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Calphalon – not just great cookware!

In the culinary alphabet, C is for… cookware, Corelle, (Le) Creuset, Cuisinart, CucinaPro and Calphalon. But did you know that Calphalon is more than just great cookware?

Sometime last year, I won a gift certificate for a cooking demo class at the Calphalon Culinary Centre in Toronto. It just goes to show how crazy my life has been that I only found the time to use it last week!  Now don’t get me wrong, I would be at a Calphalon class every week if I had the time, their offerings are interesting and varied:

Demo classes teach tips and techniques to use in your own kitchen. Taught by a professional chef, each class offers a three course menu demonstrated by the chef step by step, before your very eyes. You get to sample each dish the chef prepares and leave with the recipes and knowledge you need to make them at home!
Hands on classes work in a beautifully outfitted kitchen with twelve cooking stations and all the cookware, utensils, and accessories you need.  Students prepare an entire menu from start to finish, and enjoy the fruits of their labour afterwards!
Specialty classes (workshops and shopping excursions) allow you to explore a chosen culinary focus in more depth.  From classes that help you master the classics, to educational excursions to local markets shopping for the freshest staples and rare ingredients, these are all-encompassing foodie experiences.
Wine Classes at the Calphalon Culinary Center include wine basics, regional varieties, wine and food pairings, and much more. Classes feature 4-7 new wines, and a professional wine consultant as Guest Speaker.

(information adapted from the Calphalon website)

Calphalon has a culinary centre in Chicago as well – if you live there or are visiting, be sure to check their calendar.

I chose to attend the Parisian Pleasures demo class with Neil,  since I am desperately missing Paris in the summer and any way I can even remotely pretend I am there will do for right now…

We arrived at 6.oo sharp and ordered some wine. It’s very civilised!

And the chef prepared a “small snack” for us to tide us over until the salad was ready.  Most people had salmon, chef prepared a special asparagus plate for me.

 

And yes, that’s a “small snack” :-O

The first item on the menu was an Endive and Pear Salad with Bacon-Roquefort Vinaigrette.  A fabulous combination of sweet and savoury – this salad was Paris all over.

Even though each recipe had a “featured” Calphalon product, it was not a big hard sell like the free demo class I recently attended at Williams Sonoma was. I found this a refreshing change. Great products speak for themselves, right?

The main course was a classic – steak-frites

LOVED this!  Perfectly cooked steak. Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside frites and lovely green beans. Vive le steak-frites!

For dessert? What’s more classic than a crème brûlée?

I enjoyed the flavours of this a lot, but prefer my crème brûlées to be in a slightly more shallow dish. The taste, however, was spot on.

(All recipes courtesy of Calphalon)

Neil and I thoroughly enjoyed this demonstration.  Not sure we learned a lot as I find it’s hard to learn when you’re just watching – I am more of a hands-on type – but it was lovely to sit back and let someone else cook a French-inspired meal and enjoy a glass of wine at the same time.  After the demo, we went shopping in the store (bien sûr!) where I spent a good portion of my generous birthday gift certificate Whilst we most certainly did not leave empty-handed, we did leave a few items on the shelves that we *really* wanted…

Shortly afterwards, I was contacted by CSN stores who, after generously supplying me with a gorgeous item for my first ever giveaway back in December, wondered if I might like a product for review.  Both Neil and I spent a long time debating what we actually needed versus what we wanted.  I vaguely toyed with the idea of new dinnerware, but we ended up choosing something that we very nearly bought at Calphalon that night – a smaller stock pot than our gigantic one that is just not very practical for everyday use.  I am so excited to test drive this gorgeous piece from Le Creuset:

The Le Creuset 8-Quart Stock Pot in Cobalt :-)

At George Brown Chef School, Neil and I always covet the stock pots that are the perfect size for chilis and hearty winter stews and we drooled over a gorgeous stock pot at Calphalon on the night of the demo.  Unfortunately, my birthday gift certificate couldn’t stretch that far so this opportunity to try out a brand I don’t own one single piece of (the shame!) came along just at the right time.  This will come in very handy during the busy first term at school when making large batches of sauces, stews and soups is a life-saver!  You can expect a review sometime in the next month or so :-)

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24 Responses to Calphalon – not just great cookware!

  1. Jason Phelps July 23, 2010 at 07:35 #

    That definitely sounds fun!

    Jason

  2. Tonya @ What's On My Plate July 23, 2010 at 07:51 #

    You don’t own any Le Creuset? The shame! I love that stuff. I also love my imitation Le Creuset from Target that Cook’s Illustrated voted as being as good as Le Creuset (although I can’t find it on the site anymore).

  3. Suzie the Foodie July 23, 2010 at 08:07 #

    How I envy you getting to go to that class, I am so glad that you finally went! And fantastic choice for doing the product review, can not wait to read it and see what you think. LOVE the colour! And totally perfect for fall cooking.

  4. Belinda @zomppa July 23, 2010 at 08:14 #

    What a great gift! That “appetizer” is ridiculous. Glad you had fun – have fun test driving that…it is NICE!

  5. Mr. Neil July 23, 2010 at 08:57 #

    Yes, the fact we have no Le Creuset or Staub in our kitchen has always caused grief.

    Our cookware is a bit of a mash-up: Paderno (I’ve had pieces of the Classic collection for years, and loved – we recently upgraded), Cuisinart, Calphalon. The LC Dutch Oven is what I really want. ;-)

    The Calphalon demo classes really are good fun – if a tad overpriced.

  6. Jennifer July 23, 2010 at 10:34 #

    This all looks so good! My mouth is watering. Isn’t CSN stores great! Can’t wait to get my newest kitchen addition >:)

  7. penny aka jeroxie July 23, 2010 at 11:11 #

    Awesome! What a great gift…. I will be super happy too.

  8. Barbara Bakes July 23, 2010 at 12:02 #

    Looks like a great way to spend a day. I’d love that pot too. I’m planning on buy some brulee dishes soon, so I’ll look for some shallow ones.

  9. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction July 23, 2010 at 16:55 #

    Sounds like a great class and everything looks lovely! I’ve been looking into classes around here, but there’s really not much in this area. Maybe I’ll just have to travel to Toronto :)

  10. Liana July 23, 2010 at 19:31 #

    Soooo looks like you get an earlier Christmas than the rest of us, eh? I have a great homemade soup recipe for your new present! Nothing warms me up quite like it in the winter time…

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 25, 2010 at 07:52 #

      I can’t wait to try it out. Our stockpot is humumgous so we rarely drag it out – this is the perfect size!

  11. Mary July 24, 2010 at 10:35 #

    What a great class. Your photos of the food are just amazing. This is my first visit to your blog, but I’ll be back often. I hope the day treats you well. Blessings…Mary

  12. fooddreamer July 24, 2010 at 20:23 #

    Sounds so fun! And delicious.

  13. Cat July 29, 2010 at 16:10 #

    hey, i like what you chose! definitely better than the waterford crystal heart i was picking out for you when cruising their website. ;)

  14. YJ April 7, 2011 at 23:23 #

    OMG! I worked here!!! love Calphalon!!!

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