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Join your hosts chefs Bernard Corbiere, David and Vikki Chance, for an exquisite week in France. This cookery course will give you to the fundamentals of French cuisine and will be based in sea food. Improve your knife skills, experience pastry making in the kitchen, and create outstanding French sauces, dishes and desserts in a beautiful place surrounded by maize and sunflower fields.
The Gascony Cookery School pride themselves in offering an outstanding cooking holiday experience which extends to the accommodation they provide to all of their guests. All rooms have double beds with en-suite shower rooms (toiletries and hairdryer provided) and are styled in an authentic French regional style to the highest standards.
The school's standards are extremely high and they continually strive to make sure that the accommodation, furnishings, sundries and level of cleanliness are met consistently to provide you with a trouble-free and outstanding holiday experience. All rooms are traditionally furnished and refurbished to the highest standard whilst retaining the charm of the outstanding French 17th century buildings.
All rooms are based on an authentic style of a French Chambres d’Hôtes accommodation with added modern luxuries such as air conditioning in some rooms for those hot summer evenings in Gascony. Please request a room with air-conditioning when booking, if required. Rooms are subject to availability. All rooms have en-suite facilities, heating, and full access to a choice of three south-facing terraces at The Gascony Cookery School.
The Garden Room is situated on the ground floor with views of the Valley D'Arratz. This is room features classic French furniture as well as two double beds and a contemporary en-suite shower room.
The Lavender Room provides stunning views across the Valley D'Arratz; this beautiful, spacious room is furnished with period French furniture with an en-suite shower room. The room is equipped with one king-size bed and en-suite bathroom. It can accommodate up to two people.
The Poppy Room is situated on two levels, making it ideal for those planning to share. The ground floor features traditional local stonework, double bed and en-suite shower room. On the first floor you will find a spacious, light room with views of the Chateau De Gramont. There are two double beds and one single bed, and the room can accommodate five people in total.
The Sunflower Room offers superb views over the Valley D'Arratz. This exquisite room is equipped with a double bed, sliding oak wardrobe as well as an en-suite shower room.
The Beautiful View, this is what you'll experience; wake up each morning to the views of the Valley D'Arratz as well as the Pyrenees. Bi-fold doors opening onto your own private terrace. This unique room is traditionally furnished, offering a double bed and beautiful en-suite shower room.
The Cave is a warm, cozy environment with a unique open plan style. Featuring contemporary furniture, making a perfect compliment to the traditional stone walls. This charming room also includes a double bed and open plan en-suite shower room.
This cooking vacation is ideal for those who are looking for a six-day cookery course in fundamental French cuisine, and perfect for those with all levels of cooking experience looking to improve their skills or experience in the kitchen and create outstanding French dishes and desserts. During this foundation week, you will cover knife skills, pastry making, fish filleting, sea bass, red mullet, salmon and trout, crab, lobster, mussels, clams, and sauces.
Non cooking guests can participate in lunch, dinner, and all excursions. Cooking tuition is excluded though.
Begin by settling into your room and making yourself at home by taking a stroll around the village to acquaint yourself with Gramont and its residents. You are then invited to join others on the terrace at 7 p.m. for local aperitifs and hors d'oeuvres, over which you will discuss the week ahead and get to know each other a little better.
Aperitifs and general mingling will be followed by a four-course supper prepared by David and accompanied by a selection of local wines. Weather permitting, the group will dine on the terrace, affording you a fabulous view of the surrounding countryside and, hopefully, some early evening sunshine!
After dinner, you can relax by taking advantage of one of the three terraces on which to enjoy a glass of wine, or by unwinding in the outdoor hot tub, from which vantage point you can admire your first Gramontois sunset. Your holiday has begun!
Following breakfast, the course will begin with a tour of David's kitchen and an introduction to basic knife skills. Following this, you will prepare with David Mussell soup infused with saffron as well as stuffed squid with pea and tomato risotto. Your dessert this lunchtime is a scrumptious almond and orange cake.
In the afternoon, you will enjoy lunch at the cookery school with Dave and Vikki. The afternoon cookery session is with Bernard in the Auberge which is only 50 meters away from the cookery school. During this session, you will prepare rilettes of trout, lobster a l'americaine, and clafoutis. Dinner will be at Auberge.
On Tuesday morning, join an excursion to a fabulous local market in Valance de Agen followed by lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, you will be working with David in his kitchen preparing scallop quenelles in consomme, fillet of sea bass with parsnip puree, as well as walnut and gramont honey tart. Dinner will be at the cookery school.
After breakfast, go straight into David's kitchen to prepare yet another superb three-course menu for this evening: crab tartlets, fillet of red mullet with gratin of asparagus, and millefeuille aux pommes. After a long leisurely lunch to recuperate after this morning's full on cookery session, you are back in the Auberge with Bernard to prepare salmon seche, trout with three sauces, i.e Amande, Hollandaise and Beurre Marie, and piece montee. Dinner will be at Auberge.
This morning, following breakfast, the cooking session is with Bernard in the Auberge. You will prepare a very authentic bouillabaise followed by glace praline. From there, wine tasting at the Domaine de Thermes and with your chosen wines, picnic in the vines. After lunch, you will have a tour of the region. Dinner will be at the Auberge of Bouillabaise.
Sadly, the cookery holiday has come to an end! Breakfast will be served as usual, until 10 a.m. and you are asked to kindly vacate the room before 11 a.m. À bientôt!
One visit to the Valance de Agen market and one tour around the region are included in this holiday.
David’s passion as a professional chef for French cuisine, made him move to Gramont in 2002. He and his wife Vikki specifically selected the Tarn-et-Garonne region, situated as it is in the heart of Gascony, for its famed gastronomic repertoire. David and his wife ran the chambres d’hotes and table d’hotes for four years, however the popularity of David’s cooking soon attracted the attention of talented local chef Bernard and from their newfound Franglais friendship the cookery school was born.
Motivated by their shared love of France, Vikki Chance and her husband moved to Gramont in 2002. They specifically selected the Tarn-et-Garonne region, situated as it is in the heart of Gascony, for its famed gastronomic repertoire. With the original intention of establishing a chambres d’hotes and table d’hotes they began their new life by carefully restoring an old farmhouse and barn. They ran the chambres d’hotes and table d’hotes for four years and after a great success the cookery school was born.
Bernard has owned and run a successful restaurant in Gramont for over 25 years and his traditional menu has earned him a respected reputation in the region. Bernard and David's vision was to design a program that would enable students of French cookery to work their way up from mastering of knife skills to executing impressive four-course meals in just under a week. They wanted to use their combined knowledge as professional chefs from either side of the Channel to make French cookery enjoyable.
This holiday will take place at the Gascony Cookery School, in Gascony, France. Located in the beautifully historical quaint village of Gramont in the heart of Gascony, South West France, the Gascony Cookery School offers cooking holidays in France with a difference.
Gascony still remains one of the most “French” parts of France. It is largely unspoiled by tourism and retains a great deal of character and charm. Property prices, like everywhere, have increased recently, but the region still remains comparatively excellent value for people seeking a permanent residence or holiday home.
Gascony is the ancient name of a former duchy in South West France. Steeped in history these lands were ruled by the Romans, conquered by the Visigoths and then by the Francs.
By the end of the 10th century, its dukes had achieved autonomy from the French crown but in 1052 Gascony fell to Aquitaine and came under English control in the 12th century. It was the nucleus of English possessions in France until regained by the French at the end of the Hundred Years War (1453). The departement of the Gers is the heart of Gascony, so often described as the Tuscany of France. It is a region of gently rolling hills, hilltop bastide towns and villages, an abundance of rivers and wide-open spaces.
Gascony is a land of rich and fertile soils which has historically elevated its produce and cuisine to the top of the French culinary table. Gascony is still very much a farming region, a land of wheat, maize and sunflower fields and fabulous wines that are so often overlooked outside of France.
Armagnac is the oldest of the French eau de vies and is still made by individual producers who care more for their product than the profits of a multinational business. Gascony is famed for its garlic and is the true home of foie gras, the region is a gastronomic delight.
The Gers is one of the least densely populated departements in France. There is no heavy industry or autoroutes. It has some of the cleanest air in all of Europe. It is therefore no surprise that Gascons live longer than any other people in France. Auch is the capital (prefecture) of the Gers and its largest town with around 20,000 inhabitants.The impressive cathedral of St-Marie holds two of the regions finest art works, the Arnaud de Moles stained glass windows and the 113 carved oak choir stalls. Auch is a vibrant center of commerce and has numerous good cafes and restaurants.
Condom in the north of the Gers is a sous-prefecture and capital of the Tenareze Armagnac region. It is a beautiful town centered around the Cathedral of St-Pierre and although its name is often a source of amusement to English speakers it is believed to be derived from two Latin words “condate” and “dum”, meaning confluence and hill respectively.
To the east of Condom are Lectoure and Fleurance. Lectoure is a spectacular town perched on a high rock escarpment with wonderful views stretching all the way to the Pyrenees. It has been an important centre since Gallo-Roman times and was the main residence of the Counts of Armagnac. Fleurance, meanwhile, is a bastide town and an important market town with one of the best markets in the Gers.
In the south of the departement, the main towns are Mirande and Marciac. Mirande is a fine example of a 13th century bastide and now holds an internationally famous country and western festival each year. Marciac is well-known for its world famous jazz festival. Outside of the August festival it is an attractive quiet bastide town with some good cafes and restaurants.
The main town in the west of the region is Eauze, the capital of the Armagnac trade. This old Roman settlement is surrounded by vineyards and remains very much central to the Armagnac trade.
During this holiday, you will be served three daily delicious meals.
The accommodation's location in south west of France offers a great base to explore the heart of Gascony and visit such towns as Lectoure, Condom, Agen, and Toulouse. Within a short drive, there are the outdoor swimming facilities of St Clar and Fleurance. The historical town of Lectoure not only has an outdoor public swimming pool but also one of the most outstanding examples of a Roman spa in France. Visit the town for a dip in the soothing thermal waters and unwind with a relaxing body massage or revitalizing facial.
Please book your flight to arrive at the Toulouse-Blagnac (TLS). Transfer from and to this airport is available upon request for approximately 70 EUR each way per car.
You can take the Eurostar train from St. Pancras to Paris and then change for Agen. Transfers are available from Agen train station for approximately 70 EUR each way per car.
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