In the Cook's Atelier

France Tour 2012 Day Eight
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Lunch in the Atelier

Wednesday is mini-market day in Beaune, and we drove over from Meursault for our cooking class with Marjorie Taylor. We met at the Hess cheese shop to begin our day. Marjorie, a former pastry chef and restaurant entrepreneur, followed her daughter Kendall to France. Kendall, studied French, Art History and viticulture and has lived in France for over 10 years. When Marjorie came over in 2008, they created The Cook's Atelier to share their love of food and wine and all things French.

Marjorie and Tina with the perfect tart crust


George and Jim working on the gougères

We found them while looking for a cooking class, but they do so much more! They have their own garden at Kendall's home, Clos de la Cozanne, and can often be found experimenting with new recipes and ingredients. Their philosophy centers on family, and cooking, and eating tasty healthy food is a part of their family traditions. Check out their story at www.thecooksatelier.com.

Karla cutting carrots

Susan and Jim testing their knives

George scoring the duck breast

Marjorie told us her story of settling in France while introducing us to some of her favorite vendors, including the cheese merchant and the produce farmer at the market, as she shopped for our class. She picked up fresh asparagus, radishes, arugula and berries. Her flat, and where she conducts cooking classes, is right around the corner from the market.

We headed over there and began with, of course, dessert. For the gluten eaters in the group, a wonderful apricot tart was on the menu.  Marjorie had mixed up the dough for the tart shell the day before, and Tina rolled it out for placing in the tart pan.  George and Jim got their hands dirty grating cheese and mixing the batter for the gougère, basically a French cheese puff but more tasty than any we had eaten before. Liz and Tina formed the gougère in perfect puffs for baking.  Susan and Karla cut vegetables to be roasted or sautéed, and Susan, George and Jim prepped three enormous duck breasts by scoring the fat side of the breast by making slices in the fat in a criss-cross pattern. The duck was then browned skin side down to render the fat  Marjorie finished them off in the oven while we were enjoying our first course. By then it was time to prepare the apricots for the tart. A very simple preparation with vanilla bean and sugar allowed the taste of the apricots to dominate the dessert.

The duck

After all that work, we were ushered to the table to begin our lunch. The gougère came first, paired with a lovely sparkling wine from the Bourgogne region.  Next, we had a spring salad of blanched white and green asparagus, arugula, San Daniele ham and a soft cooked egg. Kendall picked out a clean white wine to drink with the salad. Our main course of duck breast and spring vegetables was delicious - fresh ingredients simply prepared, with no sauces or spices to mask the flavors.  Kendall served a red Bourgogne wine with the duck breast. The apricot tart finished the meal for the gluten crowd, while the non-gluten eaters dined on fresh berries. We were then charmed by Luc, Kendall's one year old son.

Hospices de Beaune

We then took time to wander the streets of Beaune.  Some shopped for wine and souvenirs, while others visited the Hospices de Beaune, a museum originally constructed in the 1400's by chancellor of Bourgogne, who wanted to speed his way into heaven, as a hospital for the poor and needy. We returned to the villa for a quiet evening enjoying some of the wines and snacks we picked up on our adventures.

Shopping in Beaune


 

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