- a tiny savoury cone filled with anchovy cream and topped with crisp diced vegetables;
- foie gras bonbons in a beetroot glaze;
- a potato and cheese purée and cream topped with crisp potato spirals
- escargot in a herby lemon soup velout with a bouquet of herb flowers
- foie gras two ways (confit and pan-seared) – outstanding!
- green asparagus in a savory and citrus soup
- grilled sea bass in a sage sauce with a citrus skin crisp
- a very green herbal sorbet palate cleanser – possibly made of lovage?
- rack of lamb smoked with wild thyme, served with steamed baby vegetables and Grandma Loubet’s potato gratin
- iles flottante and chartreuse flavoured ice-cream in a bitter chocolate soup
- jasmine crême brulée
And with that, our cooking class and lunch were, sadly, over. Not that we felt in any way inclined to leave, but we had already stayed on for far longer than anticipated and we had appointments to keep at our next destination! Both Nick and I had really enjoyed the course – it is unusual to get a guided tour of such extensive kitchen gardens and as I said, there is no substitute for picking, smelling and tasting herbs yourself to get a feel for their flavours. Cyril was sublimely French, his manner sometimes perplexed at the odd ideas that his students had (like the one American student who earnestly asked whether chefs rinse their hands in between touching the raw fish and grabbing pinches of salt from the caddy to salt them on the grill…!), but his sense of humour never far from the surface. Few of us ever have a chance to peek behind the scenes in a Michelin-starred kitchen, and having a chance to see how the kitchen functions was fascinating. If I have any comment, it would be that this is more of a gourmet experience than a cooking class – you do not do that much hands-on cooking. But you do get hours of free access to expert chefs to ask them anything you ever wanted to know, and because classes are small each person has ample opportunity to chat to the chefs. Nick also mentioned that he enjoyed some of the dishes more the second time around as he knew more about their context and how they had been created which enriched the experience for him. And considering the fact that many of the dishes were the same as we’d had on the tasting menu for €140 the night before, the cooking day’s price of €120 is quite a bargain. Thank you once again to Cyril and the team for a memorable morning in your company!
Stay tuned for our next adventure: a cherry-themed tasting menu in the beautiful Chateau de Mazan – one of the Marquis de Sade’s former residences.
GOOD TO KNOW:
The Bastide de Capelongue gourmet day cooking classes take place every Monday and start at 9.00 am with a coffee and a croissant, followed by herb gathering in the kitchen garden, a cooking class in the kitchen, followed by canapés, a five-course meal and wine. The day costs 120 € per person (70 € per non-participating lunch companion) and participants can stay in the hotel for one night for the special rate of €100 including breakfast. Longer 4-day courses are also available for €645 person including accommodation and breakfast.
The Vaucluse Tourist Board has more information on their website about food and wine courses available in the Vaucluse region.
Domaine de Capelongue
Chemin des Cabanes
BONNIEUX EN PROVENCE
Tel. +33 (0)4 90 75 89 78
Fax: +33 (0)4 90 75 93 03
Double rooms at Bastide de Capelongue start at between €140 and €250 per room per night and breakfast costs €22 per person.
DISCLOSURE: I visited Bastide de Capelonge as part of a self-drive trip that was partially funded by the Vaucluse Tourist Board, and both my meal and accommodation at Bastide de Capelongue were paid for by the tourist board.
Other posts in my Vaucluse series include:
- Visiting the Vaucluse: Coustellet farmer’s market
- A truffle lunch at La Maison de la Truffe et du Vin, Menerbes
- Conservatoire des Ocres and Silvain nougat makers
- A tasting menu at Restaurant Edouard Loubet @ Bastide de Capelongue