We were set on discovering the beautiful region of Aquitaine, a territory, which is home to five different departments, including Lot ET Garonne, Landes, Dordogne, Gironde and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. As we enjoyed the experience, we had the wonderful opportunity of being able to participate in a one-day local cookery course, which is located near St. Cyprien, right at the middle of the Dordogne Valley, at Le Chèvrefeuille Guesthouse and gites,

COOKDORDOGNE Cookery School at St. Cyprien
The single-day course starts with a guided visit at the St. Cyprien market complete with inspiration and ingredients. The market tour takes approximately from 9:30 am to 11 am. Then, we went back to Le Chèvrefeuille farmhouse, Pechboutier with the ingredients to cook and then taste. While exploring this bustling and colourful market, we were able to try out local produce, meet the local farmers, as well as learn how to select the best ingredients that can be used to come up with a standard five-course Perigordian menu that is filled with dishes that can inspire even the pickiest taste buds.

This cookery school is operated by Ian, a trained chef from Le Talbooth restaurant located in Suffolk England. He has passion for everything related to food. In fact, such passion motivated him to move with his family to Dordogne, which is often referred to as France’s gastronomic capital. Foie Gras is famous in Perigord Noir, along with other unusual food items such as confit de canard, truffles, geese, walnuts, goat cheese, magret de canard, sanglier, cepes, escargot, venison and others.

We also had the privilege to explore several other stalls together with Ian, who was very patient in explaining the various produce, as well as in sharing his knowledge and cooking experience. It was a fun, overall experience. It involved an informal, as well as a hands-on experience in preparation, cooking, and of course, tasting the local dishes. The course ended at about 4 pm.

One of the focuses on such opportunity includes understanding how professional chef bring the best taste out of the available ingredients, which is the secret to producing a great tasting plate of food.
Things we learned to make using a variety of techniques :
Mushroom Volute, Cheese pastry with roasted figs salad, tapenade and chocolate fondant (that works very time)

The courses may change all throughout the entire year as seasons change, due to the availability of the ingredients.

The fee is EU150 Euros/day for the course.
The classes in culinary are available every Tuesdays and Sundays.
The courses are available starting from April to October. July and August are considered too hot for indoor cooking. The market during that time are also very busy, making it difficult to enjoy the experience.
This course is highly recommended!

Eating around Aquitaine

A gastronomic treat waits you in Aquitane, this is what the region offers:

Plenty of Foie Gras goose and canard – lot of variations. This region is is well-known for foie gras region

Truffle: everything from natural to salt to oils

creme brûlée ice cream and chestnuts

Duck with cepes and more foie gras

burger and foie gras!
Wines, vineyards, wine tastings and more wine all over Aquitaine!

wines from Bergerac,MonBassillac AOC and local chestnut tipple
local sparkling wine- MonBassillac AOC- very nice!

more local tipples

Mushrooms dried and fresh escargot

croissants and local breads – delicious, big, fresh and amazing products at the local markets

cheeses, not the region for cheeses but nice selection on offer
charcuterie from the region, specially in the Dordogne

cold meats and more foie gras (whole)

local honey including chestnut flavoured

Cafe Gourmand – not only in Aquitaine but all over France – small portions of desserts served with coffee

Pain Perdu – French toast and canele an incredible selection of mushrooms and the violet garlic

the local roast dinner at the local market and regional tourtière (thin sable biscuit base covered with a few layers of finely sliced apples. This is topped with the thinnest of pastries, piled and scrunched on top of the pie, finished with sugar and then baked)

St Cyprien market
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Previous chapters: Bordeaux and St Emilion and Eymet and Monpazier
Disclosure: I was a guest of AtoutFrance and Aquitaine Tourism and their French partners on this trip.