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Cooking in Chateaux Country

Overview

Your cooking school is set in the heart of France and Loire Valley – the home to European Renaissance which brought a rich and diverse culinary history. Experience a week of cuisine or pastry adventure with our award-winning chefs in an informal and picturesque environment surrounded by quaint villages and castles. The only qualifications needed are a love for food and the desire to learn about cooking.

Recommended for:

Travellers who like to join a small group of like-minded companions to share the experience with.   If you are looking for daily cooking classes and excursions, and don’t want to worry about logistics. We will take care of everything!

Highlights:

  • Cook with our highly qualified chefs who won international awards and have cooked for heads of State, Celebrities and her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
  • Learn both, traditional and innovative recipes in our farmhouse kitchen and savour your creations in our old stables
  • Visit Tours’ outdoor market, one of the finest in France; enjoy people watching in the quaint pavement cafes, stroll the narrow streets and step back into the historic medieval city
  • Perfect the Macaron and other quintessential French pastries with our patisserie chef
  • Marvel at Château de Chenonceau, one of the oldest and most beautiful castles in the France before savouring lunch at the Orangerie in the gardens
  • Explore the area at leisure – cycle country lanes, hike through national parks or relax at the world renown spas in town
  • Taste artisanal goats cheese and chocolate, paired with extraordinary wines
  • Stay in a charming 18th Century Coach Inn or luxurious spa boutique hotel
  • Leave Loire Valley with a new-found confidence and enthusiasm, impatient to return to your own kitchen to experiment with your skills
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Location

Our cooking school is located on the river Creuse in the heart of The Indre et Loire region, set in a small French hamlet on the edge of the local forest. The region is home to the finest goat’s cheese producers and winemaking has been deeply rooted here for centuries. This area is simply known as France’s ‘Bread Basket’.

Cooking classes & Chefs

The classes are limited to 8, which allow us to give personal attention to all guests.

Our two chefs are award-winning chefs with many years of international experience. After meeting at The Royal Swazi Sun Resort and Spa in Swaziland, they married and have enjoyed a colourful culinary career. They have cooked for several heads of state which have included Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Richard Attenbourgh, Mick Jagger, Madonna, Cher, Sylvester Stallone, U2, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. They have won recognition by major food guides and have won medals at international level. Our chef was Captain of The British Craft Guild Team for 2000/2001 when they achieved a record medal total.

The philosophy of this husband and wife team is ‘Balade Gormande sans Frontière’, Cooking without boundaries, or as our chef would like to say, lets take a walk on the wild side, and he would, as he was born and raised on the plains of Zululand. They take traditional French cooking and introduce exotic flavours and traditions from around the world to create an exciting ‘culinary adventure’.

You will leave our cooking school with a newfound confidence and enthusiasm, impatient to return to your own kitchen to experiment with your skills.

Accommodation

Your home for the week is a choice of two wonderful boutique hotels, who are simply the best in this region, ensuring comfort, service and attention to detail. All transport between hotel and nearby cooking school is provided by us at no extra cost.

Relais Manor House

Relais ‘Manor House’ is a charming 18th Century Coach Inn, just 3 minutes from the cooking school that has been renovated to the most modern standards of comfort to provide one of the regions finest hotels. However the owners have ensured it has retained its charm and character.

Set in the small tranquil French village of Yzeures sur Creuse on the river Creuse in the Loire Valley it overlooks the village square and church, which includes a 15th century shrine and the Museum of ‘Mado Robin,’ France’s famous Opera Soprano as this is where she was born.

The beamed bedrooms are all of a superior standard and decorated in period style, with en suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, wifi and flat screen TV. The bar and lounge offer a comfortable area to relax with a Grand fireplace, or enjoy the calm of one of the two picturesque gardens with a glass of Loire wine.

If you enjoy the outdoors, you have a swimming pool, tennis court and you are provided with canoes to explore either the Creuse or la Gartempe Rivers, or discover the area by bicycle on the numerous cycle routes which are also provided.

You are on the doorsteps of the Brenne, famous for its bird life, lakes and endless walks.

 

Les Loges du Parc ****

Les Loges du Parc is a charming hotel situated in the centre of the pretty spa town of La Roche Posay. The hotel with its imposing ‘Belle Epoque’ façade, surrounded by its rose garden and pivoineraie, thermal pool and a large terrace with linden trees creates a unique and exceptional place in the village.

Completely renovated in a chic country spirit, it offers tasteful large hotel rooms and suites where each room has its own identity; wood, amaranth, coriander, green countryside.

The exterior has kept its Art Nouveau charm with its architectural frieze. The hotel offers a relaxing pool and bathing area where guests can soak up the French Sunshine. Inside there is an atmosphere of peace and authenticity with the solid wood floors and fireplace in the lobby. It is comfortable with character and charm.

Les Loges du Parc is part of the prestigious Châteaux & Hôtels Collection (Alain Ducasse Group).

Dates 2017

  • 9 to 15 April – Culinary
  • 23 to 29 April – Culinary – full
  • 30 April to 6 May – Culinary – full
  • 7 to 13 May – Culinary
  • 14 to 20 May – Culinary – full
  • 21 to 27 May – Culinary – full
  • 28 to 3 June – Culinary
  • 4 to 10 June – Culinary – full
  • 11 to 17 June – Culinary – full
  • 20 to 28 June – Culinary – full
  • 2  to 8 July – Culinary
  • 9 to 15 July – Culinary – full
  • 16 to 22 July – Dessert and Pastry
  • 24 July to 7 August   – A Culinary Tour de France –   Paris / Normandy / Brittany/ Loire Valley / Bordeaux / Languedoc / Provence / Lyon   – 14 Nights / 15 Day
  • 13 – 19 August – Culinary
  • 20 – 26 August – Culinary
  • 3 to 11 September Women’s Only Culinary Adventure Week   – Loire Valley / Lodges du Parc / Spa and 2 Days in Paris – 9 Days / 10 Days
  • 17 to 23 September – Culinary
  • 24 to 30 September – Culinary
  • 1 to 7 October – Culinary
  • 8 to 14 October – Culinary
  • 26 November to 2 December – A French Dessert and Pastry Adventure
  • 8 to 16 December A Christmas Season in France –  5 Nights Chateau in Loire Valley 3 Nights Paris

Prices 2017

Per person in Euro

7 day Culinary Adventure

Residential – Euro 2,150
Non-Participating guest – Euro 1,095
Single Supplement – Euro 375

7 day Pastry Adventure

Residential – Euro 1,975
Non-Participating guest – Euro 1,095
Single Supplement – Euro 375

Includes

  • Accommodation for six nights
  • Entrance into Château Chenonceau
  • Meals: daily breakfast, and meals as per itinerary, including three glasses of selected wine with meals.
  • Transport for all activities in the itinerary.
  • Personalised apron and recipe folder.
  • Free Wi-Fi

Excludes: travel to France and cooking school, optional meals, drinks, spa treatments and excursions not listed

Excludes

Airfare to and from Beijing, alcoholic beverages and meals not specified.

Getting There

BY AIR

Charles de Gaulle and Orly Airports are all within an hour and a half by train to Chatellerault, Tours and Poitiers Stations where we will transfer you from to your Culinary Adventure.

Ryanair fly from London Stanstead to airports at Poitiers and Tours. Ryanair also offers flights from Dublin, Barcelona, Marrakesh, Nice, Porto and Manchester to Tours and Poitiers.

 

BY TRAIN

Eurostar then the highly reliable TGV. There are two ways to get here.

The TGV runs three trains a day directly from Terminal 2 at Charles de Gaulle Airport to ‘le Calabash’ which is a 1 ½ journey.

Eurostar from the UK and change platforms at Lille for the TGV to Tours (note station name ‘Saint-Pierre des corps’) or Poitiers. We are approximately an hour from either city or Eurostar to Paris, Gare du Nord, and then a bit of sightseeing perhaps before catching the TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Chatellerault, a short 20min drive from the cooking school.

Please go to raileurope.co.uk for bookings. If you would like us to assist you with your travel plans, please do not hesitate to contact us and we can book and issue your tickets for you.

All transport between cooking school and nearby hotels are provided at no extra cost thus no car is needed throughout the week.

Map

SAMPLE ITINERARY - FRENCH CULINARY ADVENTURE

Day 1 - Sunday

Arrival and check into hotel – welcome champagne and dinner

Day 2 – Monday

Morning cuisine class with award-winning recipes from our cookbook – lunch incl artisanal cheeses – afternoon patisserie class – dinner with cooking demonstration

Day 3 – Tuesday

Morning visit to the stunning Chateau Chenonceau – traditional lunch in Chenonceau – afternoon decadent ice cream & mousse au chocolate class – dinner with seasonal menu

Day 4 – Wednesday

Morning visit to historical Tours and its fine food market – Traditional French lunch – learn the secrets of perfecting the Macaron – gourmet dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant

Day 5 – Thursday

All about Fish – learn how to identify the freshest fish and techniques of preparing your fish – afternoon at leisure to explore the area, cycle, hike, relax at the world renown spas in town – evening tasting of Loire Valley wines and French chocolates

Day 6 – Friday

Visit our local Goats Cheese farm – class to learn the art of Soufflé – Lunch in the Orchard – afternoon patisserie class and prepare for tonight’s Zulu BBQ – learn some of the most exotic dishes from the African continent – Champagne & Certificate presentation – farewell dinner

Day 7 – Saturday

Traditional French Breakfast – departure before noon

SAMPLE ITINERARY - FRENCH PASTRY ADVENTURE

Day 1 - Sunday

Arrival and check into hotel – welcome champagne and dinner

Day 2 – Monday

Master Choux Pastry and Pâté à Sable Breton – traditional French lunch with artisanal cheeses – afternoon create some classic, but impressive desserts with a contemporary twist – dinner around the fire

Day 3 – Tuesday

Learn the art of sorbet & ice creams – Lunch in a traditional bistro – afternoon croissant & brioche making – Wine and Chocolate Pairing – evening cuisine demonstration followed by dinner

Day 4 – Wednesday

Visit to historical Tours – breakfast on selection of best pastries in town – explore both the indoor ‘Les Halles Food Market’ and outdoor markets – traditional French lunch –   afternoon chocolate work and couvertures – time at leisure before dinner

Day 5 – Thursday

Learn classic French, Swiss and Italian desserts – Lunch a classic Bistro styled menu – Class on the Art of the Macaron – Zulu BBQ with exotic dishes from the African continent

Day 6 – Friday

Morning class on Tuille work and sugar craft – Seasonal lunch – Afternoon class on Soufflé and Dessert Presentation – Certificates & champagne at the cooking school – farewell dinner at renown Michelin starred restaurant

Day 7 – Saturday

French traditional breakfast and departure

Happy guests…

Delicious

“Thank you so much for organising a fantastic cooking adventure!”

Sam Rodgers, US

 

 

 

What happy guests said about this tour…

  • "Thank you so much for an amazing and personal cookery course. We learnt so much and it is an experience we will always remember whenever we are in our kitchen and practising what we learnt...."

    Debora and Martin K.
  • "Simply the best Culinary Vacation I have been on, second to none, I speak from experience. Being taught and inspired by two accomplished chefs was so much more than I have experienced before and was a wonderful experience. The Loire Valley and this cooking school is a marriage made in heaven for any food enthusiast."

    Michael