wafer basket
Iced coconut parfait with tuille biscuits; techniques: making parfait, creating and baking the biscuits
Monkfish with a brioche crust, served with saffron tagliatelli and a white wine, mussel and dill sauce; techniques: preparing the fish, making the pasta and sauce
Passion-fruit and orange bavarois with orange crisps and a passion-fruit sauce; techniques: preparing the bavarois jelly, creating the orange crisps, making the sauce
Rich and fluffy Roquefort souffl; techniques: preparing the souffl mix and baking
Seared fillet of salmon served with sauted king prawns and a crab bisque vinaigrette; techniques: preparing the fish and seafood, making the crab bisque
Stuffed quail with braised red cabbage and Puy lentils; techniques: butchery skills, cooking the lentils, making the sauce
Warm salad of sauted scallops and chorizo sausage with a lime dressing; techniques: searing the scallops, cooking chorizo, preparing the dressing
Wild mushroom risotto; techniques: selecting and preparing the mushrooms, cooking the risotto
The closest airports are Rennes-Saint-Jacques Airport (RNS), Angers-Loire Airport (ANE),and Nantes Atlantique Airport (NTE).
You can come by a TVG train from Paris Montparnasse train station to Laval train station. The total of your journey would be 1 hour 40 minutes. Flavours of France will pick you up from the train station. The pick-up is included in the price.