The Making Of a French Culinary Vacation in France
Before it all started
Before ever starting our first Week in Uzès, Eric and I worked very hard to put together ideas of what we wanted people to experience with us. It was only our second year living in the Pays d’Uzès but we were already becoming quite familiar with the markets, the people, the produce, and much more. This was definitely the right place to do what we had always dreamed of doing, having a group of fellow food lovers join us for a tasty & exciting week of French cooking, wine, and culture.
For the first time
The very first week in Uzès was held at the end of March 2016, a big oops on our part. The weather was just too unpredictable. Our first group of guinea pigs while well fed, were a little chilled and tired on our hour and a half long carriage ride to the Pont du Gard for a rather windy picnic. We actually had two participants for this particular week but filled up the group with a few journalists and some of our friends. While Eric’s worry is more about what we are going to eat and drink, I am constantly trying to ensure that everyone is well entertained and taken care of. I don’t like to see bored people around me – not on my watch!
We learned a great deal from the first week, like for instance, never to do one that early in the year again. We streamlined our recipes and refined the overall experience. We shortened some aspects of the program and lengthened others. Read about the first week in Uzès here.
For the Food
They say that the French are a bit obsessed with food. At breakfast you ponder over what’s for lunch, at lunch you make plans for dinner and at dinner, you think about the menu for tomorrow. Now imagine what it’s like living with a French chef! ?With Eric never wanting to eat the same thing two days in a row, try to picture just how many recipes we have to go through to satisfy his appetite and passion. The weeks’ menus vary with not only the season but also with whatever is on his mind at the moment. It certainly keeps me on my toes – I try to keep my grumbling to a minimum if possible. With all the photos I’ve taken, I had to buy a new hard drive.
Keeping things Fresh is a Cook’n With Class trademark – I wanted us to create an experience that, while most people may not actually do so, they could enjoy more than once and always manage to experience something new. We have had one couple do just that, and as I combed through all my photos and the recipe booklet that we put together for their first trip I made sure we gave them a number of new experiences for them to rave about the second time around. This besides the fact that they tried to test my organizational skills by coming for exactly the same period of the year!!
Why we do this!
We truly love this program, for the people we meet, the adventures we share with them and while it can be physically and mentally draining, we hope to be able to continue it into the foreseeable future. We ended our 3rd season of this culinary vacation package, with plans of new things to come in 2019. More wine education for one thing – with a half-day winery tour with a local wine expert as well as a wine and food pairing experience with our sommelier. I don’t want to spoil all the surprises to come, but you can check out the proposed program here.
8 Reasons to Visit Uzès
Grab fresh strawberries from local farmers at the Uzès market, wander around charming Place aux Herbes, take a hands-on French cooking class or have a picnic at Pont du Gard. And that’s not all! Discover why you should visit Le Pays d’Uzes and what you can do here.
A Picnic in the South of France
Have you ever dreamed of riding in a horse-drawn carriage? It was with great delight that we ventured on a tour of the French countryside with our guide headed out for a picnic lunch. All part of our Week in Uzès culinary holiday program.
Don’t let not speaking French stop you!
Are you letting the language divide stop you from a trip of a lifetime? Don’t let your dreams of exploring France be put on hold. Here are some really simple tips to making it work and bridging the divide.
Honestly, these weeks would not be what they are without the wonderful friends we’ve made in this region. The oh so gracious hosts of one of the rental properties we use, Clive & Diane Norwood, who open not only their home but their arms to our students, Emmanuel Pédeneau of Écurie Font Clarette and his beautiful horses, Ulysses & Titan, Baptiste, Catherine, Jean-Michel, & Mathea of Deleuze-Rochetin winery, Nicolas Martin (Aka Nick), A Wine Affair, who shares his passion for the wines of the region with our thirsty clients, Frédéric Duverger, Cannes You Taste, a close friend and certified wine specialist who introduces our students to the French wines beyond our region, our interns who have come and gone, Pauline, Emma, Valerie, Clara, & Tarun. Those who help Eric in the kitchen, Chantal & Patricia. The Groupe Compas who enchanted our guests these past years with the the rhythms of their guitars and voices. Taxi Nabais for transportation. Some of our favorite vendors at the market: Pascal & Catherine Roger, Terre d’Uzès, Djoudi our butcher, Annie with her incredibly tasty and beautiful cheeses, Poissonnerie Clément our fishmonger, Chabert for our olives & delicious tapenades, And the winemakers (the list is not exhaustive): Rémi Curtil, De Grappe et d’Ô, François Reboul, Domaine de Malaïgues, Kim Nasmyth & Ronald van Breemen, Le Mazelet, Jacques Vidal, Domaine de l’Aqueduc, Philippe Nusswitz, Orenia, Emmanuel Floutier, Domaine Grand Chemin, and Christophe & Patrick Chabrier, Domaine Chabrier Fils
Of course there are others and we thank them as well for being a part of this wonderful & delicious adventure. We look forward to introduce them to you on our next Week in Uzès.
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