Whenever I travel, some of the first things I seek out in the places I visit are the markets. Especially in a place like Paris, it pays to do your research before you leave so you don’t miss the market days in the various neighbourhoods (you can read about some of my favourite Paris markets in an article I wrote for Food Network Canada here). The fact that I am often renting apartments with kitchens when I travel these days means that I can actually buy produce and cook with it, which makes it all the more fun. I know I’ve been frustrated on trips when I am not staying in a place with a kitchen and I visit local markets – all that looking but with no ability to buy/ store/ cook with the local foods !
But here’s some good news for those of you visiting Paris with that same dilemma! How about not just visiting a market but visiting one with a chef who can talk you through the shopping process (and help you if you don’t speak French)? How about actually shopping with that chef and taking your goodies back to a gorgeous kitchen on the banks of the Seine and cooking up a gorgeous, restaurant-quality meal, then sitting down to enjoy it together. With wine?! Well then you should definitely check out the Evening Market Class at Marché Baudoyer with La Cuisine Paris.
I joined the tour/ class one warm July afternoon with a group of around 10 others of varied nationalities. After a quick survey to see what foods people didn’t/ couldn’t eat, Chef Eric led us through the Marché Baudoyer in the 4th arrondissement, pointing out what was in season, what looked particularly good that day and explaining the ins and outs of buying food at the market in Paris.
Once back at the school, Chef Eric, with a firm menu plan in mind, distributed cooking tasks to everyone and we got to work. Eric demonstrated a lot of knife skills techniques and helped those who were a little unsure of themselves with any particular task – it’s a very friendly atmosphere suited to all levels of cooks – be aware that what you learn does depend on what you are cooking that particular day and that obviously changes every time the class runs, according to what’s good/ available at the market and what ends up being on the menu.
Chef Eric (who led this class for the Paris culinary trip I helped organise the summer before) is good-natured and actually quite hilarious. But you won’t just laugh a lot and have a great time – you’ll learn a lot too. The perfect combination!
And after all your “hard work”, you get to sit down and enjoy a glass (or two) of wine. What better way to spend an afternoon and evening in Paris? Shopping, cooking, eating and drinking – pretty much my dream combination of activities!
If you’re staying in Paris with no means of cooking the foods you are ogling at the local markets, this tour is made for you – actually even if you do have a way of cooking – shopping with a chef is a wonderful way to experience the markets, and of course, enjoying the fruits of your labour makes it even better.
Other walking tours with La Cuisine Paris you might enjoy reading about:
Disclosure: I was a guest of La Cuisine Paris at the Marché Baudoyer evening market class. I was not asked to write about this, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are 100% my own.