Tuesday: The Cuisine of the North (Normandy and Bretagne) (10am to 2pm)
The Northern regions of France are heavily influenced by the bordering countries to the East (Belgium, Switzerland and Germany) and the Atlantic coastline. Alsace Lorraine and Normandy are famous for their rich cuisine, with dishes that are cream laden, and often include cabbage, potatoes and other root vegetables, alliums such as onions and leeks, pork and a variety of hard, cow’s milk cheeses. Eggs are also a culinary staple of the North, where quiche lorraine was born. Bretagne is know for it’s variety of seafood, particularly shellfish, which live along the rocky shores of the region. Dishes in this class may include bacon and onion tart with gruyere and foraged mushrooms, Maine mussels with tarragon, brandy and cream, farmhouse chicken in cider vinegar with heirloom potatoes pomme anna, kohlrabi and apple salad and an apple cake with fresh cream and maple syrup.
Wednesday: The Cuisine of Paris and the Central Region (10am to 2pm)
While living in Paris, I worked at a restaurant called “Le Jardin Notre Dame,” where once a week, I would filet a sole, table-side for the minister on Notre Dame. What made this restaurant unique were the seven Algerian brothers who owned it and their commitment to traditional Parian Bistro cuisine. On the menu were classics, like boeuf bourguignon, sole meuniere, steak frites and foie gras. There is no better way to learn a language than as a server in another country, with seven brothers watching your every move! In this class, we will celebrate the food of Paris and its surrounding region with dishes such as gougeres, chicken liver paté, frisée lardon salad with a poached egg, bistro steaks with parsley and garlic, baked pomme frites with aioli and chocolate mousse.
Thursday: The Cuisine of the South (Provence and the Mediterranean Coast) (10am to 2pm)
My first adventure abroad as a culinary student was to a little town called Aix-en-Provence, where I was completely overwhelmed by the abundance of the open-air markets, fragrant with olives, lavender and cheeses from the region. Stands were flush with piles of vegetables from the neighboring hills, game birds hung decorated with all their plume and baskets of nuts, spices, pastries and breads that were neatly laid out for town. On occasion, we would travel to the coast to enjoy bowls of saffron scented fish stew and walk along the fishing docks. To embrace the culinary traditions of the South, we will enjoy dishes such as tomato toasts with chèvre and tapenade, Penobscot Bay bouillabaisse, a simple salad of garden lettuce and herbs wot red wine vinaigrette, ratatouille, roast lamb with lavender and rosemary and pistachio cake.
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