24 June 2015

Zen and the Art of Provencal Cookery, Part 1

I'm not an ideal traveller. I have anxiety, for starters, much of it focused on planes, the rest on unfamiliar places and situations. That, right there had me telling myself I was better off not going anywhere I couldn't get to via road trip. Besides that, as you can probably tell from this blog, I'm a homebody. I like taking care of my nest, hanging out with my SO and the cats, reading, crafting--all the good stuff. Online shopping is, as far as I'm concerned, the best thing ever.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I just got back from France.

I'm not sure what came over me. I was idly looking at an ad for a culinary tour of Provence, and something inside me just went: I have to go. I'm sure it didn't hurt that I've been dreaming of Provence since forever. And the idea of learning how to cook authentic Provencal cuisine under the tutelage of a French chef didn't suck either.

This photo doesn't do justice to the Provencal countryside (but it was the only one I took because I was too tired to really think straight). I snapped it with my phone from the TGV train on my way to Avignon

So not only did I go to France, I went by myself. The SO, not a foodie, wasn't that interested in joining me (fair enough--someone had to watch our high-maintenance furballs). Everyone else who might have been interested couldn't go for one reason or another. And I realized that if I sat around waiting to live my dreams based on other people's schedules and inclinations, I'd might as well just forget my dreams. So I did my best to ignore the anxiety and went for it.

I didn't go with the group tour I'd originally read about. I figured I'd be better off sorting my own trip out (I never was very good at following someone else's itinerary). After badgering the proprietress of Maison Trevier in Carpentras, Provence, with a thousand questions, I signed up for a six-night stay with five cooking lessons taught by Gina Trevier, a chef formerly of Paris. It was a good choice.

First of all, the house itself--an 18th century manor, was stunning. But more about that in a future post, of which there will be many. 

A couple of shots of my room, just to give you an idea of the beauty of Maison Trevier

Once I arrived, I found out that Gina is "retired" (although she's ridiculously busy for someone supposedly at leisure). Usually, she takes in only the occasional group of food lovers, but it turns out she liked my blogs and decided to make an exception for me and let me visit on my own! I was the only person staying at Maison Trevier that week, and other than the first lesson, which included a lovely family of Americans who were staying in nearby Avignon, my cooking lessons with Gina were all private lessons. If you're thinking that sounds awesome, you're not wrong.

What were the lessons like? What did we cook, and--more importantly--eat? Stay tuned for my next post and all the delicious details. I'll just say that Provence was worth the wait...

Just a taste of what's coming in the next post

Photos ©Whimsy Bower


bella said...

Wow! Private lessons, and your whole visit an exception based on your blog!?! Fantastic.

Aspasia said...

@bella I was totally surprised and still a bit in shock!