Mini L’Art de Bien Manger Workshops (and Poires au Vin)

An awfully nasty storm is tearing at the blossoms and fresh leaves outside, furiously and relentless, throwing gushes of raindrops at our windows and trying to squeeze through cracks in the walls. 

I am poaching pears in my kitchen, over the fire, warm, and very appropriate considering spring having such an autumnal fit. I’m experimenting on a recipe by my egg man at the weekly market, a very interesting chap. Knows a great deal about local food and eats, all closely tied to the wine growing which has now nearly disappeared in our corner. 

I’ve written up the recipe further down for you, and I’d be thrilled if you let me know what you think of it, as it’s rather peculiar.

While the pears are sleepily simmering away in the pinot bath we are comparing our thoughts and notes to the opening of the L’Art de Bien Manger workshop. So happy and grateful, it was a wonderful time with a wonderful crowd, we never expected this to be so so so much fun! I will partner with my Mother for all future workshops, she’s absolutely priceless, knowing so much about cookery and culinary indulgence. 

We thus decided to add a couple of Mini L’Art de Bien Manger sessions. These are one day workshops with a focus on creating an elegant and sumptuous five course dinner based on local produce and a selection of fine wines. We’ll spend time outside in the garden foraging herbs and edible flowers, an occasional swim in the Saône or venture upstream by boat. We’ll set up our table under the big ash tree at the river, candles and lanterns, flowing dresses and ruby red wine in crystal glasses illuminating the hot summer night. 

The mini workshops will take place on 20 July, 24 August and 14 of September. 

Brief outline: 

The workshops start at 11am in the morning with a session on local produce and food philosophy, accompanied by a selection of French terrines, pâtés and cheese. In the afternoon we continue with the dinner preparations, diving into specific cooking techniques such as cheese making, smoking and pasta making. Group size is limited to six persons to keep it private and neat, so hurry up to book your spot. 

Cost: 

The cost of participation is EUR 280.- per person. It includes dinner, lunch and all that goes along with it. It does not include any fares and accommodation. There are very nice B&Bs in the neighbourhood and we are more than happy to direct you to the one that suits you. 

Location: 

The workshops will be held at our private house in the upper north of Franche Comté, halfway between Paris and Zurich, or Dijon and Nancy. It is advisable to come by car, upon your request we are happy to organise a driver who will get you at your own expense from the nearest airport or train station.  

Please contact us at lespoissonchats@gmx.ch for further information. 

And now to the Poires au Vin. Peel four nice Williams pears and place them in a not too wide pan. Cover them in a light red wine, a pinot noir for example, and add a generous spoon of honey. Peel two cloves of garlic and add them to the soup. I’ve been very surprised about the latter step, and more so of the outcome! You may or may not add a little cardamon to enhance the flavour. 

Let the pears simmer, turning them from time to time so that they are well coloured on all sides. Cook until the red wine-honey is reduced to a thick soup. 

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche. Bon appétit!