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RURAL GASCONY - Spring and Summer

PRICE - $3200 per participant (mon eve - sat morning); $1000 per non-participant
2024 DATES  - Rural Gascony - Spring and Summer is available starting on Mondays for weeks falling  between May 6 and September 26th. E-mail for availability and short classes. 
This is our traditional warm weather class, which includes visits to local wine makers, Armagnac makers, and of course, shopping at our local markets.  However, our primary focus is on cooking fresh foods from the Gascony region, and on learning to make all things we cook more delicious.  In addition to a full day of cooking, you'll have 3 hours everyday to explore, rest, or simply hangout.
Monday evening 6PM - WELCOME DINNER

First thing in the morning, we'll begin making Duck Confit and Rillette and then we're off to visit a nearby market and a local winery or chocolate factory where you'll meet the proud owners and sample their products. Upon return, we'll taste test some of our purchases and then make Chicken Liver Pate, a Goat Cheese Cheesecake to be served with local honey, and maybe, if we have time, Creme Fraiche and Butter.  At lunch we'll assemble a classic Gersoise Salad with french bread, and wine, dawdling for an hour or more before break.  On your return at 6pm, you'll practice Grilling Duck and Potatoe Cakes without splattering, .  Dinner will begin at 7pm with the requisite l'Apero, followed by an entree (starter) of Smoked Duck Breast with shaved butter and sea salt.  The plat (entree) will be Maigret (duck breast cooked pink) served with Gascon Potato Cakes, followed by Salad, then Cheesecake and Fruit.  We'll drink the local Madiran wine throughout and if anyone is up for it, a final Digestif.
Wednesday 9:30 BIRDS and EGGS
This morning, before embarking on a trip to one or two local Armagnac makers, we will prep vegetables for our lunch, and fruit for the desserts we'll be making later .  On return we will put together a Crespeou - a 7 layer vegetable omelette in the shape of a cake, and a Basil Sauce to go with it.  Lunch will be the omelette, salad, and french bread, followed by an easy fruit Tarte Tatin.  After lunch , we'll have an hour or so to work on pastry making (3 kinds),  to be turned into meat pies, a lemon tarte for dinner, and some jam turnovers for the next day.  When you return after break, we'll make finish our desserts, and then tackle the birds - chicken, pigeon, pintade, quail, coquelette - whatever you've bought at market.  Depending on your choices, we may debone them, cook them whole, or spatchcock them.  We'll definitely plan on an Armagnac sauce, Sauteed Greens, and  Potato Fennel Puree. ... it won't take long and soon, we'll again be enjoying another l'Apero and a delicious dinner with paired local red wines.
Thursday 9:30 Pâte à Choux and GIFT MAKING
Today we will work on making Pâte à Choux and all the things that can be made with it - Gougeres, Cream Puffs and Eclairs, and we'll make treats to take home - Pâtes de Fruits, Pickles, Citrus Curd, Confitures, and more.  For lunch we'll put together a Meat Pie to be served with, salad, pickles, bread and wine and we can always sample an Eclair for dessert.  On return from  long break to fit in some brocante shopping, you'll put together a quick Duck Leg Stew with fresh summer vegetables and make a Twice Cooked Herbed Goat Cheese Souffle, before beginning the real work of the afternoon - making and stuffing the Toulouse Sausage needed for the next day.  Apero will start with the Gougeres made earlier, followed by the Goat Cheese Souffle entree, a plat of Duck Stew and Polenta Gnocchi,  Salad, and if you have room - Cream Puffs with Tarte Raspberry Puree.  
Friday 9:30 MARKET DAY and a Final Feast
Morning class will include a trip to our local market where you will have the opportunity to choose your produce for the day.  We'll start by making a light Vegetable Herbed Soup to be consumed at lunch with salad, purchased charcouterie, and some of the desserts made earlier in the week.  Then we'll spend the rest of the day working on our final feast - ratatouille, celeriac salad, grilled fruits, couscous, cucumber and tomato salad, and more depending on what we've purchased at market. Dinner, will start with a prolonged l'Apero, Grilled Sausages, Grilled Shrimp and Shellfish, Steamed Mussels, accompanied by all of our Salads and sides.  If you have room, there  will be a dessert or two. And, afterwards we'll relax for a final time with Armagnac, and Poire Eau de Vie.  

Saturday 9:30 GOOD BYES

I will personally cook you a large brunch, present gifts and recipes, and we'll say our goodbyes.

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