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3 Day Weekend Hands-on Cooking and Culinary Holiday in Thouars, Deux-Sèvres

Circle of Misse, Impasse de l'Abbaye, 79100 Missé, France

Culinary Weekend Escape France

This holiday is the food lover’s perfect weekend escape with a Friday or Saturday start, wrapping up on Sunday or Monday. Set in the small farming commune of Missé in the most southern part of the Loire Valley, during this weekend, you'll improve your cooking skills during hands-on cooking sessions with Chef Aaron, visit farmer's market which offers plentiful sights, treats to sample and gastronomic atmosphere, and just indulge in good food. You are in for a treat!

Meet the instructors

Aaron
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Highlights

  • Welcome wine-tasting
  • Time to wander around, have a coffee and daydream
  • Learn techniques, recipes and work hands-on on cooking sessions
  • Tour of the farmer’s market with beautiful culturally significant settings
  • 2 three+ course dinners including all beverages (wine, waters, etc.)
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • 2 multi-course lunches
  • Daily breakfast

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


3 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: French, Italian
Group size: 2-8 participants
Airport transfer available:
Poitiers–Biard Airport (US$71 per person)
Airport transfer available:
Tours Val de Loire Airport (US$83 per person)
Airport transfer available:
Nantes Atlantique Airport (US$119 per person)
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Lounge
  • Smoke-free property
  • Bicycle rental
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Parking lot
  • Wireless internet

Accommodation is on site, so your comfortable bed is but a couple of flights of stairs away. The well-appointed double bedrooms all feature a toilet and shower room tiled in classic French patterns. The first floor rooms offer views of the adjacent church tower and farmland, the top floor rooms offer sweeping views of the river and surrounding farmland of the valley.

Program

Day 1

Arrive late afternoon/early evening on your first day for a tasting of local wines. Then move to the kitchen for a hands-on demonstration on dessert preparations followed by a delightful three-course meal. Relax with an after-dinner drink in the lounge or library, then off for a pleasant night’s rest in your charming and cozy ensuite room.

Day 2

After a farmhouse breakfast of local bread, pastries, yogurts, cereals and other delights the next morning, you’ll head off for a tour of the farmer’s market in either Saumur (Saturday) or Neuville or Montsoreau (Sunday). All these markets are in beautiful culturally significant settings with lots of things to see and treats to sample. You’ll also give you time to wander around, have a coffee and daydream. You’ll return to Misse and lunch on the treats you picked up at the market.

Afterward, you’ll gather to menu plan for dinner followed by a series of cookery sessions where you’ll learn techniques, recipes and work hands-on to prepare your evening meal. You’ll have an early evening break to freshen up and catch your breath before sitting down together to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Day 3

After breakfast the next morning, you’ll have a cooking session to learn some lunch dishes which you’ll then enjoy together. All good things must come to an end, so after lunch, you’ll pack up and say goodbye as the weekend comes to an end.

Please note that the holiday schedule described above serves as a guide. The organizer may occasionally need to change the order or location of certain events due to the season, weather or other logistical practicalities. If so, they’ll always aim to deliver the same experience and a similar atmosphere.

Instructors

Aaron Tighe

Location

Located in the small farming commune of Missé in the most southern part of the Loire Valley, the house rests on the verdant banks of the Thouet River, a tributary of the Loire. Ancient Gallic for “tranquil,” the Thouet forms an oxbow (circles back on itself) here, forming the Cirque de Missé (Circle of Misse), thus the name. The house has fantastic views of farmland, cows, and pheasants. Further down the road, you’ll find vineyards as it is a part of the Anjou wine region.

This location provides dozens of pleasant walks along the river and outstanding hilltop views of the Thouet Valley. Comfortably secluded, although the châteaus and castles of the Loire Valley including Chinon and Saumur are a short drive away, the Thouet Valley exudes peace, relaxation, and contemplation. Add to that the medal-garnering vineyards encircling the area, the beautiful and abundant produce, award-winning goat cheeses and other renowned culinary specialties, and you have the perfect place to eat, cook, and feast the senses.

Built on the grounds of a 12th-century abbey, the house stands next to the Church of Saint-Pierre, on the trail used by Breton and Norman pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. The original bell-cote, sitting in the shadow of the more modern 17th Century bell tower, is visible from the lane leading to the house. The pilgrims' route, now part of the Thouet valley bicycle trail and the French national hiking route, GR36, runs from Ouistreham on the Norman coast to Bourge-Madame on the Spanish border.

Food

Meal highlights

  • Breakfast: local bread, pastries, yogurts, cereals, and other delights
  • Lunch: multi-course
  • Dinner: Three+ course including all beverages (wine, waters, etc.)

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
  • Raw food
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Pescatarian
  • Seafood
  • Whole food
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

The biggest megalithic burial site in the region, consisting of seven dolmens, lies just up the road from Circle of Misse at Taizé.

Just a little further on, sits the beautifully quirky Chateau of Oiron. Now a contemporary art museum, it served as the inspiration for several scenes in the fairy tale Puss in Boots and was home to an eccentric who collected many strange items to fill his cabinet of curiosities. The church at Oiron, also worth a visit, is a jewel of gothic and renaissance architecture.

A half-hour from Circle of Misse, the historic city of Saumur dominates the Loire with its imposing Castle, offering the visitor a true taste of Loire architecture, fine wines, and culture.

Chinon, home of the French author Rabelais, the ruins of Chinon castle, and a prized red wine is also half an hour away. A stroll down the wonderful tiny streets of Chinon reveals a wealth of restaurants, cafes and smart shops. In the 15th century, Chinon castle was the residence of Charles VII, the Dauphin of France. It is the place where Joan of Arc came on March 8, 1429, to recognize the Dauphin and to urge him to declare himself king and raise an army to liberate France.

In the 11th century it was the primary residence of Henry II. He, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their son King Richard I “The Lionheart” and Isabelle of Angouleme, wife of King John “Lackland”, were buried at the nearby Fontevraud l’Abbaye. Snugly in château country, Fontrevraud l’Abbaye serves as a perfect jumping-off point to many of the most famous châteaus and vineyards of the Loire region. Châteaus include Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Ussé, Langeais, Montreuil-Bellay, Villandry, and their accompanying towns and cities. Vineyards include those of: Bourgueil, Saumur, Anjou, Chinon, Thouarsais, Vouvray, Savennières, Touraine, and Haut-Poitou.

What's included

  • 1 hands-on cooking demonstration (dessert)
  • 2 half-day cooking sessions
  • 2 multi-course lunches
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • 2 three+ course dinners including all beverages (wine, waters, etc.)
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Farmer’s Market visit
  • Recipes and folder
  • Welcome wine-tasting

What's not included

  • Travel to France
  • Transport to Circle of Misse

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

This is the default choice for transatlantic and long-haul travelers. As the second largest airport in Europe, it has regular flights from/to almost every major city.

On arrival at CDG airport, you can:

  • Hire a car at the airport terminal
  • Take a high-speed train (TGV) direct from Terminal 2 to Tours (St Pierre des Corps) or Poitiers. Loire Kitchen team can advise you on which station to come to when you book your travel. Please note that the minimum recommended transfer times from the plane to train is 80 minutes (Terminal 2) and 90 minutes (Terminals 1 and 3).

Paris Orly Airport (ORY)

Paris Orly Airport (ORY) is the second airport of Paris. There is a direct bus service to Paris Montparnasse, from where you can catch high-speed trains (TGV) direct to Tours (St Pierre des Corps) and Poitiers. Loire Kitchen can provide pickup at Tours or Poitiers stations.

Nantes Atlantique Airport (NTE)

Nantes Atlantique Airport (NTE) is the nearest International airport. It is served by flights from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Airport transfers (price each way):

  • Nantes: 50 EUR per person (2+) - Solo passenger 100 EUR
  • Tours: 35 EUR per person (2+) - Solo passenger 70 EUR
  • Poitiers: 30 EUR per person (2+) - Solo passenger 60 EUR

Arrival by train

Train transfer fees:

  • Angers: 35 EUR per person (2+) - Solo passenger 70 EUR
  • Saumur: 25 EUR per person (2+) - Solo passenger 50 EUR
  • Thouars: Free

Arrival by car

Driving is an excellent option if you want to fill the car with food and wine to take home. There are ample opportunities to visit wineries, cavistes and food stores. The organizer will send directions and GPS coordinates.

Airport: Poitiers–Biard Airport Airport transfer available: Poitiers–Biard Airport (US$71 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Tours Val de Loire Airport Airport transfer available: Tours Val de Loire Airport (US$83 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Nantes Atlantique Airport Airport transfer available: Nantes Atlantique Airport (US$119 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
3 days / 2 nights
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Availability

This holiday is available with arrival on Friday or Saturday. Please select an arrival date below.

 

Solo traveler

This holiday can accommodate solo traveler.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

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