Insider’s Gascony is a food lover’s discovery of the 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 14-18)
- 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- Cassoulet, 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.
- Dine in Michelin Star rated restaurants, local cafes, 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- May 2015.
Two Fall Harvest weeks available: September 4-10, September 11-17, 2016
3,950€ per person (Special group rate available for 8-12 guest)
Include: accommodation (based on double occupancy), transfers from Gare d’Agen train station, local transportation, most meals, cooking classes, excursions, guided touring, and gratuities.
Does not include: airfare, other transportation to meeting point (transfers available upon request), insurance, personal items
Insider’s Gascony Sample Itinerary:
Arrive & Relax at Chateau de Mazelières .(transfers available from Agen train station, Agen airport, BDX, or TLS).
Check into the spacious luxury of our private 12th Century Chateau de Mazelières followed by wine tasting and a relaxed dinner of regional dishes and estate wines on a terrace overlooking the vines. This is the embodiment of l’art de vivre.
Cooking Day At the Kitchen at Camont. An intimate introduction to Gascon cooking through a full morning of preparing classic and regional dishes with Kate Hill in her 18th Century farmhouse Camont. Sit down together to enjoy a long leisurely lunch paired with local wines from the Cote de Gascogne region.
Head back to the chateau to relax with a wine tasting/cocktails and aperos/tapas. After a long French lunch, it’s just right.
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, Fources, and Armagnac tasting.
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 centre ville explores the Marché Couverte, Fine Arts Museum, Museum of the Resistance, Cathedral Notre Dame, and the central shopping area. Wind down with wine tasting and charcuterie at Le Gueuleton followed by your choice of A) dinner at Grand Café Foy- a typical grande siècle Brasserie or B) an evening cooking session at the Chateau with Phillipe Bon. YOUR CHOICE!
Morning Marché and visit to Lectoure-the artistic center of the Gers-and home to Bleu de Lectoure, and the Antique Village. Indulge on the best chocolates from the most sought after chocolatière in the area.
As a special treat, the group is invited to an intimate tasting dinner prepared by Benjamin and Agnes Toursel’s at their Michelin star rated Auberge de Prieuré
Depart from Chateau to Agen train station or further travel and transfers.