FRENCH COUNTRY COOKING IN JULIA CHILD'S HOME / CHâTEAUNEUF - GRASSE, FRANCE / NOVEMBER 11 - 17, 2018
ABOUT THE TRIP:
Spend a week in the countryside above Côte d’Azur, surrounded by groves of olive trees, rows of cypresses, and field after field of grapevines exploring the magical region of Provence. Find yourself cooking and eating in Julia Child’s former kitchen, learning the basics of french cooking, preparing some of Julia's favourite meals, sampling local specialties, + visiting the abundant street markets. We’ll seek out boulangeries, fromageries and pastisseries which were some of Julia’s favourites, dine at local village restaurants and taste "black gold" as you hunt for truffles.
"La Pitchoune" or “The Little Thing” as Julia called it, became her link to France, a place she returned to again and again, in her mind, and in her recipes. The house is, by design, informal, built on a former potato patch, and tucked into a hillside with views across a shallow valley to the hill town of Plascassier. With three antique-dotted bedrooms, a charming sitting room, and surrounding gardens with a terrace and swimming pool, built on property that once belonged to Simone Beck, one of Julia’s original cookbook collaborators.
The Child's often entertained M.F.K. Fisher and James Beard at their Provençal home, and through their conversations, they helped shape today’s tastes and culture, expanding our horizons on the way we eat now, and forever changed how Americans viewed and cooked food.
This Ace Camp includes:
- Hands-on French cooking lessons in Julia's Kitchen
- Transportation to/from Châteaneuf-Grasse + Nice
- Day trip to Western Provence for a truffle hunt & tasting
- A tasting meal at a Michelin Star Restaurant
- Day trip to Cannes & surrounding towns
- Gourmet breakfasts, lunches & dinners
- Wine tastings
- 6 breakfasts
- 2 lunches
- 6 dinners
- 6 nights sleeping in Julia Child's Provençal residence* (based on shared occupancy)
This gourmet adventure is limited to 5 guests.
*Rooms are based on double occupancy
Fee: $3895.00 USD - airfare is not included
Deposit: $2695.00 - due when place in workshop is confirmed
Final Payment of $1200.00 due August 10th, 2018
There will be no refunds for this workshop - please know you can make it before your registration. Airfare to Nice, France is not included.
"Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you'll have a marvellous time!"
- JULIA CHILD
Chef Alison Bell
Chef Alison Bell will be your guide + cooking instructor
While travelling to Europe on a school trip when Alison was 17, the proverbial food seed was planted that has grown into a decades-long culinary life. She began cooking when she was 19 in a small wine bar in Southern England and once back in Canada, Alison immediately enrolled in a professional cooking program, followed by an apprenticeship that introduced her to some of the top kitchens in Canada.
Alison is a Red Seal Chef and a food educator who holds a Le Cordon Bleu Master of Arts in Gastronomy from the University of Adelaide, Australia. She loves to prepare deliciously uncomplicated foods, made with the freshest, seasonal ingredients. Alison’s culinary career has included directing an innovative professional cooking program where she instilled a passion for food and cooking in scores of young cooks, running a successful café, dabbling in food writing and food photography and creating delicious foods and food experiences with ACE Camps Travel Company.
Alison is thrilled to follow any path that leads to the most delicious dish or ingredient, whether it’s in a farmer’s field in the Peruvian Andes or in a small cafe in rural France.
A place where legendary recipes were tested and tasted for the second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, amoung other publications.
The only one of Julia's kitchens to remain largely intact, in situ and open. From the wooden countertops, which were raised to workbench height, to the three walls covered in pegboard with the wobbly outlines that Paul traced of the original cooking implements that Julia hung there, more gadgets than you will know what to do with: copper pans, Nordic waffle-pans, sauté pans, large whisks, cage whisks, a balloon whisk and so much more.
SUGGESTED READING MATERIAL
MY LIFE IN FRANCE Written by Julia Child & Alex Prud'homme
Julia began her French sojourn as the underemployed and ever-curious wife of a diplomatic officer, frustrated at being unable even to speak the language. Language classes led to cooking classes, then to partnering with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle in an American book contract. The book reveals the gradual education of Child's palate, her intense love for her husband, and her boundless capacity for hard work.
PROVENCE 1970 Written by Luke Barr
Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France.
MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING - VOLUME TWO
Written by Julia Child & Simone Beck
The beloved sequel to the bestselling classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II presents more fantastic French recipes for home cooks. Working from the principle that “mastering any art is a continuing process,” here Julia Child and Simone Beck have gathered together a brilliant selection of new dishes that will bring you to a yet higher level of culinary mastery.
A wonderful article on Julia and her Provencal home: KINFOLK MAGAZINE
The closest airport is Nice, France, which is serviced by many international + domestic airlines. You will need to arrive in Nice no later than 1:30pm on November 11th.
More information regarding your travel arrangements will be sent to you after registration.
Julia and Paul Child chose to build a house here, lulled by the warm November breezes. If the wind is blowing down the valley the skies should be mainly clear, but rain showers are possible during this time of year, so best to pack a rain shell or umbrella
The average maximum temperature in the region in November is 65°F. The average minimum 45°F in the evenings.
A NOTE ABOUT THE FOOD
Provence and the Côte d’Azur region, in particular, is known for its fresh seafood, produce and herbs. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, artichokes, garlic, apricots, lemons, peaches & plums, depending on the season. Dine on specialties of the region; salade Niçoise, bouillabaisse, ratatouille, bourride, pan bagnat, and pissaladière. Don't forget the wine, rosé wine from the Côtes de Provence, France’s largest producer of rosé.
NOTE: This trip will cater mostly to omnivores with some pescatarian options. Vegetarian options may be limited and not always available.
DAY ONE - ARRIVAL AT LA PITCHOUNE
Early afternoon the group will meet in Nice, France and drive to Julia Child's home located about 25 km away in the hills above Cote D'Azur.
Arrive at Julia's home and settle into your rooms. This evening we enjoy a light meal, embracing our surroundings.
Travel notes: Please ensure your flight to Nice arrives no later than 1:30pm today. If you prefer to arrive one day in advance, we can recommend a central hotel for you to make a booking at. There is plenty to do in Nice should you arrive early, we recommend a wander of Old town, and the Marché aux Fleurs, (flower market).
DAY TWO - COOKING + TASTING OUR WAY THROUGH THE HILLS
Breakfast at the house
This morning we begin with our first cooking session in Julia's kitchen. With produce hand picked from the markets of Nice, Alison will lead the group through some cooking basics as we get to work preparing our lunch based on recipes from one of Julia's many wonderful cookbooks.
Lunch will be served on the small outdoor terrace, weather permitting.
After lunch we head out for an afternoon of exploring and tasting local specialties. We will wander a local village in search of delicacies. We visit a 170 year old olive mill for an olive oil tasting, and if we are lucky we will witness harvest and production as November is the month of annual olive harvest in Provence.
We will stop by a small family owned winery in St Jeannet for a tasting. Their wine is sun-aged in glass jars, a unique ancestral method that produces a rare flavour unique to this land.
This evening we will dine at a traditional Provencal restaurant in Mougins, a place where the likes of Picabia, Cocteau, Man Ray and Leger frequented. Pablo Picasso was so inspired by this little hill town, of pre-Roman origins, he spent the last 12 years of his life here.
DAY THREE - WINE TASTING + MICHELIN STARRED DINING
Breakfast at the house
This morning we head out early towards the heart of Provence to a wonderful morning market in Lorgues, one of the largest in the Var and often filled with all sorts of local products, fruit, vegetables, herbs, plants, + clothing.
From here we head north towards a winery set in a tranquil haven, among more than 1,200 acres of vineyards, olives and wild garrigue countryside criss-crossed with cycleways and footpaths. We take a technical tour of the wine cellar and finish off with a comparative tasting of their wines.
For lunch we discover the seasons of Provence at a Michelin-starred restaurant with a tasting menu. The height of gourmet dining in the domain, where fine Provençal produce, vegetables, herbs and flowers from the vegetable garden occupy pride of place on the menu.
Dinner this evening- TBD
DAY FOUR - EXPLORING JULIA'S MARKETS
Breakfast at the house
This morning we explore a couple different local markets that Julia would likely have frequented. We will be looking for produce for our afternoon cooking session. One of our market stops takes us to Marché Forville in Cannes, famous for its extraordinary covered food market that supplies the Riviera’s most famous restaurants. There is a delectable assortment of fruits and vegetables, cheeses, breads, and an outstanding selection of fish and seafood.
Lunch today is free time for you wander around the market, where you might want to sample different items from the vendors or try out a nearby cafe (on your own). Be sure to taste Socca, a local specialty chickepea flatbread
Before we leave, we will try to stop by Boucherie Fabre, a butcher shop that has stood outside the Marché Forville in Cannes since 1899, where we may happen upon someone who remembers Julia's visits there.
This afternoon we head home with our market finds, for another cooking session in the kitchen to prepare a multi-course dinner feast.
DAY FIVE - TRUFFLE HUNT + TASTING
Breakfast at the house
The first part of the morning is yours to relax or explore the grounds.
Mid morning we hit the road winding through towns and villages as we make our way towards Aix-en-Provence, where we will stop for a quick bite to eat (on your own) at a local cafe.
This afternoon we go behind the scenes of the world's most secretive business. Take a tour of a Provençal truffle plantation, learn how truffles are cultivated and truffle dogs are trained, and go on a hunt for France's elusive "black gold" with professional hunters who know all the tricks of the trade. Learn to tell the difference between a real Provençal tuber melanosporum and its inferior Chinese counterparts. You'll also learn how to properly clean, store and cook with truffles.
After the hunt we enjoy a sampling of fresh truffle hors d'oeuvres, Champagne and a tasting of organic olive and truffle oil.
We drive back towards Chateauneuf-Grasse and enjoy a light dinner at home.
DAY SIX - FOLLOW IN JULIA'S FOOTSTEPS
Breakfast at the house
This morning we head to one of Julia's favourite markets + favourite towns a short drive from the house. The Friday market in Valbonne is located in a pretty medieval village, typically Provençal, with pollarded plane trees, narrow cobbled alleys. Unspoilt 12th century facades are just one of the features of this bustling village.
The market stalls ramble throughout the village, where on any given week you will find everything from shoes, scarves and children's clothing to hand-painted ceramics, olive-wood bowls, kitchen ware, Provençal fabrics, artists' paintings, lavender cosmetics/soaps and lovely flowers. And then there's the food, a wonderful selection of olives, tapenades, goat's cheeses, olive oils, saucissons, honeys and spices and several fruit and vegetable stands. You can find fresh pasta, chicken roasting on a spit and the most delicious bread straight out of the oven.
Lunch today is on your own. Sample a selection of goods from the market or try one of the excellent local restaurants - there are so many wonderful options.
After lunch we head back to the house and spend the afternoon enjoying our final cooking session.Today we will work in partners to shop for ingredients and to prepare the various courses of our final feast. Iconic Julia Child recipes will be chosen by the group. Following our cooking session, we will create a centrepiece and lay the table in the dining room of La Pitchoune where we will feast and raise our glasses to good food and good health.
DAY SEVEN - DEPARTURE
Breakfast at the house
Travel Day: This morning we pack our bags and head back to Nice.
...no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.
- JULIA CHILD