Highlights from our Bestselling Loire Valley Cooking Vacation

February 17, 2016  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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Highlights from our Bestselling Loire Valley Cooking Vacation

Cooking classes geared to your skill set, whatever that may be, as well as courses taught by professional award-winning chefs? Yes, please! Our bestselling Loire Valley cooking vacation is a bestseller for a reason: the trip is an amazing mix of excursions in a lovely part of France and hands-on classes that are geared toward each student’s skill level — which is an art form in itself! But even more so than that, it’s also your hosts for the week, a lovely husband and wife team who craft a memorable experience that will have you sorry to leave, but excited to return home to make good use of all the wonderful recipes you’ve learned.

There’s something to love about every day of this itinerary, but here’s a few extra-special highlights from this fabulous trip, which has been updated for 2016!

While the menu is heavily focused on French cuisine, it’s about much more than that too. With Chef Sidney’s childhood in Africa, his recipes are influenced by exotic flavors and traditions. From a Zulu BBQ to dining at a renowned restaurant with a Michelin star chef, guests experience an enormous range of cuisine, both at the table, and in the cooking school’s top-notch kitchen.

As one past guest said about the cookery courses, “They focus on method and technique to teach skills and encourage exploration in cooking. For our program, they gathered superior ingredients in astonishing quantity which we were urged to use generously- from exotic spices, prime meats and fresh fishes to delicate goat cheese and medalled wines. They guided us in executing the diverse mouth-watering menus to perfection. (And we ate every scrumptious bite!)”

Chef Alison loves the world of desserts, and that’s reflected in the variety of dessert and pastry classes that are included in the itinerary. Guests learn how to master pâte à choux, which is the basis of so many desserts, as well as her own personal takes on French classic, like le Vacherin, a meringue. But macarons are where her heart is.

As she says, “My favorite dishes and cooking moments are when I am in the kitchen and it is quiet and I cook and create new macaron recipes, I love macarons!!! So does Sidney and I have to keep him out the kitchen when I bake them.”

Cooking school in the Loire ValleyExploring the land of chateaux
Highlights include more than just food, although it is a cooking intensive trip! Walk off all those delicious dishes with a day exploring some of the fabulous and stunning chateaux of the area (of which there are more than 1,000 in the region). The new itinerary for 2016 features a trip to the Chateau of Villandry, which dates back to the Renaissance, for some time to explore the marvelous gardens.

Visits to local producers
Knowing where your ingredients come from is an important part of many of our cooking vacations. During this Culinary Adventure in the Loire Valley, visit the local food market as well as a local goat cheese farm, where the best goat cheese in the world — St. Maures AOC — is produced. The tour also includes a wine tasting in the charming area of Chinon.

And those are just the highlights! There’s also a bit of leisure time too, and those moments are perfect for a stroll along the river or through the town of La Roche Posay, or perhaps even a relaxing beauty spa treatment.

Ready to experience this fabulous trip? View our classic 6-night itinerary on our website.

By Liz Hall

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By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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