French dessert and pastry cookery holiday

Loire Valley, Loire Valley, France

7 days from
per person

Holiday Itinerary

If you are looking for an authentic French culinary experience that is hands on and full of variety, but you have more of a sweet tooth, look no further! This decadent 6 night pastry and dessert cookery course will cover everything from eclairs to croissants and everything in between.

With 36 hours of hands-on cooking and demonstration, this sweet adventure leaves nothing out. From sorbets and ice cream to chocolates and macarons, outdoor markets, regional wine and even a dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant, each day promises a new foodie experience.

You’ll be guided on your dessert adventure by two qualified and award winning chefs, Alison and Sidney, whose passion for creating incredible dishes using local, seasonal produce, will teach you not only how to cook, but how to fall in love with cooking, and all of the rewarding results that come with it.

This husband and wife team, who met in Swaziland, have worked all over the world as groundbreaking, innovative chefs. Sidney was Captain of The British Craft Guild Team for 2000/2001 when they achieved a record medal total, and both have been recognised for their medals obtained at international levels as well as having cooked for heads of State and celebrities. We figured if they’re good enough for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, they’re good enough for you!

You’ll enjoy 6 nights in one of two 4 star hotels located within walking distance of the cooking school, and each has been renovated to have every modern convenience while retaining its old French charm. Your hosts will be happy to pick you up before your lesson, although many guests find the walk enjoyable or use a bicycle throughout their stay. Located in the quiet hamlet, it’s lovely to explore on foot and each has a swimming pool to relax in during your free time.

Do not be intimidated! This is a wonderful holiday perfect for any level and you will learn a vast range of skills to take home in just the one week you spend with Sidney and Alison.

Who is it suitable for?
- Suitable for all levels from beginner to advanced cooks
- Minimum age 18 (under 18s accepted if accompanied by an adult)
- All classes are taught in English
- Please note that although your hosts can cater to vegetarians, they unfortunately cannot accept vegans, celiac or lactose intolerant guests

When can I start?
- Course arrival days are on Sunday

Typical itinerary
Day 1 - Arrival
 - Arrive in the afternoon, check in and get settled in to your accommodation
- 7pm: Enjoy a welcome champagne cocktail and the opportunity to meet fellow guests along with your hosts during a ‘Taste of the Loire Valley’ buffet

Day 2
- This morning you'll jump right into your pastry adventure and master choux pastry and ‘pâté à sable Breton’, both will play an important role in the pastries and dessert you prepare this week
- You’ll prepare the bases and fillings for your tarts, eclairs and profiteroles
- Lunch will be French artisanal cheeses, charcuterie and baked bread fresh from the oven
- This afternoon, you'll use the pastry prepared in the morning to create some classic, but impressive desserts with a contemporary twist:
Tarte Crème Brulee
Tarte Chocolat et Caramel
Tarte au Citron
Trio of Exotic Eclairs
- From 5pm, there is some free time before dinner
- Dinner tonight will be Sidney’s paella around the fire

Day 3
- This morning you’ll learn the art of sorbet, ice cream and frozen desserts, all which will enable you to present restaurant style desserts with ease
- You will also prepare Alison’s ‘Iced Passion Josephine’ - a passion fruit and mango dessert created to honour Napoleon Bonaparte’s love for Josephine
- Lunch will be in a traditional local bistro, with a typical French-style workers’ lunch
-The afternoon will focus on the following baking classics:
Tomato Bread and Coarse Salt Bread
- From 5pm, there is some free time before dinner
- Return to the cooking school for a wine and chocolate pairing session
- Dinner this evening is a demonstration of Sidney’s latest main course creation and one of the desserts prepared by the class

Day 4
- This morning you will head out to Tours’ best bakery to pick out breakfast
- As Wednesday is market day, today you’ll be able to explore both the indoor ‘Les Halles Food Market’ and the twice weekly outdoor market
- Take some time out today to walk the medieval streets, take in some history and culture, or just find a cafe and people watch, it is up to you
- Lunch today will be a traditional French lunch at the farmhouse, prepared by Chef Alison
- In the afternoon, you'll explore chocolates and couvertures from around the world as well as learn the art of chocolate making, which will includes:
Tempering, ganache and moulding plus a chocolate creation that is designed to impress

Day 5
- This morning you will prepare and make:
The Classic Tarte Tatin
Fresh Fruit Mousses and Crèmes
Fresh Fruit Jellies
Italian, Swiss and French Meringue

- Lunch will consist of a classic Bistro style menu
- In the afternoon, you’ll learn the art of macarons
- Alison will share with you her passion for creating and preparing one of the world’s most sought after classics, the macaron, both classical and with a new twist
- Dinner this evening will be Sidney’s authentic Zulu BBQ

Day 6
- Today you'll learn to create garnishes that will enhance and ensure that your desserts are a feast for the eye, this will include tuille work and sugarcraft
- Lunch will be an authentic Chef Sidney creation
- In the afternoon, you'll focus on:
Alison’s Soufflé of the Moment
The Art of Dessert Presentation

- At 19:30, there will be a certificate presentation and champagne at the farmhouse, and tonight you dine with Michelin Starred Jacky Dallay at the renowned Promenade Restaurant in Le Petit Pressigny

Day 7
- Enjoy breakfast before your departure by 11am

What will I learn?
- Bases and fillings for eclairs, profiteroles and tarts
- Sorbets, ice cream and frozen desserts
- Brulees
- Brioche
- Crescents
- Wine and chocolate pairing/tasting
- Tempering, ganache and moulding
- The Classic Tarte Tatin
- Fresh fruit mousses and crèmes
- Fresh fruit jellies
- Italian, Swiss and French Meringue
- Macarons
- Tuille work and sugarcraft
- Alison’s Soufflé of the Moment
- Croquembouche
- The art of dessert presentation

Where will I be staying?
- You will be staying in one of two 4 star hotels located just a few minutes walk from the cooking school (transfers are provided if needed)
- The hotels are set in a tranquil hamlet with access to lovely cafes, historical buildings, a great spa, and great rural walks
- Each hotel offers single, twin or double ensuite rooms, with air conditioning, TV and internet with classic decor
- All bedrooms are fully air conditioned and have an ensuite bathroom with a shower
- Both hotels have swimming pools for you to enjoy, along with delicious buffet breakfasts every morning
- Both have a bar and restaurant on site as well as lovely common areas inside and out
- Accommodation is included for 6 nights / 7 days
- Check in anytime after 2pm on day 1 and check out by 11am on day 7
- If you want to stay for extra days in the accommodation, you are welcome and an additional day cooking class can also be added, just email or call us to chat through what you’d like to do – we’ll be happy to help

Restricted mobility access
Please find below some information regarding the accommodation and location of the holiday which may be useful when deciding if this is the right holiday for you; should you have an further questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help
- We generally do not recommend this location for those with restricted mobility, as the hotels aren't equipped
- The holiday is based in a village with cobbled, uneven streets

Are meals included?
All meals are included on your holiday, as well as wine with dinner

- Breakfast is inclusive of freshly baked pastries, home-made confitures, local artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, muesli, cereals, yogurts, freshly squeezed juices, seasonal fruits, eggs to order, coffee and tea

Lunch and dinner
- Some meals may be in restaurants, such as a meal at a Michelin star restaurant during the week, however, when dining at the cooking school, the menu is adjusted according to season and the best available locally sourced products will only be used
- Please note that vegetarians will follow the normal cooking classes but your hosts ensure they are catered for at meal times
- This holiday isn’t the right match for vegans, celiac and lactose intolerant guests

What can I do in my free time?
- The countryside is a great place to get out an explore; whether you hit a cafe, people watch, or take a dip in the pool or river
- Feel free to borrow a bicycle, walk the riverside, or book yourself a treatment at the local spa