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A week at La Cuisine Paris with Le Dolci

See that picture up there ^^ ? It might not mean anything to you but to me, it represents everything I loved about the recent Le Dolci Paris tour I helped organise, whereby 9 ladies from Australia, Canada and the US descended on Paris (many of them for the first time!) and spent a week in the kitchens of La Cuisine Paris learning the ins and outs of French cooking and baking with a remarkable team of international chefs.  But it wasn’t all hard work – in between kitchen time, the ladies enjoyed a lot of free time where they shopped, walked, walked and tasted, biked, ate and drank and were generally very, very merry.  Though I don’t live in Paris anymore, I do sometimes feel like I can take the city where I spent and spend so much time for granted and for me, this trip taught me to see the City of Light differently – through fresh eyes.

And that picture up there ^^^ ? It’s the “moment”. The moment where after about 4 minutes in the oven, macarons begin to develop their characteristic “feet” (the ruffly part on the bottom – you want that!). This happened in the macaron class I taught the Le Dolci group that week in Paris. A class I was nervous to teach. Because even having spent the better part of a month in the kitchens at La Cuisine, it still sometimes didn’t feel like “my” kitchen. Like “my” oven. Also, I was teaching the Italian meringue method for the first time. I’ve made Italian meringue macarons before, with great success.  But teaching them? In a new kitchen? Scary.  All my nerves flew out the window at that 4 minute point in the oven though – as one of our lovely participants, Giovanna, wandered past the oven, peeked in and most emphatically encouraged others to look in the oven too. With her hand on her heart and the glisten of a tear in the corner of an eye, she declared this one of her best moments in the kitchen.  As I stood back and watched everyone else crowd around the oven and look at the feet on their macarons (for most of these ladies, also the first time they had made them), again, I realised that making up to 4 batches of macarons a week had made me a little blasé too. I DO forget about the “magic moment” of the feet appearing and I shouldn’t. It’s really something.

This trip to Paris for these ladies was something many of them had dreamed about for years and watching them discover the city I love so much was a true delight.  Whilst I wasn’t with the group for a few of the activities, I did manage to sneak into the kitchen for each one of their classes and capture some moments on my iPhone.  No, these are not the best photos technically speaking but they do tell a story. A story of a shared love of cooking, baking and – now – of Paris.

On Day 1, the group worked hard in the La Cuisine kitchens learning how to make croissants, pains au chocolat and croissants aux amandes with the lovely Guillemette.

As you can see, “Team Croissant” was pretty happy with their results!  Later that night, we met up for a welcome dinner at Le Procope, reputedly Paris’  oldest café (established in 1686), where many of us enjoyed “real” crème brûlée.

The next day, we were up bright and early for a macaron tour of Paris’ St Germain area (led by me!). We hit up Ladurée, Pierre Hermé, Un Dimanche à Paris and Georges Larnicol.  We tasted the Ladurée and Hermé treats en route (have macarons, must travel with cutting board and knife so one can share!) and brought the rest back to taste at La Cuisine after our macaron class that afternoon.

And the macaron class? A HUGE success! We found our feet!

 Day 3 saw more sweet treats with Emmanuelle at La Cuisine in the choux pastry class. The ladies made chouquettes, éclairs and pastry swans!


So many of the ladies were blown away with how easy this was for such impressive results (sssh!). I foresee many a homemade éclair in their futures!

On the Thursday, the group met at the Marché Bastille on Boulevard Richard Lenoir for a market tour with Chef Eric where they checked out (and purchased) the best of the day’s offerings and headed back to La Cuisine to cook themselves a tasty lunch of salmon, ratatouille and peach/ apricot crumble. Oh, and there was some cheese….

The final day saw the group tackling bread – baguettes, épis and fougasses with Chef Justin.

With AMAZING results…

What an experience, huh?  A week of cooking, baking, and new friendships that went better than Lisa or I could have ever expected.  It’s always a little scary putting strangers together in a group setting for a short, intense period of time but these ladies bonded almost immediately.  You’d never know that most of them only met for the first time that Monday morning at la Cuisine.  The smiles on faces at the final night’s dinner at Pomze told a great story.

Thanks to Jane and Olivier and the whole La Cuisine Paris team for a wonderful week. We learned and had fun – always a great combination!  Thanks ladies for being a great group and thanks to Lisa for helping to make this happen.

For more information on cooking classes in English and French and food-themed walking tours in Paris offered by La Cuisine Paris, check out their website.

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25 Responses to A week at La Cuisine Paris with Le Dolci

  1. Jill @ MadAboutMacarons August 6, 2012 at 03:31 #

    Well done, Mardi! Great to see you had a super time and that so many of you had that “feet” moment. It’s my personal favourite part too and can’t help making the macaron dance at that point. Great to have seen you in Paris and cheers to many more of these classes for you!

  2. Ann Mah August 6, 2012 at 09:58 #

    What a delicious and rewarding week, helping others find their feet! I loved learning your macaron technique in an earlier class at La Cuisine!

  3. Christine Cooper August 6, 2012 at 10:20 #

    Lovely recap Mardi! I consider myself very fortunate to have been in that group of the Paris “sisterhood” and would say to anyone having a look over your post that they might want to consider turning a Paris visit into a true Paris food adventure! I learned so much and enjoyed every single moment of being up to my elbows in flour, sugar, butter and eggs! To those just visiting Paris I would say to you that you should perhaps squeeze a day of being part of a class at La Cuisine. It’ll be among your sweetest memories of Paris! Thanks to all who made this happen for us.

  4. Pamela August 6, 2012 at 11:30 #

    That’s a Wow! I would love join the tour and classes next year. I will check out the website.thanks for sharing Mardi.

  5. Edite August 6, 2012 at 11:45 #

    IBA = I’m blown away! Mardi !! Maybe next summer!

  6. Marina@Picnic at Marina August 6, 2012 at 22:31 #

    I enjoyed reading this post, at some point I felt like I was one of the students too picking in the oven, or catching the moment I should say… :)

  7. Giovanna Comisso August 7, 2012 at 09:33 #

    Mardi, a huge thank you for helping organise this incredible trip !!! You were a huge part of this success: showing us around, bringing us to several kitchen shiops, advising us, always being available to give us directions to metro, restaurants, where to buy certain products etc. The macaron class: “yes,,,we found our feet”,,showing us we can tackle any recipe, anywhere, anyplace,,,because we enjoyed what we were doing under your guidance. We discovered the city together, discovered new passions in ourself and got to meet you. ..thank you and look forward to taking classes from you in the future.

  8. Paula August 8, 2012 at 12:43 #

    How lovely! I’m sure everyone who signed up for this tour was so excited to have been on it and to have made the wonderful creations that they did, not to mention the fabulous memories. Kudos to you, Lisa and everyone at La Cuisine Paris for helping make this such a successful event for everyone.

  9. Angie Southern Kitchen August 8, 2012 at 22:26 #

    I want to come next time!! This sound so amazing put me on the list for the next trip WOW ! I went a few years back and took a class at Le Cordon Bleu, drug my husband kicking and screaming all the way. We both loved and said we would returning and take a class at La Cuisine was on our bucket list!! But over the last few years I now have many, many girl friends that say no way Mr. Fix it is going with you I am…..heee heee will have to see who goes!

  10. Renata August 15, 2012 at 04:54 #

    Sounds like so much fun! I would have loved to be there!!

  11. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction August 16, 2012 at 11:41 #

    Reading your blog while pregnant is kind of dangerous… I am seriously craving some pastries right now. :)

  12. Chocolate Shavings August 18, 2012 at 07:33 #

    Loved reading about your Paris adventures Mardi!

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