- Travel Topics
After many different cooking classes in Asia I couldn’t be more excited to finally be able to take one in Europe. Of all the places in Europe my first class would be in Paris.
This wouldn’t be your standard appetizer, main course class. For the first time I would be taking a dessert class. I would learn the secrets to mastering the art of 5 french desserts.
Giddy with excitement, I rang the doorbell to enter the Cook’n With Class cooking school. Briony, the cooking instructor led me to the kitchen where I enjoyed a cup of tea while waiting for the other students to arrive. The cooking school is divided into sections so even if there are several classes going on simultaneously there is no overlap in the kitchen. The space itself seemed modern, bright and well equipped. The cooking school is in the process of moving to a bigger location so I imagine the kitchens will only be getting nicer.
Our small class consisted of 6 of us, an Australian honeymooning couple, an Australian mother and her son, a man from the Philipines and myself. As it turned out Briony herself is from Australia so the only one of us without a direct Australian connection happened to be the Filipino.
After a brief introduction we got started. The format in this cooking class differed from the others I had taken in that we all prepared each dish together. I assume this is the only way to run a dessert based cooking class as it is more difficult to prepare dessert in individual portions.
First recipe: creme brulee. With Briony’s instruction each of us participated in the cooking process and made mental notes of all the tips and tricks.
The cooking class was perfectly organized in that while one dish was baking we were on to the next. As the creme brulee entered the oven we got started on the dough for the chocolate tarts.
As the dough went to the freezer to harden we got started on the deconstructed lemon meringue.
On to making the financiers batter.
Then back to shaping and baking the chocolate tarts.
For the last dish we worked on the souffle, and while baking we made the fresh fruit tartar.
Timing wise the class was organized perfectly. As my first dessert class and my first time not taking part in every part of the cooking process I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was nice to be able to absorb all the information presented without having to imitate the entire cooking process yourself, but to be able to jump in here and there as well.
I felt like our group got along very well and the class went by fast, with light hearted conversation. Briony was very professional in the presentation of the recipes and the cooking instructions but also personable and interesting to talk with.
You could tell she had been working with desserts for years – she could just feel when it was the right time for the desserts to come out of the oven.
My favorite part of the class? Torching the creme brulee. I had always wanted to make creme brulee with a real kitchen torch and I finally got the chance. Simply empowering.
With all of our desserts assembled and cooked through it was time to eat. Thankfully we were able to take the chocolate tart and financiers to go, but enjoyed the creme brulee, deconstructed meringue and souffle on the spot (those can’t exactly be easily transported).
We started with the creme brulee which was simply magical. Everything you could ever want it to be and more. Once you hear the crack of the spoon breaking through the caramelized sugar surface there’s no turning back. I licked the ramekin clean.
On to the souffle next. This was actually my first time trying a souffle and it was just what I imagined. Light, airy yet slightly doughy and egg inside. Like taking a bite out of a passion fruit filled cloud if I may. There’s always that fear that the souffle won’t rise properly, but ours rose perfectly and even kept their shape for a while before we sampled them.
Already nearing a sugar coma state I made my way towards the deconstructed lemon meringue. This dessert truly encompassed several different textures and flavors. With the rich meringue on top, the crumble below and the lemony custard as the bottom layer, a mouthful of a bit of each was the perfect combination. The different textures balanced each other out so that all together it was neither too rich nor too sweet.
Fully stuffed and on a sugar high I happily left the cooking class with my to go bag of financiers and a chocolate tart to share with Dave and our friends.
Though eaten much later in the evening those last two did not disappoint. The chocolate tart had a decadent ganache and a lightly crisped up crust with the financiers a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.
Overall I enjoyed my cooking class with Cook’n With Class and would recommend taking a class for those interested in learning more about French cooking. There are many different types of cooking classes offered so if dessert isn’t for you there are still plenty of other options.
Priced at 120 euros, the cooking class does not come cheap, but then again nothing in Paris really is.
*I received a complimentary cooking class in exchange for this review but as always all opinions expressed here are my own*