French Culinary Tours in Gascony
On hiatus in 2024. Please check back for 2025.
Situated in the heart of the Gers in South-Western France, this small French cooking school is the perfect setting for your initiation into French cuisine. The location has been specifically selected by your hosts for the region’s famed gastronomy and the area’s culinary prestige is rivaled only by the beauty of its landscape; a combination of rolling hills, meandering rivers and fields upon fields of golden sunflowers.
In addition to the picturesque region’s gastronomic treasures, this corner of the French countryside is saturated with European history, which you can explore on our French culinary tours. Now one of the least populated areas in France (a fact which enables Gascony to proudly retain its core Frenchness’), Gascony was invaded by the Romans, the Vikings and the Visigoths, each civilization leaving behind remnants of their occupation. From forts and castles to beautifully preserved Roman baths there is a plethora of excursions and sightseeing activities to be enjoyed during your free time at the cookery school. Alternatively, the school is also in easy driving distance of Toulouse and Bordeaux and, for those wishing to extend their European exploration, you are only a train ride away from the Spanish city of Barcelona.
Your home for the duration of the five-day French culinary vacation will be the historic French commune of Gramont. The village of Gramont is a closely-knit community and boasts, in addition to its status as a national heritage site, the Chateau de Gramont, a well-maintained medieval castle and one of just six national monuments in the Midi-Pyrenees region. Your hosts for the week, David and Vikki, are an English couple whose long love-affair with French food and culture finally led them to renovating the old Gascon auberge in which you will be staying during your unforgettable cooking vacation in France.
French Culinary Tours in Gascony: Trip Highlights
Our 5-night French culinary tours in Gascony include cooking classes exploring such French fare as cassoulet, gâteau pithiviers, tarte aux pommes, ballotine de poulet, and more! Your indepth exploration of French gastronomy during your cooking vacation in France will be supplemented with visits to a local market, a 17th-century chateau, and an Armagnac distillery.
France Cooking Vacation in Gascony - Itinerary
Join us in the beautiful southwest of France for our French culinary tours, and discover the wonders of French cuisine during hands-on cooking classes.
- After settling into your room and acquainting yourself with the village and your fellow cookery school guests, your hosts David and Vikki and French chef Bernard will be waiting to welcome you on the terrace. Greeting you with local aperitifs and hors-d’oeuvres they will provide an overview of the week ahead before serving an exquisite four-course supper. This dining experience will be repeated every night of your stay and is inclusive in the overall price.
- Following dinner, relax on one of the three terraces, where you can admire the beautiful sunset.
- After beginning the day with a traditional breakfast of croissants, fresh bread, cold meats, cheese, home-made jams and local honey, you will start with a tour of the kitchen and a lesson in basic knife skills. Following this, learn to prepare a simple French dressing, sauce suzette, and an ornate puff pastry dessert, gâteau pithiviers.
- Next, use your new knife skills by making David’s famous pizza gersois: a homemade pizza with onions, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, duck breast, and olives. Your class continues with some pâtisserie, such as a sweet pastry like pâte sucrée, that will be used as a base for a pastry you will make the following day.
- After a typical long French lunch — based on your culinary efforts — head across the street to an auberge to learn the art of foie gras, including mi-cuit, traditional, cru, and pain d’épices, as well as how to make cassoulet, Chef Bernard’s most popular dish. Your class ends with a tour of Bernard’s restaurant, where you will be spending much of your time during your cooking vacation.
- Next, it’s time to make crepes and use the sauce suzette you prepared earlier as the finishing ingredient. You’ll also make two more traditional pastries, perhaps a pâte sablée and a pâte sucrée.
- In the evening, tour the local wine museum while enjoying a glass of wine. Dinner to follow at Bernard’s restaurant; the signature menu will include the duck foie gras that you made earlier.
- An early breakfast at 9:00 a.m.
- Today you will attend the local markets and select ingredients for this afternoon’s class. The markets are sure to whet your appetite, as you learn about the region’s seasonal produce. You will then lunch in a traditional local café in the Roman town of Lectoure before returning to the school to begin your afternoon classes.
- In this session you will fillet a fish, prepare a velouté sauce, and practice your knife and pastry skills to create a delectable tarte aux pommes.
- Prior to starting dinner, there will also be a quick lesson, led by David, on plating and presentation skills. Each dish you prepared today will be part of your dinner.
- David will show you how to employ your newly acquired knife skills to bone a chicken in order to make ballotine de poulet and a rich, mushroom sauce to accompany it.
- After this main course you will set about preparing a tarte au citron as well as an entree of soupe aux deux poivrons (two-pepper soup). Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
- In the afternoon, visit Gramont’s 17th-century chateau, which is a well-preserved Renaissance castle.
- You will then be invited back into the kitchen to practice your presentation skills and to serve and sample the dishes that you prepared earlier with your hosts.
- Return to the kitchen to prepare six dishes over the course of three hours, your most intensive time in the kitchen. This cooking class will focus on French desserts, and you’ll make such delectable treats as une crème patisserie, une crème caramel, and une crème brulee. Then you’ll switch from the sweet to the savory and make the iconic French sauce, béchamel. Lastly, you’ll work on sugar spinning and make a reduction sauce, jus de vin rouge.
- In the afternoon your hosts will take you on a tour of the Chateau de Cassaigne, an Armagnac distillery in Condom where you can study the history of Armagnac and perhaps enjoy a dégustation of the locally produced spirit.
- Time permitting, a visit to the ancient fortified village of Larrissingle, a beautiful Roman relic, will follow.
- Dinner at Bernard’s restaurant; the menu will include the dishes you worked on in class, including the cassoulet you prepared earlier int he week, and the desserts you made today.
- After a final hearty breakfast, departure. Au revoir!
French Cooking Vacation Trip Details
Included in the 5-Night French Culinary Vacation
- 5 nights accommodations at the chambres d’hôtes
Food & Beverages
- Daily breakfast
- 4 lunches
- 5 dinners
- Wine, water, and coffee included
Classes & Instructors
Your 4 days of cooking classes will take place in a large, professionally-equipped kitchen and for this David will be joined by locally acclaimed French chef, Bernard, in guiding you through your introduction to French cookery. Both David and Bernard are experienced and talented chefs in their own rights and their unique Anglo-Franco partnership allows for a method of tuition that is completely accessible to English speakers, whilst at the same time preserving the authenticity of your truly Gallic experience of French cuisine. Your menu for the week has been carefully crafted in order to showcase the best of Gascony’s culinary delights and includes, amongst other dishes: cassoulet, ballotine de poulet and tartes aux pommes. All of the ingredients that you will cook with are sourced from the local, open-air markets which you will visit during your stay. Aside from familiarizing yourself in this way with any new produce and flavors, your time spent at the local marchés promises to enhance your experience of French life through your contact with the people whose cuisine and culture you will be experiencing.
- Local market visit
- Visit of the 17th-century chateau of Gramont
- Excursion on day 5 to the Chateau de Cassaigne, an Armagnac distillery, and, time permitting, a visit to the ancient fortified village of Larrissingle.
- Transfers are not included but can be arranged from the Toulouse airport or Agen train station, about an hour from Gramont, for around 80 Euro per car (each way, payable in cash Euros during your stay).
Your French cooking school accommodations at the chambres d’hôtes will be in one of the five classically furnished guest rooms (there are two double rooms on the ground floor; and, three double rooms, one room with a king-sized bed, and a room with a double bed and single bed on the upper floor). In true Gascon manner David and Vikki will make you feel as welcome and comfortable as possible in your new home from home.
Please note that not all the rooms have air conditioning. If this is a requirement for you, please let us know at time of booking and we will make every attempt to guarantee you a room with AC. Note also that in the Spring and Fall months the chambres d’hôtes can be cool and we recommend you dress in layers.
French Culinary Tours in Gascony Pricing & Tour Dates
Find pricing and dates for our French cooking vacations in Gascony below, or contact us for availability or to plan your trip.
Gascony France Cooking Vacation Pricing:
5-Night Cooking Tour Pricing
US$1975 per person based on double occupancy
- Add US$190 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)
- Subtract US$700 per non-cooking companion
30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!
French Culinary Vacation Tour Dates
Our French culinary tours in Gascony are available the following weeks for a maximum 8 participants. Please contact us for updated availability or to book your cooking vacation in France!
On hiatus in 2024. Please check back for 2025.