Home > Seasonal Cooking Courses
A cooking holiday in France should not only be spending time at the stove, it should also be an immersion into rural France, to give you an insight into French food-culture.
Our region is famous for prunes of Agen, fat duck, Bazas beef, hazelnuts, cèpes de Bordeaux, "gariguette" strawberries, melon, white asparagus, Marmande tomatoes, Buzet and Côtes du Marmandais wines... and we will try to give you not only a real taste of France, but a taste of our beautiful Lot-et-Garonne.
"..Our cooking holiday classes are based on the seasonal local product: we go out in the morning to source ingredients from local producers, farms and markets, and you cook together in a team effort to produce dinner for all the guests staying at the guest house. You can then have the pleasure the fruit of your own labour whilst exchanging impressions with your fellow diners! I am there to guide you all the way to take away the pressure. When you leave the kitchen, you'll be able to relax and enjoy the beautiful views of rural south west France and maybe sip on a well deserved drink before dinner..."Every day, on our food outings, I will make little detours to show you the local villages and countryside so you can get a feel of the area.
This is the time of year when nature wakes up, flowers start blooming, new vegetables appear, everything gets colourful again, including our plates. Our Spring cooking course celebrates just that! Among many other ingredients, we cook with the organic asparagus grown by our neighbour, prepare succulent desserts with the local "gariguette" strawberries (from April), and make the best of the beautiful farm-bred poultry that spent the winter eating and getting nice and plump... Classic Spring dishes include Navarin of lamb, Blanquette de veau, veloute of asparagus, strawberry tart, poule au pot...
Summers in Lot-et-Garonne are quite hot, be prepared! We will make the best of the abundant fruit and vegetables that we will pick from from one of the local markets or our own garden. During your cooking classes you could prepare the basque fish soup (the "cousin" of the bouillabaisse), make terrines, fresh pasta, soufflés with local goat cheese, tarts with the garden peaches, cherry clafoutis, ... We could also smoke salmon or trout. As we will rather grill meat and fish in summer than stew them(!!), it is the perfect occasion to practice all classic French sauces like mayonnaise, aïoli, béarnaise, beurre blanc, etc.... The weather is also perfect to prepare beautiful sweet iced parfaits, chilled mousses, bavarois, millefeuilles...
The scenery is changing, yellows, oranges and browns appear all around, nature is getting ready for winter. This is the return of the pot-roasts, the season of game and fat duck. The whole region catches the "blue disease" (this is how they call the hunt for wood pigeons). When possible, we will enjoy our evenings outside, gathered around the outdoor chimney. The cookery courses include pâtés, rillettes, coq au vin, rabbit in prunes, quails, tarte Tatin, ... we also make the best of the local apples, hazelnuts, grapes and figs.
At this time of year, we need to come back to a cosy home, enjoy the warmth of the comfort food, and give in to our appetite for rich soups, stews and other belly-warmers! It is also time to make good use of the local kiwis, pumpkins and squashes, apples, and root vegetables. Our winter cooking course will teach you to make the local garlic soup (tourin), the unmissable Cassoulet, the hearty Garbure, boeuf bourguignon, croustade (apples, prunes and armagnac in pastry)...
"...I honestly did not know what to expect from my French cooking holiday courses at Le Gargantua cooking school so was wowed, not only that I produced the level of cuisine that I achieved, but the effortless style of Marlene's instruction. The kitchen setup is just wonderful, big, bright and inviting, great equipment to our fingertips with all the gadgets to make one envious, however, also quintessentially what you'd envision - typical French farmhouse kitchen being a heart of the home - hats off guys- well done you rock..."
Click here to read other testomonials from our cooking course participants
There is no hidden cost: your accommodation, every single meal (with drinks) and all taxes are included. No supplement for solo travellers!
There is a maximum of 6 participants per venue, to ensure everyone gets individual attention and enough space to work.
Children are more than welcome (they only have to be tall enough to reach the workbench) under their parent's supervision.
The courses take place from February to November, just inquire about the dates that suit you. If you would rather join an existing party, the par-booked dates are listed hereunder.
"..This cooking holiday course includes 4 days of cooking, and is designed to introduce you to a wide selection of techniques covering deboning poultry, filleting fish, bread making, braising, classic sauces & food presentation on a wide number of dishes...".
The dishes you make depend wholly on the seasonal produce available
Chicken Balotine - Hands on with food presentation in the kitchen
Our daily outings will give you a "good feel" for our region.
Arrival from 4:00pm. You settle into your room and make yourself at home. We meet before dinner to discuss our programme together, around a welcome drink with canapés. You then enjoy a three-course dinner.
We leave after breakfast to go to a market or visit a producer, to get our ingredients. We will also make a few detours on the way to see the pretty villages of the area. We come back for lunch. At 1.00 pm, we meet in the kitchen, where everyone gets involved in a real team effort to prepare dinner. We will cook for about 3 hours, so you then get some time to relax or to drive to town. We meet for aperitif at 7:00 pm, and head back to the kitchen for the last minute prep if necessary. You are invited to pop into the kitchen to plate up each course, but you can do as little or as much as you like: your holiday, so your time, your rhythm!
- Departure is on Friday morning. The room is yours until 11.00am if you have your own vehicle, but drop off to Tonneins station is for the 8.10am train.
Depending on the season and on their availability, we will visit some producers among the following: honey producer, duck farm, chocolatier, prune farm, wine maker, fish farm ... as well as producers markets.
This shorter cookery holiday course includes 2 days of cooking, and is designed to give you a little break. Learn a few French dishes, enjoy the company of fellow cooks, and catch a glimpse of south west France.Check-in on Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.
Arrival from 4:00pm. You just settle in and make yourself at home. We meet before dinner for a welcome drink with canapés, followed by a three-course dinner.
We leave after breakfast to go to a market or visit a producer, to get our ingredients. We will also make a few detours on the way to show the pretty villages of the area. We come back for lunch. At 1.00 pm, we meet in the kitchen, where everyone gets involved in a real team effort to prepare dinner.
We will cook for about 3 hours, so you then get some time to relax or to drive to town. We meet at 7.00pm for aperitif, and head back to the kitchen for the last minute prep. You are invited to pop into the kitchen to plate up each course, but you can do as little or as much as you like: your holiday, so ... your time, your rhythm!
Departure is in the morning on Day 4. The room is yours until 11.00am if you have your own vehicle, but drop off to Tonneins station is for the 8.10am train..
If you are in the area, you can join us for half a day or for a whole day of cooking course. The booking of a day or afternoon course will not include any accommodation nor transport apart from the planned and agreed excursion.
Arrival around 12.45pm, we meet around a coffee, then we head to the kitchen for a (3h) cooking session. You get three hours to go for a walk or a drive, or to just relax in the lounge-diner or in the garden. We meet at 7:00pm for an aperitif then head back to the kitchen for the last touches to our meal, which will be served at 7:30pm. You can then enjoy the fruit of your labour with some local wine. The afternoon course includes 3 hours of cooking, all ingredients, aperitif, 3 course dinner with wine, and coffee, tea and cold drinks throughout the afternoon.
Arrival around 8:30am, we meet around coffee and croissants, then we go out to a market or a producer's. A tasting, a visit of a village and we will be back to the house for lunch with some local wine. We meet in the kitchen at 1:00pm for a (3h) cooking session. You get 3 hours to go for a walk or a drive, or to just relax in the lounge-diner or in the garden. We meet at 7:00pm for an aperitif then head back to the kitchen for the last touches to our meal, which will be served at 7:30pm. You can then enjoy the fruit of your labour with some local wine. This day course includes coffee & croissants on arrival, excursion in the morning with entry fees when applicable, lunch with wine, 3 hours of cooking, all ingredients, aperitif, 3 course dinner with wine, and coffee, tea and cold drinks throughout the day.
Contact us with your dates
*Exchange rate based on Google currency converter 05/01/2017
The above prices are full board on our regular cooking courses.
Prices for non-cooking guests at one of our special cooking events may differ. Please see details for pricing on the event page.Prices quoted above are per person. No supplement for solo travellers!
Included in the price of your residential cooking holiday: