France Cooking Vacation: A Chateau Culinary Adventure at Le Calabash - Special 4-night Itinerary
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A Culinary Adventure at Le Calabash: Special 4-night Itinerary
Yzeures-sur-Creuse (Indre et Loire)

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The Loire Valley is a land of delicious goat cheese and breathtakingly beautiful chateaux. Stay in one such chateau near the river Creuse during a cooking vacation with the chefs of Le Calabash cooking school. This special four-night trip includes many aspects of the school's regular program on a condensed schedule, while still offering something new, including new dishes as well as a trip to the charming town of Tours.

Your chateau accommodations are located among the rolling hills of the Vienne region, and designed in a Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau style that dates back to the 1850s. With just five rooms, the chateau offers a luxurious and peaceful getaway in the heart of the Loire Valley.

Sidney and AlisonAbout the lessons: Chef Sidney and Alison will lead your introduction to new flavors and techniques, while still allowing you to use your own imagination and creativity. While a cooking school, the chefs have perfected the art of tailoring their classes to the skill levels of their students. At Le Calabash, you'll be cooking without boundaries since, while you'll primarily discover French cuisine, Chef Sidney was born and raised in Southern Africa. Both Chef Sidney and Alison have cooked for heads of state and celebrities, including Queen Elizabeth II, and won numerous international medals for their cuisine.

A Culinary Adventure at Le Calabash: Special 4-night Itinerary Itinerary

Day 1 - Wednesday, November 6

  • Arrive any time after 12 noon and settle into your room.
  • Around 7:00 pm meet your hosts to enjoy a welcome glass of champagne, followed by a Moroccan dinner.
  • Overnight.

Day 2 - Thursday, November 7

  • Traditional French breakfast.
  • In the morning, your first cooking lesson focuses on fish and shellfish. You will be taught the best catch for each season, as well as how to identify your fish and ensure it is fresh. This hands-on class will also include techniques on how to prepare your fish.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts, as well as Alison and Sidney’s favorite French artisanal cheeses and freshly baked bread.
  • Sample menu:
    • Classique Normandy moules marinière and moules ‘en papillote’ (in parchment).
    • Hot smoked salmon with an avocado creme and beetroot.
    • Turbot Grenoblois.
    • Seasonal fish dish of the day.
    • Tomato essence with white crab and coriander.
  • In the afternoon, leisure time until dinner. Get a relaxing massage or spa treatment in La Roche Posay’s renowned spa, explore the area by bicycle, take a walk or canoe trip along the river, or play boules in the village square.
  • Dinner of seasonal fish, and Alison will prepare you one of her latest dessert creations.
  • Overnight.

Day 3 - Friday, November 8

  • Traditional French breakfast.
  • In the morning, visit the local goat cheese farm and producer to taste and experience the best goat cheese in the world, St. Maures AOC.
  • Return to the kitchen for a cooking class all aboutt the art of soufflés, such as cheese and chocolate soufflés, which you’ll then enjoy for lunch along with Sidney and Alison’s favorite French artisanal cheeses and baked bread.
  • In the afternoon, depart for Tours, which is known as ‘little Paris’ as well as ‘Le Jardin de la France’ (‘The Garden of France.’) The town is also known for its medieval district, where half-timbered buildings have been preserved. Other places of interest include la Place Plumerau, a square with busy pubs and restaurants, as well as Boulevard Beranger, where the weekly market and fair is held.
  • Enjoy a traditional Galette dinner in Tours.
  • Return to the chateau and overnight.

Day 4 - Saturday, November 9

  • Traditional French breakfast.
  • In the morning, learn more about the art of French pastry with Chef Alison. You will make such dishes as profiteroles with a Madagascan chocolate mousse; ice parfait ‘Josephine’, green tea and berry marmalade macaron, a seasonal macaron creation, and millionaires chocolate macron.
  • For lunch, enjoy a traditional French-style country lunch served with ‘Touraine’ specialities as well as Alison’s prune and apricot bread.
  • During your afternoon class, take a walk on the wild side. In the class, learn Sidney’s African childhood recipes. Two of the dishes you will be taught are Gold Medal dishes and appear in the Le Calabash: A Culinary Adventure cook book.
  • Sample menu:
    • Guinea fowl with cep risotto and seared foie gras
    • Beef fillet, wild mushroom polenta, confit of shallots, and parmesan crisps
    • Sidney’s seasonal dish of the moment
  • After finishing class in the early afternoon, get some rest, or take a last walk down the river, and prepare for the last evening together.
  • Certificate presentation and champagne followed dinner.
  • Overnight.

Day 5 - Sunday, November 10

  • Traditional French breakfast.
  • Departure by mid-day.