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Art and Cooking in France

MARCH 23, 2014
Poster I created for the class. Acrylic on board

A couple of years ago I was in France to attend a cooking class with my wife for a week at Le Calabash Petit Conservatorie de la Cuisine, a culinary school in the Loire Valley, about three hours Southwest of Paris.  While my wife cooked, I spent much of the time drawing and painting at the school and in the countryside.   The chefs, Sidney and Alison Bond, noticed what I was up to and struck up the idea of teaching a class together sometime, an art and cooking class.
We've worked out all the details and are offering this class for the first time this Summer, June 22-28, 2014.   The experience at Le Calabash was memorable for us and I hope to have some friends come along this year.   The classes are limited to 10 people, from beginners to professionals.  Each course will adapt to everyone's skill level, with a sense of discovery for everyone.  There will be trips to chateaus and local markets along the way.  The setting, classes, food, and new friends will make it a trip to remember.  

Below are all the details, along with photos from my trip a couple of years ago.  For booking, please contact Sidney and Alison Bond via e-mail: bonds@wanadoo.fr
Website:  http://www.lecalabash.fr/
Chefs Alison and Sidney Bond

Le Calabash 6 Night 5 Day

Le Calabash ‘An Easel and Kitchen Adventure in France’

Sunday Day 1

  • Arrive after lunch and check into and settle into your accommodation
  • 19.00  A welcome champagne cocktail, followed by a Moroccan Dinner with Alison, Sidney, and Edel
Le Calabash is located in a renovated farmhouse

Monday Day 2
09.00 Traditional French Breakfast
You will be taught the best catch for each season and how to identify your fish and how to ensure it is fresh. The day will include techniques of preparing your fish.
Dishes will include;
  • Roast Fillet of Sea bass with Chorizo, Aubergine Caviar and Fennel

·      Classique Normandy Moules Marinière and Moules ‘en Papillote.

·      Hot Smoked Salmon with an Avocado Crème and Beetroot.

·      Turbot Grenoblois
Lunch. For lunch we enjoy our dishes we prepared this morning with Alison and Sidney’s favourite French artisanal cheeses and freshly baked bread.
This afternoon you start with your first lesson with Edel, which will be on site at le Calabash and will prepare you for the week ahead and your artistic journey in the Loire.  The art classes will be geared to all levels of art experience, with a sense of fun and discovery each and every day.
After an introduction in the history and techniques of landscape sketching, Edel will guide you through our village for on site sketchbook lessons.  You will be directly immersed in the village life of artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, and Claude Monet, who took similar steps throughout the French countryside in their own search for the perfect composition.  You will be provided with your own travel sketchbook and supplies and use them to keep a journal as a memento of your entire week in the wonderful French countryside.  This is the start of Summer, when all is in full bloom, an artist’s dream come true.
Upon your return back to the art studio at Le Calabash, Edel will teach you several unique printmaking techniques that have garnered his work international acclaim.  You will then make your own prints, using your day’s sketchbook work as a guide.
16.00 Leisure time until dinner
You can relax or explore the area this afternoon, cycle, walk along the river, play boules in the village square, or why not spoil yourself to a relaxing massage, or spa treatment at La Roch Posay’s Renowned Spa
19.30 We enjoy a dinner of Seasonal Fish and Alison will prepare you one of her latest dessert creations.

field trip to Angles sur Anglin, site of a medieval castle

Tuesday Day 3
Traditional French Breakfast
After Breakfast we visit our local Goats Cheese farm and producer where we taste and experience what is known as the best goat’s cheese in the world, St Maures AOC.

When we return from the goat’s cheese farm, we are exposed to the art of Soufflés

·      Cheese Soufflé

·      Lemon Soufflé

·      Chocolate Soufflé
Lunch. For lunch we enjoy our dishes we prepared this morning with Alison and Sidney’s favourite French artisanal cheeses and freshly baked bread.
This afternoon you will be transported to Angles sur Anglin where Edel will take you on the journey of capturing this fantastic medieval town. You will be taught techniques practiced by French artists such as Georges Seurat and Edgar Degas, learning about perspective, atmosphere, and space to create your own charcoal and color pastel drawings of this idyllic French town.
19.30 Picnic next to the River in Angles sur Anglin, weather permitting, if not we enjoy dinner in our family’s favourite casual restaurant overlooking the castle ruins.
At the boundaries of Poitou and Berry, the village of Angles sur l'Anglin is a jewel. Of course, a stroll is highly recommended in this village listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France. Its paved streets, its winding alleys will drive you to: la Tranchée des Anglais, la Huche Corne, to the castle of the XI and XV century, to the Sainte Croix chapel

cheese market in Loches

Wednesday Day 4
Traditional French Breakfast
After breakfast we depart for the Market in Loches, where we identify and buy ingredients for our class
The town is dominated by the medieval citadel, which is surrounded by 1.5 mi (2 km) of old walls. It embraces three separate buildings: the Royal Lodge (mainly 15th century), the Collégiale Saint-Ours (10th–11th century), and a ruined fortress with an 11th-century keep and a 15th-century tower cut into the rock. Fortified in the 6th century, Loches was fought over by the French and English during the 12th and 13th centuries.
Today we enjoy a traditional French lunch at le Calabash using items and ingredients purchased at the market.
After lunch we head to the art studio at Le Calabash where Edel will teach you about the art of collage.  A technique pioneered by modernist masters Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso while working in Paris, and later by Henri Matisse working in the South of France, collage became one of the most important artistic techniques of the 20th century.  This will be a fun morning of freestyle painting, cutting and gluing paper, experimenting with unique textures and forms.  Edel’s own published collages will be on hand for viewing, and he will take you on a step by step process of how they were created.  You will build a picture, one piece at a time, ultimately creating your very own self portrait in the process.
17.30 Leisure time till dinner
20.00 Tonight Alison and Sidney take you out for dinner to their friend, Michelin Star Jacky Dallay at the renowned Promenade Restaurant in le Petit Pressigny.
Chateau Chenonceau

Thursday Day 5
Traditional French Breakfast
09.00 We Depart for Chateau Chenonceau where you have the morning to explore Chenonceau at your leisure
Property of the Crown, then royal residence, Chenonceau Castle is an exceptional site not only because of its original design, the richness of its collections, its furniture and its decorations, but also because of its destiny, since it was loved, administrated and protected by women, who were all extraordinary and who, for the most part have marked history.
For the historical background, the “Château des Dames” was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers then Catherine de Medici. Chenonceau was protected from the hardship of the revolution by Madame Dupin.
12.30 We enjoy lunch at the renowned Orangerie Restaurant at Chateau Chenonceau
After we leave Chenonceau to visit one of the Frances finest white wine and sparkling wine areas, Vouvray.
You will be taken on a guided tour of 3km of wine caves, holding on average 4 million bottles of wine, petillant and sparkling wine. You will be given an in-depth tour of the production and bottling plant and then return for a wine tasting.
With Edel at your side and sketchbooks on hand, you will have a full day of drawing these two wonderful venues.   We will set up with our sketchbooks by the river and take in the palace’s unique architecture and gorgeous gardens, along with the winery’s vast caves.
18.30 We return to Le Calabash for a Surprise Dinner demonstration prepared by Sidney whilst you enjoy a glass of wine brought back from Vouvray.
making macarons, roasting salmon, painting the landscape

Friday Day 6
Traditional French Breakfast
Our journey into the pastry kitchen continues

·      Pear, Specoloos and Chocolate Delice

·      Profiteroles with a Madagascan Chocolate Mousse

·      Preparing chocolate sauce and hot chocolate

·      Ice Parfait ‘Josephine’

·      Art of Dessert presentation to include Sugar Craft and Tuilles
Lunch in the Orchard
This afternoon Edel has a surprise in store for you and will take you on a ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ journey. Edel will teach you the unique creative process he has developed to conceptualize and bring to fruition graphically powerful and evocative travel, film, and theatre posters.  You will learn about lettering and design and discover innovative stencilling, masking, and painting techniques.  By the end of the day you will have created your very own poster.

We finish off in the early afternoon to allow you to rest or take a last walk down to the river and prepare for our last evening together.

drawings and paintings I did while at Le Calabash

19.30Tonight, the week’s artwork will be on display for our very own ‘le Calabash’ art show.  Certificate presentation, champagne, and Sidney’s Zulu BBQ will follow.
Saturday Day 7
Traditional French Breakfast
Departure by 11am
Should you wish to extend your stay or arrive a day earlier this can be arranged.
poster ©Edel Rodriguez

Le Calabash Cookery Experience includes:

  • Accommodation for six nights
  • Entrance into Chateaux
  • Meals: daily breakfast, and meals as per itinerary, including selected wine with meals
  • Transport for all activities in the itinerary.
  • Personalised Apron and Recipe folder
  • Additional nights accommodation 155.00€ including breakfast.

The price does not include:

  • Transport from and to airport or station / this can be arranged
  • Optional excursions or meals not listed in itinerary or any additional expenses or ordered personally.
  • Drinks that are personally ordered
  • Laundry
  • Phone Calls
6 Day ‘le Calabash’ Cookery Experience
Residential €1975.00
Non-Participating, accompanying, but not taking classes €1695.00
Single Supplement €375.00
For further questions and booking please contact Sidney and Alison at Le Calabash: bonds@wanadoo.fr

or Edel Rodriguez: edelrodriguez@gmail.com

© 2024 Edel Rodriguez