Regional Cooking and Food in Southwest France
May 13 - 18, 2024
September 10 - 15, 2024
Attendees are responsible for arranging their own transportation to Rodez. There, at the airport or train station or other location of their choosing, they will be met by someone from the program who will drive them to the Chateau.
Once you have been shown to your room, you are encouraged to make yourself at home, start to relax and enjoy the surroundings of the historic Chateau de Balsac. The Chateau has been renovated with modern conveniences for your comfort, and is set in a spacious park that includes a classic French garden, swimming pool, hot tub, and friendly goats.
You will be serviced a light lunch prepared with local ingredients. We will take this time to introduce everyone, review the itinerary, answer any questions and discuss the week ahead.
In the late afternoon, you will begin your first cooking class in the chateau's kitchen. the evening ends with enjoying the food you have prepared with some local wines.
Breakfast at the Chateau – Chateau breakfasts are sumptuous and typically include your choice of fruit, croissants, bread, home-made jams, eggs from the chateau's chickens, and more.
Educational Visit – We will tour a local sheep farm—La Ferme des Vezenies—that produces the milk used to make Roquefort and other cheeses. End with a tasting of tome, Roquefort and blue.
Village Walk – Salles la Source is a quaint hillside village where water that has traveled dozens of kilometers underground makes its appearance in a dramatic waterfall.
Plein-Air Tasting Picnic – St Jean Le Froid with host Fabienne Celard, cheesemaker and author. Sample while learning about local cheeses, wines and artisanal charcuterie.
Return to Chateau for a rest before the afternoon's cooking class.
Cooking class and wine pairing with chef Adrien Lacaze
“Adrien has trained with several award-winning chefs in France including François Adamski, Cyril Lignac, and Christopher Hache. That experience enabled him to refine his techniques and master his craft. World travel and a trip to Japan inspired Adrien to broaden his palate beyond France, leading him to start Chef At Home, an activity that creates intimate culinary experiences for small groups”.
Dinner at the Chateau
EARLY MORNING Abbreviated Breakfast Snack at the Chateau
Start the day with an accompanied visit to the Rodez Farmers Market, followed by a cooking class at L'Auberge du Château led by renowned chef Marc Cordy. You will work in his professional kitchen and enjoy your creations afterwards.
“Marc has made it a point of honor for years to offer his customers gourmet, original cuisine, specially made from fresh, seasonal and local products.”
The Michelin Guide on Marc Cordy, chef and owner of L'Auberge du Château:
“…This place is well known to gourmets, who enjoy cuisine that gives priority to herbs, freshness and organic products…the chef doesn’t compromise! Plates are full of colors and favors.”
Relax at the Château; explore the countryside on foot or by bike.
Light Dinner at the Chateau
Breakfast at the Château
Drive to Conques, a stunning medieval village that is on the famous St. Jacques pilgrim route
Guided tour of the ancient Abbey and its Treasure
Dinner at Le Suquet, a family restaurant in the vast Aubrac Plateau. Michel Bras learned how to cook from his mother who ran a small restaurant, but also from the land where he grew up. During his long career he has won many prestigious awards and accolades around the world. Recently, Michel passed the reins of his kitchen to his son Sebastian who is faithful to his father's heritage but brings his own sensibilities.
The Michelin Guide’s point of view: Two Stars -- excellent cooking
“The chef draws ingredients (flowers, herbs, vegetables) from his natural surroundings and his own gardens, before showcasing them on the plate. The flavors come thick and fast; the emotion often sneaks up on you, and you can almost hear the earth sing as you tuck into certain dishes.”
Optional cooking class: Brunch à la française
Late morning Brunch
Visit the Soulages Museum; guided tour
Attend the cooking class at the Café Bras with expert chef Christophe Chaillou.
“The participatory classes allow you to learn recipes, techniques, cooking tips and tricks while using seasonal foods, surrounded by the good humor and the expertise of a passionate chef.”
“Christophe is originally from Vendée. After working in the kitchens of Suquet in Laguiole, with Michel and Sébastien Bras for several seasons, he taught cooking for fifteen years. He married an Aveyronnaise, Pascale, who works with him in the dining room.
Relax at the Chateau
Breakfast at the Chateau
Option to stay overnight at the Chateau