uzès cooking class with Peta
Enjoy a hands-on cooking class with Peta at her home in the medieval town of Uzès (French Summer 2019)
I live in the spell-binding medieval town of Uzès, half an hour from Avignon, from May to the end of September, writing, drinking Pastis and eating sun-drenched food. The climate is dry and very hot and the land is covered in olive groves and vineyards. We have a small farmer's market every Wednesday where the good Languedoc soil is still clinging to the vegetables and a huge market on Saturdays where you can buy anything from a bed to an octopus. Our Uzès market has been voted the most beautiful market in the South and the fourth best market in France.
The fat in which the food of a region is cooked is the greatest shaper of its cuisine and above everything else the olive symbolises the South of France. Man and nature are in very close harmony here, the place is swamped in olive oil and wine and as a result the people seem to be jumping out of their skins with joie de vivre. The diet is mostly vegetarian with lots of goat cheese, fish, especially salt cod and anchovies as well as artichokes, tomatoes, aubergines, garlic, courgette flowers, fennel, capsicums and spices and herbs like saffron, basil, rosemary, nutmeg and dried orange peel. We also have delicious local lamb so you might find me teaching lamb roasted with lavender and mustard. The cuisine here is strong flavoured and pungent which comes from the Romans so you will learn dishes like saussoun (anchovy, mint and almond paste), grande aioli, slow roasted tomato tart, pissaladière (onion, anchovy and black olive tart), strawberries in Pastis and pepper and chocolate and almond cake.
Our cooking class together
I teach classes on market days – Wednesday and Saturday. My classes are designed to inspire you and give you a look into the way Southern French people live, eat, drink and work – mostly it includes a lot of laughing. Classes are not formal but they are structured and we cover many recipes in the kitchen. The style of the day is organic – we go shopping, put all the food on the bench, put aprons on and get cooking, just as you would do at home.
9am – meet at the market. Shop, meet stall-holders, taste wine, enjoy the strong Languedoc accents and find out how to pick the tastiest tomatoes, the freshest seafood, the ripest cheese.
10am – walk with our baskets full of produce, past the snail man, past the boulangerie, down my cobble-stoned street and into my small but perfectly formed house.
10am – 1pm – hands on cooking, reviving ourselves with coffee, cooking, reviving ourselves with rosé, cooking.
1–2pm – set the table, sit down to lunch, tell stories, drink wine, enjoy what sun-drenched food tastes like and then you wander back down my street, a changed person.
The cost is Euro 130 per person, everything is included and recipes provided – maximum of eight people please.