If you hadn’t picked up on it yet, my trip away was a wonderful opportunity to explore and learn about food (any excuse to eat lots really). I had contemplated cooking classes but not really gone to the effort to research and find some after my attempts to enrol in a class at ‘The Ritz, Paris’ failed due to renovations. However, as I sat on my couch back in May, marking my Year 9 Food Studies Assignments, I almost leapt to my feet with joy when a student’s fictitious travel itinerary had her go to some cooking classes. What a bonus, my research had been done for me (if only I had thought of that earlier, I could have had the whole class on a mission for me). “Cook’n with Class” ….sounds alright, with a website url good-to-go I decided to have a look for myself.
Paris Cooking classes, Market classes, French Bread making class …..ooh, ‘Advanced French Desserts’ class – that might just be the one! No wait, ‘Advanced Baking’ …hang on, ‘Molecular Gastronomy’!!!! There were so many to choose from and I wanted to do them ALL. Alas, I could not even manage one of their special packages to cover most of the classes, eenie meanie miney mo! I decided passing on the desserts just wasn’t going to happen (there were those glossy strawberries again in a picture) and let’s face it, going to Paris without making a croissant would be a huge sin. Molecular Gastronomy classes were scheduled ad-hoc depending on interest, but there was a ‘Kids Cooking’ class I thought Miss 8 would love with her new-found interest for macarons and ‘baguettes’. Closer to the time I made further enquiries and by some chance a Molecular Gastronomy class was also on offer. Wow, that was still four classes for me to attend, no matter!
I was a little worried about the first …there was much ado on the website about needing to know your stuff for the ‘advanced’ class, however at the time the desserts looked far more appealing. I figured I can get myself through a recipe, so whilst I might not be a pastry chef I could probably manage. Turns out there was nothing to fear, I think even the most novice of cooks could take this on. As it was, my other classmates had very little background (and lots of stupid questions), I think my skill level was almost beyond this lot. The arms got a great workout with a heap of custard whisking especially not to mention the rolling, rolling and rolling of butter puff. I walked away with a fair serving of desserts for the family to try. Choux pastry, Mille Fueille, and a gorgeous gateaux-type dessert. They’ve changed their line-up now, with a number of different desserts on the menu …can I go back???
Of course I did go back the following day, there was a baking class I needed to check out! By this time I was getting quite fatigued, late nights and long days …and now massive workouts in a cooking class? The main focus of the baking classes was the use of puff pastry. I think I attempted puff around 30 years ago and never when back, always thinking the effort wasn’t worth it, how wrong was I? Whilst with 3 of us in the class the division of labour beating and rolling our puff was of some use, my day of whisking and rolling the day before had certainly taken it’s toll.
After a good few hours though, we had before us a beautiful apple strudel, full of caramelised apples, cinnamon scrolls, chocolate croissants, butter croissants and custard puffs ….if you’re a coeliac forget it! I could have eaten pastries all day but happily left with my little box of goodies to share.