Southwest France is a foodie's paradise and the specialties of the region will speak to your palette like no other. Duck confit, prunes, Amagnac, fois gras, are just a few of the regional specialties that we will indulge in. Gascony is ancient and seems to have no boundaries, but most consider it to be roughly bordered by the Garonne River, which arrives from the Pyrenees and runs northwest through Toulouse and Bordeaux before splashing into the Atlantic. It is also the area where pilgrims wondered on their way to Santiago de Compostela. The food, the drink, the agriculture and the people will capture your hearts.
Kate Hill founded Camont as a cooking school and retreat in 1991, where we will have our cooking classes. We will meet her favorite vendors at the weekly markets before our cooking classes, followed by feasting on all the seasonal and local foods we have prepared. Our cooking classes will use classic French techniques, creating exemplary seasonal menus that define Terroir in the cooking of Southwestern France.
Château de Mazelières is a 17th Century castle, built in the land of Gascony. It lays in the centre of a historical region, only 10km from Nerac, where we will enjoy our visit and stay in the castle of King Henri IV of Navarre. Nestled in the heart of the vineyards of Buzet, on the edge of the land of Armagnac, the Castle offers appellation Buzet "Chateau de Mazelieres" as one of its most prestigious wines, and one of my favorite wines each year!
We suggest that you arrive in Bordeaux on Sunday May 13th so you can adjust to the European time and feel fresh for our week together. Our group will depart the Hotel Intercontinental Le Grand in Bordeaux on May 14th at 3:00 P.M. in the lobby.
Monday, May 14th Plan lunch in Bordeaux with Janice who will meet you in the lobby at the Hotel Intercontinental Le Grand in Bordeaux at 12 noon. After lunch, our driver will take us to Chateau Mazeliere near Nerac. The Chateau is beautiful and nestled in the heart of the vineyards and surrounded by gardens that match the beauty of the Chateau. The tension of travel will melt away as the food and great wine soak in. We will dine at the Chateau this first night in the lovely dining room that has history galore. We will enjoy our first of many meals featuring the fresh local ingredients that make Gascony a culinary dream and delicious local wines to pair with our feast.
Tuesday, May 15th Our morning will feature a tour and overview of the Chateau wines with our Chateau winemaker. We will enjoy a gastronomic picnic lunch with wine near Larrissingle one of the many picturesque villages in our area. Since Armagnac is another astonishing product of the region, we will travel to Fources, known to be one of the most beautiful villages in France as well as famous for its Armagnac. We will also have a special Armagnac tasting and a lesson in the proper tasting methods so we will be qualified tasters. Returning to the Chateau after our special tasting we can relax and then have aperitifs in the Orangerie. This evening our dinner will be at one of our local favorite restaurants, L'Art de Vivre, in our local village of Nerac with a great young Chef.
Wednesday, May 16th The Kitchen at Camont, Kate Hills Stone Farm kitchen near St. Colombe will be our first Cooking Class in Gascony. Our class will feature the local foods from farmers and market vendors that Kate has worked with for years. Our lunch will be feasting on all the delicious menu items we have prepared and shared on the beautiful garden patio. Our morning starts with the hustle and bustle of the morning market in Lavardac. We will meet the local farmers and vendors and gather fresh ingredients for a class at Camont today. We will feast on the "Retour de la Marche" menu. We will move into the evening with a Cooking Class, aperitifs and a lovely garden supper at Camont.