For an exquisite experience in the
heart of Avignon, aim for one of La Mirande’s hands-on
classes at their cooking school, le
Marmiton, where the area’s best chefs teach in the hotel’s 19th
century kitchen. Christian Etienne, Jean-Claude Aubertin, Robert Brunel...talent!
What a great way to combine good food and exercise...not a spa, but a
cooking school coupled with hiking adventures to walk off the
calories. Down home, intimate, lots of fun
with Madeleine and Erick Vedel in the heart of Arles
at la Cuisine Provencale.
At the Mas
de Cornud just outside of Saint-Remy, Nito and David offer weeklong
cooking and market/wine sessions with lovely accommodations right on the
Jacques Pepin has been known to join in the fun.
and Kitchens offers a choice of exclusive food and wine tours,
including cooking with Lydie Marshall in Nyons and wine tasting in
a dramatic setting at the foot of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de
Louviers, just an hour northwest of Paris, Susan Loomis of Epicurious
conducts her cooking school in Normandy, On
Paris or Provence to cook with Patricia Wells,
but know that her classes are generally sold out a year in advance.
for a more tour-based cooking experience, take a look at Elderhostel’s
programs which offer experiential adventures in food and wine (and other
activities) in various regions of France.
Guides are a great resource for ideas for cooking
schools. A search of their site brought up more than 400 different
cooking classes. In fact there are thousands of different types of
learning vacations, from photography to art to hiking to language study.
& Vine in Northampton MA, formerly Big Y, has one of the
most complete collections of fine wines we've seen, including many from
the Rhone valley, Languedoc-Roussillon and the Corbieres region of France. Their prices
are quite competitive, especially on case purchases. Sign up for their
newsletter and you'll stay up to date on the latest in wine finds by
their knowledgeable staff.
While staying in
Virginia for serveral months, we were lucky enough to find Total
semi-chain of super wine stores. With
more than two dozen stores in 5 mid-Atlantic states, Total Wine has
tremendous buying power, thus great price and selection.
by Odd Lots in Albany CA if you live in or are visiting the
Bay area. Morgan Miller, who once worked for Kermit Lynch, has a
great wine shop there, a gem that features many great south-of-France
wines. His newsletter, besides being informative, puts together
suggestions for "six-bottle buys" that are well thought out
and affordable. So far no website, but worth a visit for a great
wine shopping excursion. (510)526-0522
If you're in
upstate NY, check in with Josh Hiebel and check out the fine selection
of Rhone wines at the Saratoga
Wine Exchange. They often have tasting events to educate as
well as to whet your tastebuds.
& L Wine Merchants, also in the Bay area, has an informative and
useful website worth visiting for just for browsing. They
ship to 18 states -- not all states allow shipping of wine, although
that is changing over time.
also found a good website, Wine
Access, that functions as an online center for smaller wine stores.
You can search for a wine by name and they'll direct you to a retailer
in your area that might have it. No charge but you do have to register
now has a Gourmet Food Shop that includes
olives and olive oils, and all sorts of odd
products like La Guerande sea salt, Banyul vinegar, and foie gras French
kisses by D’Artagnan.
Given their success with mail-order books, they should be an efficient
source for those must-have specialty foods.
of Ann Arbor
has an incredible selection of French foods
and gourmet goodies…including olive oils, vinegars, breads, cheeses, candies
and more. From time to time, we’ve spotted our favorite Mausanne olive oil on their site.
Kitchen, well installed in Cambridge MA for
twenty years, has opened another store in south
primarily cheese people, but their selections
includes a few worthy olive oils from
Hédiard jams and preserves, and calissons
from the Aix region.
Village calls itself
an epicurean oasis for gourmet foods, cheese, meats and wines, all
available by mail order (well, wine can be shipped to six states). The
selection of French specialties includes foie gras, several French olive oils (including the
inexpensive but decent Puget brand found in hypermarchés
), and Valhrona chocolates.
and Vine got lots of goodies -- olive oil from Chateau d’Estoublon near
terrines and mousses, sausages, tapenades, a nice array of
cheeses…and of course an incredible selection of wines.
is the best, freshest source of authentic French cheeses, delivered to
your door within 24 hours and including informative
instructions. Their website is chock full of petits astuces on
cheese groupings, wine selections and much more.