French Cooking

Indulge yourselves in a week of hands-on cooking and demonstrations by five different cooks in the rural heart of France. Get your hands dirty! Slow cooking and finesse and the joys of being around the table in wonderful settings. There is just a little walking to build up an appetite. Dates 2019: 4th - 10th October

Markets are a main feature of cooking in France. We will visit three bustling markets to maintain stocks of wonderful fresh French food. We will then spend time preparing picnics and sampling cheeses matched with fine wines that turn the whole pleasure of eating into stuff that only dreams are made on.

The chateau is an elegant eighteenth century house set in acres of grounds and surrounded by chestnut woods. There is a charming pigeon house that stands like a Rapunzel tower in the garden. This is a beautiful place to start your cooking week.

Picnics will take place in beautiful settings with food prepared by all, following some of our favourite recipes: salads and terrines and of course not to forget the non pasteurised French cheeses and some of those wines that work like heaven when enjoyed at the table under a wonderful sky.

This is not a cooking course. It is just for you to have fun in the week cooking with four different French chefs and James who delights in cooking too. There is much hands on cooking to do and demonstrations to watch, all with the freshest of vegetables and farmyard meats and all taking place in the gastronomic heart of France. You will touch on haute cuisine and nouvelle cuisine and take away with you many recipes and ideas.

James hosts this trip. Hotels, restaurants and visits have been carefully selected to reveal the character and colour of this gastronomic heart of France. All meals are included and lunch will be a mix of picnics, cafés and restaurants.


You will stay in a charming eighteenth century chateau for three nights and a lovely Quercy stone manor house for your last four nights.

The chateau is private and James and Diana will be your hosts.  At the manor house you will be looked after by Bernard and Eva Philippe.  Bernard is one of the best chefs of the region and Eva runs this small charming and authentic hotel impeccably.  James and Diana will be with you all through the week.

Grade Of Walking

The walking in this week is only to make you feel like gaining an appetite for some of the wonderful cooking you will be doing or witnessing. I think we get the balance just right! The paths are firm and easy to walk. We will try and include a hill or two as Diana says it is never a walk unless you can have a hill!


As well as fine dishes that will be produced during the week we must not forget the famous cheeses that are so innumberable in France. It is a strange fact that nearly all cheeses are better matched with wines that hark from where the cheese was made rather than with other wines from different areas of France. You will see just how wonderful the mix of wine and cheese is and how it enlivens your palate.

We will be showing you some of the great wines from the south west of France and also other little gems that have to be introduced from other areas of France because they go so well with a particular dish like an Anselmann Reisling icewein with a tarte au citron. Vive la France!




7 Days


20 miles


€2690 pp


€360 pp


6 Oct - 12 Oct