I've landed in Provence, Aix-in-Provence to be exact. For the rest of the Summer and the Fall, you'll find me at the market early every morning and in the kitchen almost daily. I so hope you'll come and cook with me that I'm having a giveaway. You could win a cooking class for two with me in Provence!
There's a food market in Aix every day of the week at Place Richelme. Big market days are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays when it seems the old city center is just one big market. In addition to the daily produce market, there's a flower market in front of the Hotel de Ville, another food market and a marchè aux puces (flea market) at Place des Prêcheurs and Place de Verdun. And each side of the grand Cours Mirabeau is flanked with vendor after vendor selling clothes and/or textiles. The bright and bold colors, the scents and the sun are bound to fill you with joy, and feed any shopping addictions you might have.
Vendors pile perfectly ripe fruits and vegetables high and offer samples! Tablecloths (my weakness) boast vivid images of lavendar, grapes, oranges, lemons, olives and cicadas. Ceramics, in sizes and shapes to fill every kitchen need, carry the same shades of reds, yellows, orange, purples and greens as their neighboring fruits and vegetables. Look up and plane trees fill the sky with all shades of green along with providing shelter from the hot summer sun.
As varied as the colors are before your eyes, so are the scents that fill the air. One moment the aroma of salty pork products lingers in the breeze. Then you sniff out the dirty-feet odor of the cheese vendor. Sweet scents of strawberries and melons chase away the stinky-cheese smell and the toasty trail from the bread stand of cooked yeast and crusty baguettes leads you to the tapinade and olive stand to find something to slather on that bread. Finally, you come upon the spice vendor, whose wares fill your head with sultry scents from the East. One thing is certain; at the end of a visit to Aix's market, you're ready to eat.
A Provencal market is absolutely an outing not-to-miss. There are few others that you should check out, too: an apéro hour (or 2), long leisurely lunches, and French pastries (that goes for travel anywhere in France) round out my short list of must-dos, so I'm offering classes that address all of these.
I'll be giving cooking classes every day of the week except Sunday, and the choices cover a wide variety of topics: Market-to-table, full meals, classic French dishes, French pastries and an apéro party!
For the entire line-up, check out the new Cook in Provence page, but below I've given you a little bite about each new class.
Market Day Full-Meal Cooking Class ~
We'll take a tour through Aix's food market and purchase the freshest ingredients to prepare our day's meal. In our private kitchen, just a few minutes from the market, we'll make a full four-course meal with those ingredients - an entrée (starter), plat, cheese platter and dessert, with wine. This is an all-day class where you'll learn and practice many cooking skills and techniques. Classes are limited to a maximum of 6 people to ensure that everyone gets individual attention and a truly hands-on experience.
Plat du Jour (Classic French Dish) Cooking Class ~
This half-day class will focus on a restaurant-style French and/or Provencal composed dish. Based on fresh and seasonal ingredients from the market, we'll create all components of the dish - the protein, an accompanying vegetable/side and a sauce. You'll get creative in plating and we'll discuss plating techniques. Then together we'll sit and enjoy our plat du jour with wine.
French Pastry-Making Workshop ~
The sweet life in Provence exists not only because of the sun and nearby sea. There are those magnificent French pastries, too. Each half-day class will have its own focus, on a particular pastry skill: Pâte à choux, macarons, seasonal fruit tarts and creams, and the "classics." We'll demystify the art of the French pâtissier. You'll not only go home with a whole new set of dessert-making skills, but you'll also leave with your own box of freshly-made French pastries.
Apéro Party and Wine Tasting ~
You've heard of the L’heure de l’apéro, right?! The fabulously French version of what an American might call "happy hour," consists an array of tapinades, olives, cheeses and precisely-prepared finger foods, and some bubbly, wine, or various aperitifs to wash it all down. Apéro hour is a rite of being in France and a pre-dinner must, especially in the south of France. During this late afternoon class, which includes a glass of Pastis and a tasting of 3 French wines, we will create and nibble on many easy-yet-elegant apéros (appetizers/finger foods). Afterwards, you'll never want to start dinner without your own apéro party, and you'll have the recipes and the know-how to do it.
Are you ready to cook with me in Provence? Send me an email at chefkathyayer [at] yahoo[dot]com and book your class today! Booking instructions are detailed on the main Cook With Me in Provence page.
THE GIVEAWAY (and two chances to enter) ~
Yes, to kick-off this Cook in Provence party, I'm throwing a giveaway: a chance to win a Market Day Full-Meal Cooking Class for two. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me what dish, dessert or entrée (starter) you'd like to cook with me in Provence. The giveaway ends at 9am Provence time on Tuesday, June 25, 2013. I'll randomly draw the winning comment using www.random.org and announce the winner in a post Tuesday. The winning commenter can claim his/her prize for a class this Summer/Fall 2013 or for a class in 2014.
I'm giving you more than once chance to win. Cook in Provence has it's own Facebook page. Like our page on Facebook, and then come back and leave a second comment letting me know you've liked us. That's your second entry into the contest. Good Luck, or maybe I should say bonne chance!
**Note: Transportation to/from Aix-en-Provence and lodging are not part of the giveaway prize.