10:00 o’clock is Wine o’clock

It’s checking out day at The French House Party and as I start my breakfast, my new Irish besties Joan, Seamus, Deidre and Bernard surprise me with a departing present, chocolates and macarons, what a beautiful thought. Not any old chocolates or macarons, hand made by our chef tutor Gegory Legros who had taken us though our paces on Saturday with much patience and understanding, he was brilliant.

We have become more than friends over the past 6 days, its’ difficult to describe the feelings and emotions as we have all shared an amazing experience, not the same as having a few drinks and a laugh at a poolside table in Lanzarote or Magaluf, we have worked together, learnt together, criticised in pairs, rewritten menus just like a brigade of chefs cooking in harmony for months, it has been epic.

We all had some time to spare today, departure day so our host Moira, always looking for ways to ensure we had the perfect experience had arranged a wine tasting……… to start at 10:00 a.m………., nice!

I have visited Domaine Le Fort before, and tried its award winning wines, but not the latest addition, THE best Chardonnay in the World 2020. It’s in a lovely location, near to the village of Bram, about a 20 minute drive from The French House Party HQ. We were greeted by Stéphanie one half of the family double act that are responsible for producing a seriously good range of wines from the Languedoc region of France, you might recognise some of the names on the map above.

Jean Marc was back in the front of the class yesterday afternoon; do you like Scallops, not the queenies and smaller varieties, I mean big fat juicy ones, fresh as the day is young. He produced a 6Kg box of Scallop Shells full of plump juiciness and some knives and off we went, carefully opening the tops, separating the muscle from the lid and doing everything to protect their succulent tender flesh.

The evenings starter was a dish he developed for a famous 5 star hotel in the Far East, Scallops in Parsley and Saffron Cream Sauce, and we were going to make it from scratch!

It’s the 1st time I have cooked 15 Scallops in one go, it’s was interesting to understand how to know when things were complete without lifting one of the juicy tender bivalve molluscs! Anyway, apparently I did a good job and they were all eaten, we debated the Parsley Sauce and I suggested changing to Coriander and dusting the Scallops with Curry Powder before frying, this was a typical session at the dining table, debate, questioning, adjusting. For more info, book the course.

I wanted to introduce you to my new friends properly, from the left Deidre, Seamus, Joan and Bernard. The lovely Marion, a chocolatier extraordinaire is explaining the tempering process on the right. What a bunch, so so funny. It was great seeing everyone play with chocolate for the first time, tempering is not easy and you can soon see lumps and realise things have got too cold!

I am now standing in an empty queue at Toulouse Airport, checkin is still not open, I grabbed a very nice Bayon Ham Baguette earlier to keep me going until I got through passport control. Only 2.5 hours to go and if there are no delays, will be heading into the sky for the flight home.

There were delays, luckily I had topped up when checked In and waiting for the plane to arrive, with a croque-monster au jambon and a drink, the airport was extremely hot beyond passport control but that’s another story.

……………. until next time …………… L8ers ……..

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