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As seen in Transitions Abroad Magazine July/August 2007
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Cooking Vacations in France

Cooking in the City of Light

Travelers of All Ages Learn Elegant Home Cooking in Paris, France

Victoria Cooksey with Muriel-Marguerite Foucher
The author (left) with Muriel-Marguerite Foucher, the owner of Marguerite’s Elegant Cooking.

While recently solo traveling in Paris, France I had the pleasure of participating in a French cooking class through Marguerite’s Elegant Home Cooking. Attending a cooking class is a great way to take time out from being lonely, meet new friends, and learn new skills all at once. Just a few extra euros covers the cost of a market visit before the class.

Muriel-Marguerite Foucher’s website lists a full year’s worth of available cooking class schedules. Her cooking stations accommodate eight participants, and special group classes may also be arranged.

On the day I attended the class the recipes included papillotes vertes de cabillaud au gingembre, croustillants au sesame, and crème au Muscat (cod fish marinated in white wine, lime, and ginger then cooked in cabbage leaves and sesame cookies with pistachios and a Muscat wine cream with grapes dipped in caramel sauce as a garnish).

My group included two women friends traveling together; a family group of a mother, father, 13-year-old son, and a 16-year-old daughter; and a woman who was living in Paris while her daughter studied French. Our tour of the open air market at Neuilly lasted an hour and included information about the quality ratings classifications for produce, meats, and cheeses; how to tell which ingredients are the freshest, and even a few tasty samples of fruit and vegetables.

Following the tour we traveled to Muriel-Marguerite’s home to begin cooking, two people per station. Everyone received personal attention and easy to follow instructions, along with a printed copy of each recipe. As a bonus, at the end no one had to worry about washing the dishes.

We enjoyed our delicious lunch (wine provided by Muriel-Marguerite) in Muriel-Marguerite’s dining room. Her 13-year-old son was home from school over his lunch break, so the younger participants of the class had someone their age to relate to.

We were also able to ask Muriel-Marguerite questions about French customs and even received some tasty recommendations for restaurants.

From start to finish the market tour, cooking, and dining lasted 5 1/2 hours, which cost €110 (about $150). Muriel-Marguerite speaks both French and English, so all the information provided is easy to understand. I would recommend this class for travelers of any age. For more information, contact: 011-33-1-42-04-74-00 or www.elegantcooking.com.

Bon appetit!