Lynette Arblaster and Chef René Bérard in the Kitchen
A cookery lesson at Hostellerie Berard
Chef René Bérard in his Herb Garden at the Bastide des Saveurs
La Cadière d'Azur
Cooking in Provence
On all Arblaster & Clarke Tours local food and how it is combined with the wines is important, but on this gourmet holiday in southern France, food takes centre stage! Our Cooking in Provence tour consists of four days of cooking lessons led by Michelin Starred Chef René Bérard. The tour includes visits to a local winery, olive oil mill, apiculturist and market, as well as five gourmet meals with wines. For us ‘gourmet tours’ do not just mean gastronomic ‘high class’ restaurants, it can equally be excellent fresh local produce prepared in a traditional way.
Hostellerie Bérard is situated in La Cadière-d’Azur; a small medieval French hamlet perched on top of a rolling landscape, above the renowned Bandol Vineyards. This is a quintessentially Provençal village whose winding and narrow flower-filled streets create an unspoilt haven in busy southern France.
The hotel is an eclectic jigsaw of buildings nestled into the hillside and is steeped in history, for example one part was an ancient convent. Another, ‘Les Remparts’, formed ancient battlements. Each room is decorated with an individual style, although the Provençal theme runs naturally through the entire place. There’s a choice of two restaurants, a Brasserie with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and an elegant Michelin star Gastronomic Restaurant. There is also a new Thermal Spa, including a relaxation pool and a Hammam, as well as spa treatments available.
Throughout your stay, you’ll experience the essence of ‘Provence’, centred around the cooking course, which is spread over 5 days. The course is led by a Michelin starred chef, René Bérard, and will leave you with a great understanding of the real philosophy that lies behind Provençal Cuisine. Chef Bérard has an enthusiasm to communicate a lifelong passion for food that is truly inspiring. This is a hands-on participatory cooking course and you will be cooking in the kitchen with Chef Bérard creating a new menu each day. Although what you will be cooking depends entirely on what is fresh on the market at the time, here is a sample menu of a few dishes you may be cooking:
Aioli Traditional provençal sauce made of garlic, olive oil, and egg.
Noisettes d’agneau rotie a l‘àil vert, en croute de pistache Roasted lamb with garlic and a pistachio crust.
Fougasse à la compôte d’oignons parfumee au laurier Typical provençal flatbread with an onion compote, perfumed with aromatic bay leaf
Râble de lapereau Saddle of rabbit
Barigoule d’Artichauts Violets Blanched Purple Artichokes filled with chopped ham and herbs, wrapped in salt pork fat and braised in white wine
Croustillant au miel d’acacia Acacia Honey Biscuits
Tarte aux pommes caramélisées Caramelised apple tart
The cooking classes take place at the family’s 16th century farmhouse where you will learn true Provençal cooking, with all the little techniques and tips you could expect from a Michelin starred chef. The rustic farmhouse kitchen looks out onto a fantastically organised garden where Chef Bérard grows all his own vegetables and herbs. Taking a tour of the beautifully scented garden, he will show you how to choose the perfect vegetables, and how to marry the right ingredients together to create a dish that rings true of the sunshine filled flavours of Provence.
You’ll enjoy lunch from the dishes that you create in the morning with Chef Bérard, with afternoons spent visiting the gastronomic points of interests in the surrounding area. Visits to an olive oil mill, a winery (Chef Bérard’s personal favourite) and an Apiculturist, (to learn about bees and honey) will give you an all-encompassing understanding of the gastronomy of Provence. On market day, Chef Bérard will accompany you to shop in the flurry of noise, colour and scents that is a typical French market. You’ll notice how he makes his choices to carefully select the best that is on offer.
Day 1. Sunday: Transfer from the nearest airport, which is Marseilles to meet your chosen flight. It’s approximately a 30 minute journey from the airport to the hotel. Michelin star Dinner with wines.
Day 2. Monday: Morning cookery lesson, lunch. Afternoon visit to an apiculturist. Free time in the evening, La Cadière-d’Azur.
Day 3. Tuesday: Morning cookery lesson, lunch. Afternoon’s visit to an olive oil mill. Free time in the evening, La Cadière-d’Azur.
Day 4. Wednesday: Morning cookery lesson, lunch. Afternoon’s visit to a winery. Free time in the evening, La Cadière-d’Azur.
Day 5. Thursday: Morning spent at the market, with a cookery lesson on return to the farmhouse. Free time in the afternoon and evening, La Cadière-d’Azur.
Day 6. Friday: Leisurely Breakfast. Transfer to Marseilles airport to meet your chosen flight.
|Dates Available | Sunday – Friday||Hotel Details||Travel Details|
|April: 7 – 12 & 21 – 26.
May: 12 – 17 & 26 – 31.
June: 9 – 14 & 23 – 28.
July: 7 – 12.
September: 8 – 13 & 22 – 27.
October: 6 – 11 & 20 – 25.
November: 3 – 8. .
|3* Hotel, La Cadière-d’Azur
This is a stunningly situated 3* hotel, proudly family run and full of local character housed in several ancient buildings, including a former convent. There is an attractive pool (which will only be open if the weather has been good leading up to the date) and two restaurants, with the brasserie doubling as the bar. The standard rooms are small but pretty. Larger rooms with panoramic views are available for an upgrade. There is no lift and there are many steps to the different levels of the hotel (we do not recommend this tour for anyone who finds stairs difficult to manage).
|Flights are NOT included on this tour in order to give you total flexibility of arrival date, which airline you would prefer and where you would like to fly from. We are very happy to quote on the main scheduled airlines, and to book these for you (the full price of the flight will be payable in order to book these and is non-refundable and non changeable). We are unable to book the low cost airlines.
We will organise an airport transfer from Marseilles Airport to meet your flight and a return transfer for your departure.
• 5 nights in standard double/twin rooms, 3* hotel (superior rooms available on request), buffet style breakfasts.
• 5 meals as described in the itinerary, half a bottle of wine per person, coffee and water is included (but no other drinks).
• 4 days of cooking lessons.
• 3 afternoons and 1 morning of visits as part of the cookery course (olive oil mill, winery, apiculturist and market)
• 1 hour’s access to the Thermal Spa (subject to availability).
• Recipe Booklet & Diploma Award.
• A bi-lingual translator for the cookery courses, visits & lunches.
• Transfer to and from the Airport to the hotel on the first and last days of the tour.