Insider’s Gascony is a food lover’s discovery of Gascony, that part of France known as the potager or “kitchen garden.” I have been cooking this good food grown in Southwest France at Camont, my French farmhouse kitchen, and teaching cooking classes since 1991. and now I offer a new experience-a collaboration between Camont and the Chateau de Mazelières to celebrate the Gascon art de vivre-both rustic and refined. Gascony is nestled in the crook of the Garonne River between Bordeaux and Toulouse. This is the most diverse agricultural area of France and her cuisine reflects it: foie gras to fine wines, farmstead charcuterie, armagnac, and lavish farmers’ markets sporting rainbows of fruit and vegetables. Join me and my good French friends on an edible journey behind the seasonal scenes of Gascony as we:
- Stay in capacious chambers at the beautiful 12th century Chateau de Mazelières, makers of fine Côtes de Buzet wines, and discover chateau life hosted by bon vivant Philippe Bon. (7 large bedrooms/suites sleeping 14+)
- Roll up your sleeves in the warmth of my 18th century farmhouse kitchen as we cook rustic French country dishes like Cassoulet, Poule-au-Pot, and Confit de Canard at Camont.
- Learn to prepare France’s most iconic dishes- Foie Gras de Bon, Coq au Vin, Duck a la Orange, the perfect Tarte aux Pommes at in the Chateau’s kitchen.
- Discover the secrets of French charcuterie and how to serve it the French way including local wines and aperitifs.
- Stroll through the country’s most abundant farmers markets shopping for pique-niques and countryside lunches.
- Visit the area’s many historic sites- from Gallo-Roman mosaics to medieval villages. Stroll through art galleries and artisan food shops to sample freshly made charcuterie, cheeses, chocolates, regional breads, and buttery pastries.
- Savor wines from Bordeaux, Buzet, and Côte de Gascogne wine regions and discern the differences between Armagnac & Cognac.
- Dine in Michelin Star rated restaurants, local cafés, brasseries, and bistros learning the true meaning of being a bon vivant.
Here are a few pictures of Janice Thomas’ Savory Spoon Group from Door County, Wisconsin at Camont.
Spring- May 21-27 available; September Harvest 10-16. Booking now.
3,950€ per person (Special group rate available for 8-12 guest)
Include: accommodation (based on double occupancy), most meals, cooking classes, excursions, guided touring,transfers from Gare d’Agen train station, local transportation, and gratuities.
Does not include: airfare, other transportation to meeting point, insurance, personal items, taxi transfers available from Bordeaux and Toulouse Airports.
Insider’s Gascony Sample Itinerary:
Arrive & Relax at Chateau de Mazelières ..
Check into the spacious luxury of our private 12th Century Chateau de Mazelières followed by aperitifs on the terrace and a relaxed dinner of regional dishes and estate wines in the lovely Salle à Manger overlooking the vines. This is the embodiment of l’art de vivre au Chateau!
Wine Discovery & Cooking Day At the Kitchen at Camont. An intimate introduction to the vineyards of the Chateau de Mazelière and the terroir of AOC Buzet wine with the winemaker. A walk around the vineyards, anatomy of a vine from rootstock to grape, and an introduction to the Southwest France varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Tannat. Then join Kate at her Kitchen at Camont for an alfresco lunch before an afternoon preparing classic and regional dishes with Kate Hill in her 18th Century farmhouse Camont. Then it’s back to the chateau to relax with a wine tasting and aperitif buffet.
Armagnac Roadtrip! Set out to explore the countryside on an driving tour through some of the most beautiful villages in France. Delight in the painterly landscapes as we celebrate a Dejeuner sur l’Herbe: a pique-nique lunch along the river followed by a visit to Seviac’s Gallo-Roman Villa and Mosaics, Larressingle, Fourcés, and Armagnac tasting at a favorite domaine. End the day with dinner in Nerac at the charming l’Art de Vivre bistro.
Au Marché & Gasconnade BBQ. Accompany Kate to the Farmer’s Market in the little shady plaza in Lavardac to buy the products from her friends for today’s afternoon cooking class. Return to the Chateau and take a book, a sketchpad, and curl up under a 500 year old Cedar tree before a picnic lunch at the Chateau. From Chateau to farmhouse, spend the afternoon at Camont and discover French Country living with Kate Hill cooking, telling stories, walking along the canal or taking a bike ride down the canal towpath. Sit down together at Camont with a true Gascon dinner of dishes the group has prepared that afternoon plus a few hand-made goodies from the market.
Discover Agen. One of France’s lovely small cities is best met on foot. A walking tour of Agen’s Roman centre ville explores the Marché Couverte, Fine Arts Museum, Museum of the Resistance, Cathedral Notre Dame, and the central shopping area. Wind down with an early evening wine tasting and charcuterie at Le Gueuleton, one of our favorite spots. return to the Chateau to enjoy a quiet evening. A simple supper will be served at your own leisure.
Morning Marché and visit to Lectoure-the artistic center of the Gers. Lectoure has long been the center for artisans and designers in the area. Start by indulging in the best chocolates, shop the market for French products and tastes to bring home, discover the many small boutiques and village shops, stop for a cold pression (draft beer) or a petit blanc (glass of white wine), then choose your favorite cafe for a long leisurely lunch. We meet at the Village de Antiquaires for a stroll through the past as dozens of brocanteurs offer their wares. As a fitting finale to the week, the group is invited to an intimate tasting dinner prepared by Benjamin and Agnes Toursel’s at their Michelin one-star rated Auberge de Prieuré in nearby Moirax.
After Breakfast, depart from Chateau to Agen train station or further travel and transfers.