Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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Loire Valley, France - 6 nights
Available March to July, September - Sunday to Saturday


For those who are interested in learning to cook in the Loire Valley of France, from two very qualified and award winning chefs, this exciting cooking vacation is for you! Your seven hands on cooking classes during your six night stay are taught in English in a traditional French farmhouse kitchen. You will learn French cuisine but with a twist, using exotic flavors from around the globe. Your culinary holiday will also include visits to local areas of interest as well as a wine and chocolate tasting. 


Depending on availability, your accommodation for the week will be at either a lovely renovated 18th century Manor house in a quaint village, located just a few minutes from the cooking school, or at a charming 4 star hotel, also close to the school. Transport is included so a rental car is not at all necessary.


After this cooking adventure there will be no doubt that you have more confidence in the kitchen, having been taught by 2 professional chefs who have cooked for celebrities, heads of state and even her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II! 



Day one - Sunday


Arrival from 2:00pm. Settle into your home for the week and get acquainted with your surroundings.


Tonight around 7pm your hosts will welcome you with an aperitif followed by a "Taste of the Loire Valley" buffet. You will have the opportunity to meet and get to know the other guests on the course.  


Welcome to France!




Day Two - MONday


Following a traditional French breakfast at 9am, for your first morning of cooking you will be taught the art of butchering, cooking and working with poultry and duck. These dishes are simplified and easy for you to prepare back home in your own kitchen.

  • The art of butchering, cooking and working with poultry and duck
  • Fricasse of Guinea Fowl with Morrels and a Touraine Sauce
  • Seasonal Duck Dish
  • Pommes Fondantes, Dauphinoises/Seasonal Vegetable dish


Following lunch, your journey into the pastry kitchen begins. This afternoon you will enter the world of Macarons with a hands-on class in creating and preparing this French delicacy.


Exotic Chocolate Macaron & Seasonal Macaron Creation


Leisure time until dinner at 7:30pm where we will enjoy a dinner demonstration.



Day three - TUESday


Traditional French Breakfast at 8:30am


After breakfast you are taken to the renowned Chateau Chenonceau where you have the morning to explore Chenonceau at your leisure.

Property of the Crown, then royal residence, Chenonceau Castle is an exceptional site not only because of its original design, the richness of its collections, its furniture and its decorations, but also because of its destiny, was loved, administrated and protected by women, who were all extraordinary and who, for the most part have marked history.



For the historical background, the “Château des Dames” was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers then Catherine de Medici. Chenonceau was protected from the hardship of the revolution by Madame Dupin.



At 12:30pm, you will have lunch in a charming restaurant set in the gardens of Château Chenonceau. We head back to the School after lunch where you will master choux pastry and participate in a fun hands-on cooking class of Profiteroles, Tuiles and Sugar Garnishes.


Leisure time until dinner.


We return to the school for dinner at 7pm. 




Day Four - Wednesday


This morning we depart early to visit the historical city of Tours where you will have a traditional French breakfast in a little market coffee shop. You explore both the indoor ‘Les Halles’ food market and the twice weekly outdoor market. You will visit the old town which clusters around place Plumereau well known for its old houses restored to their former glory. Today this is the place for pavement cafes and people watching in the summer but stroll the smaller, narrow streets like rue Briconnet and you step back into the historic medieval city. 


Not far from Place Plumereau, we visit the Cathédrale St-Gatien, a flamboyant Gothic building with 12th-century decorated stonework covering the outside. Inside the highlights are the 16th-century tomb of Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne’s two children, and the stained glass.


We return to the school for a traditional French lunch. 


At 2pm you explore the world of chocolate including tempering, classic mousse au chocolat and a chocolate creation designed to impress.


Leisure time till dinner. Tonight we take you on a fine dining experience.


Day five - THURSday


This morning at 4am, a fish delivery will have arrived off the boats that came in late the previous night at the Atlantic port of La Rochelle. You will be taught what the best catch is for each season and how to identify your fish and how to ensure it is fresh. The day will include techniques of preparing your fish, including: 

  • Fruits of the Sea creation
  • Preparing and working with Mussels, fresh from the Atlantic coast
  • Preparing a seasonal Fish course using the Fresh Ocean catch of The Day


This afternoon you can relax or explore the area, cycle, walk along the river, play boules in the village square, or why not spoil yourself to a relaxing massage, or spa treatment at La Roche Posay’s renowned spa.


Around 7pm we return to the cooking school for a tasting of Loire Valley wines and French chocolates followed by dinner.



Day Six - FRIday


After another traditional French breakfast you enter the world of Soufflés and Bread Baking.


As you are staying in an area where what is known as the best goat’s cheese in the world, St Maures AOC is produced you will participate in making a Goat’s Cheese Soufflé, followed by a lesson in French bread baking.


Enjoy lunch in the Orchard and in the afternoon, using local and fresh ingredients you are taken on a journey of Smoke, Fire and Spice.


You will also start preparing for the South African Barbeque while learning some of the most exotic dishes from the African continent. You will be presented with a certificate of completion with champagne!


For your farewell dinner, tonight you will enjoy the South African Barbeque   





Breakfast followed by departure by 11am 


*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc. Menus are samples and may vary according to the season






A minimum of 1 participant is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 8 participants.


(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)





Closest Airport/Train Stations:

Paris Charles de Gaulle & Orly airports are all within an hour and a half by train to Châtellerault, Tours or Poitiers train stations, from where you will be transferred. Transfer free of charge from Châtellerault. Transfers from Tours & Poitiers train station are not free of charge, but can be arranged. 




For further inquiries or to register, click here.

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Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.






Furnished upon request. 


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This exciting region is depicted below. You can also access Google MapsTM by clicking HERE



*In some cases mapping may give clients a general sense of location due to changes in venue. Please inquire about specific location.

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Hi Jo-Ann - We wanted to let you know that we had an AMAZING time at the cooking school. My mother and I could not have had a better time. Paola and Simonetta were such wonderful hosts and teachers. We were treated like family. The house and property were beautiful. The hands-on cooking classes were so much fun...we learned so many great recipes that I cannot wait to test on my friends back home. I will definitely be recommending this experience to all of my friends and colleagues. Thank you so much for all of your help in setting up this once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation. It is something neither one of us will ever forget!


Best, Erin S. and Flor V.,
New York, New York

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