Patrick and I recently spent a week in Uzès with Cook’n With Class and what a week it was. Imagine spending seven days in the south of France with great food & wine, good company, beautiful surroundings, fun and instructive classes, and plenty of entertaining and extra-curricular activities. Yes, they were all part of our week and more.
On Sunday, Patrick and I took a train from Paris to Nîmes in the morning and 3 hours later we had a taxi waiting to drive us to Uzès, a lovely little town tucked away in the Languedoc region of France. There were four of us: Tara, a Canadian girl, Jake, a reporter originally from Texas, Patrick and moi. We were taken to Les Olivettes, a lovely bed & breakfast hidden in the countryside just minutes outside of town.
After being shown to our rooms, Patrick and I rested a bit before getting ready for the cocktail party that evening to meet the other students. Kat, a landscaper from Carmel, California was driving in from Marseille and Cat, a blogger who had a wonderful Irish brogue, was flying in from London.
Each morning we began our day early. Breakfast started at 8:30 and the table was set with freshly baked croissants, pain au chocolat, nut bread, homemade fig jam, preserves, yogarts, ham and cheese, and a wide selection of teas and freshly brewed coffee. Who could resist? Not I.
We were then picked up and taken to the Cook n’ With Class school located in gorgeous surroundings near vineyards and olive groves. A small museum and other specialty shops are also nearby the school.
Classes were always hands on as we measured, chopped, and prepped our lunch menu each day. The time went by quickly as both chefs, Eric and Patrick, were amusing and made each class not only a learning experience, but fun and relaxed as well. Afterwards when all the morning work was done, we were rewarded for our labor. Yes, that means we got to sit down and enjoy what we made. The food, cheeses, wines, and desserts were heavenly and there were moments of pure food bliss.
Eric and Yetunde who run the cooking school had arranged for other activities as well, so there was always something for us to do. Our visits included a trip to the marketplace, a vineyard, an olive factory, and a local farm. That in itself would’ve been more than enough.
But we were also taken to the Pont du Gard, an almost 2000 year old aqueduct, for a picnic and what better way to go than by a horse-drawn carriage. The view was spectacular.
There was a food & wine pairing evening with a sommelier. A six course dinner with 7 different wines. One of the wines was a Maury, Legend Vintage 1929. It was not only a pleasure to taste this sweet dessert wine, it was also a humbling experience to be able to drink a wine 87 years old.
At the end of the week, Eric and Yetunde organized a cocktail reception for everyone with gypsy music. If you love the Gipsy Kings, you would not have been disappointed. (It was all in the family, the young guitarist in the group happens to be Manitas de Plata’s grandson.) Patrick somehow included himself as the newest member of the group because he grabbed a pot from the kitchen and joined the musicians in a song. It was truly a fun and crazy evening.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the evening we dined at a one-star Michelin restaurant called La Table d’Uzès. The chef, Oscar Garcia, outdid himself. The 6 course dinner with champagne and 2 desserts (well 3, but who’s counting) were out of this world. Yes I thought I had died and gone to food heaven.
We finished off our dinner with an espresso or tea, so why not a little confiseries? Or what I call my little third dessert.
Maya Muses: All in all, it was an amazing week and yet we did have time to relax by an open fire in the evenings and just chat with the other food lovers on this journey with us. If you ever have the chance to take this food experience, I absolutely recommend it. You won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you bring stretchy clothes because you will put on a few pounds. I did, but it was worth it. And now a strict diet to lose that kilo and a half that so ungraciously decided to join me on my adventure.
Photo Credits: First Photo from Cook’n With Class. All the rest are personal photos.