5-day cooking program
Duck, Foie Gras & Cassoulet Cooking Classes
“When I turn my head, I see hundreds of meals served at a crowded wooden table, on rustic pottery, on fine Limoge, on wooden cutting boards, in soup tureens, and spilling over large platters; carafes and bottles empty and are refilled; and the clatter of silver serving pieces, wine glasses clinking, and laughter makes a convivial soundtrack. My souvenirs of the Kitchen at Camont.”- Kate Hill
Gascon cooking is defined by the best products grown and raised locally from farmyard to fruit. Luxury goods like foie gras and Armagnac figure generously in our cooking classes as well as the delicious lunches served at Camont. Classic French cooking techniques are defined and explored: braising, confiting or poaching in fat, wood oven-roasting, emulsifying sauces, ratios for vinaigrettes, and classic pastry techniques.
Cooking in Camont’s two kitchens allows us to have plenty of space for production work like hands-on pastry making or a cozy Cassoulet making demonstration by the wood fire. Camont’s garden kitchen and terraces are used seasonally for grilling and smoking meat as well as entertaining around the terrace tables . Although most of our classes are intimate groups of 4 to 6, we can arrange private weeks for groups with 10 or more including accommodation.
Our morning classes usually start at 9:30am, afternoon classes at 2:30, and we finish around 4:00 pm with a delicious lunch in between. On Market Days (Wednesday & Saturdays), we shop to learn the secrets of buying ripe produce, building a menu from the ground up, and finding that one special producer who makes and sells the best cheese, paté, and pastries. One day we take a break from cooking and explore Agen for some gastronomic souvenirs before a Michelin-starred lunch in picturesque Moirax.
Our Six Classes
Cooking Class #1: Le Canard or how to love the duck
Explore breaking down the duck into cooking pieces for a Gascon Lunch preparing the Magrets with a Wine and Shallot reduction sauce, Frites cooked in Duck Fat, a perfect Green Salad and Vinaigrette and Duck Skin Croutons, Goats Cheese & Honey Fruit Tartines.
Cooking Class #4: Gascon baking and Sweet Treats
French Pastry is the basis of many sweet and savory dishes at Camont. Classic Tarte aux Fruits begins the morning with a simple pâte brisée followed by creating a rough puff pastry- a simple feuilletage or laminating of pastry and butter for a Gascon Croustade aux Pommes. After lunch, we’ll focus on clafoutis and millassous, lacy buckwheat crèpes, and even Bordeaux’s favorite canelés for an in-depth exploration of all things French custard-based. Using our farm fresh eggs, whole milk, and simple farm flavorings like Armagnac, orange flower water, and rum, These special desserts are Gascon favorites at Camont.
Cooking Class #2: the art of Confit part 1 and a foie gras primer
After learning to breakdown a whole duck carcass, we salt the duck legs, wings, necks for confit and duck breasts for dry curing; the magic takes place overnight. Working with the best local foie gras, we then explore deveining, seasoning, and cooking the Foie Gras en Terrine.
Cooking Class #5:
Discover the Gascon Mother sauce
There are five ‘Mother Sauces’ in Classic French Cuisine, but here in Gascony we have our own list that Kate has refined to these more rustic classics:
Béchamel Léger- for gratins, vegetables, and poultry
Wine and Shallot- for meat and game
Tomato Caper- for poached poultry, offal, and vegetables
Vinaigrette Champêtre- a vinegar reduction sauce balanced with sweet wine and garden herbs
Armagnac & Butter Caramel sauce- for desserts and ice cream
Cooking Class #3: the art of Confit part 2 and making rillettes
Confiting is the art of slow poaching in fat, the traditional French method to preserve meat- pork, rabbit, game & poultry. Today we confit the salted duck to discover the subtle flavors of slow cooking the meat for dishes like Confit de Canard Parmentier, Rillettes, and Cassoulet.
Cooking Class #6:
making Cassoulet from Scratch at Camont
Kate’s book 'Cassoulet: a French Obsession' describes the whys and how of making a great classic cassoulet. Today, you create the dish yourself, from bean to cassole, exploring the fine points of choosing charcuterie-saucisse de toulouse, duck confit, and pork belly. Each student receives their own copy of Kate’s book, Cassoulet: a French Obsession, and their own special Poterie Not cassole dish.
This food intensive week dives deep into the Gascon culture, history, politics and charm. Conversations with locals and expats, producers and chefs are the fuel that inspires us to learn the Gascon and French foodways. Discover what lies beneath the trends of farm to table and artisan production as Kate escorts you into her world of good Gascon cuisine and the Cooking of Southwest France.
INCLUDES FIVE DAYS OF:
Six cooking classes with Kate Hill
Five lunches with wine including one-star Michelin restaurant
Market excursions with local transportation and guide for shopping, dining, and armagnac tasting
Recipe book, apron and Not Poterie Cassoulet pot
DATES & RATES
2019: May 7-11, June 11-15, Sept 17-21, Oct 15-19
3950€ per person includes: all instruction for five days (approx 9:30-4:30), all materials, lunches, wine, local transport for excursions,
Does not includes: accommodation and other meals, personal expenses. Pickup from Agen train station or Agen airport can be arranged with a local taxi service.
Students should plan to arrive the day before the class starts and depart the day after. For date availability, private courses, and booking information please fill out the form and indicate your preferred dates. We will contact you by email or telephone tout de suite!