Join Chef Ron Boucher on our new culinary tour to Bordeaux and the Dordogne, France. This is a compelling area of great beauty, charming medieval towns, and wonderful food and wine. The Dordogne region produces more than 30 types of truffles and is equally famous for its foie gras. Your hands-on cooking les-sons will be held in the kitchen of La Vieille Auberge and will be led by Robert Véril, the owner of the hotel and also the chef. Robert has been preparing traditional French cooking for 45 years, and he is also passionate about wine. Your classes include local products and regional traditions and will give you a thorough sense of the gastronomic cuisine for which this region is renowned.
Day 1: Arrive at the Bordeaux Airport and take a quick tour of Bordeaux before driving to our hotel in Saint-Emilion, a gorgeous little wine village 45 minutes from Bordeaux. This is our home for the first evening. After checking into the hotel, we take a tour of Saint-Emilion to visit its famous underground monuments. Tonight we enjoy a gourmet welcome dinner in town.
Day 2: Today we head east into the region of Périgord, a fairytale land of castles, prehistoric caves, medieval villages, and unparalleled gastronomic delights! In Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, known as the capital of prehistory, we visit the fas-cinating National Museum of Prehistory, with its world-famous collection of prehistoric findings. After a delicious lunch of regional specialties at a local restaurant, we visit a cave with authentic wall paintings dating from the Magdalenian Period. A scenic drive brings us to Souillac, in the heart of the Dordogne valley. The friendly staff at Hotel Pavillon Saint Martin, a charming 16th Century hotel and our base for the next five nights, welcomes us to Souillac with a gas-tronomic dinner.
Day 3: This morning we enjoy free time to discover the village of Souillac. After lunch, we spend the afternoon in the kitchen of La Vieille Auberge, learning the secrets of cooking some famous regional and French classic dishes from our instructor, Chef Robert Véril. Robert is the chef and owner of the hotel and has been prepar-ing traditional French cuisine for 45 years. Dinner to follow based on your efforts.
Day 4: Our day begins with an excursion to the medieval town of Sarlat, the geographical center of Périgord-Quercy and the most important site in the region. Founded in the 9th Century by Duke Pepin of Aquitaine, Sarlat grew to be an important city in the Middle Ages and is today one of the most interesting towns of Dordogne. With no cars on its narrow medieval streets, Sarlat is often used in filmmaking. Sarlat is also known as the capital of foie gras and truffles, so we may have to wander through a few of the most tempting shops. From there, we continue on to Bergerac, one of the most important wine regions in Southwest France. We visit two Bergerac wineries for a tour and tasting before returning to Souillac for a wonderful gastronomic dinner.
Day 5: Our day begins with a drive to the spectacular site of Rocamadour. This incredible ancient ecclesiastical village is built into the side of a mountain and is a fascinating mass of medieval dwellings, oratories, towers, and rocks, all offering a breath-taking view of the Alzou River gorge. Founded in the 7th Century by Saint Amadour, Rocamadour grew to become an important center of medieval Christi-anity. Since the 12th Century, Christians have been coming here on pilgrimages, and there are many stories of miracles occurring here, thanks to the mysterious "Black Madonna." Continuing our drive through the beautiful valley of "le Lot," we enjoy free time for lunch in Cahors, a charming town known for its famous me-dieval bridge, the Pont Valentré. After lunch, we stop at two more wineries for tours and tastings and return to our hotel for a gourmet dinner.
Day 6: Our last day in Souillac begins after breakfast with a visit to a foie gras farm, a farm that breeds ducks for foie gras and other traditional products. After taking advantage of some free time for lunch in Souillac, we will re-group for our second cooking class. Our last dinner in Souillac follows the lesson.
Day 7: This morning we drive west along the Dordogne River toward the Atlantic coast and then head north along the wine road into the Haut Médoc wine region to visit one of the most famous wine châteaux, Château Mouton Rothschild, for a tour and tasting. We then enjoy a gastronomic farewell lunch at the fabulous Château Cordeillan-Bages. The chef Thierry Marx has two Michelin stars. We spend our last evening in Bordeaux.
Day 8: After breakfast you head to the airport for your return flight.
Single supplement available upon request.
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