DIJON COOKING CLASS


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Europe » France » Burgundy » Dijon
April 28th 2012
Published: April 28th 2012
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Dijon Central Market
April 28, 2012

Today was dedicated to food and the cooking of it. This was the day of my first cooking class. I had hoped to find a French chef to take the class from, but there were just not many choices when it came to cooking classes in Dijon. While Alex may not be a French native he has lived here for 32 years and is a dual French/American citizen, thus allowing him to vote in both countries.

The day began at 9 am (we got up at 7) Alex arrived at the apartment and unloaded his wares in the kitchen upstairs. We cooked in the kitchen of the people who own the building we are staying in. It is a large kitchen with a large dining table as well. Jerry was going to spend the day seeing Dijon, but decided to spend the first part with me and Alex as we did the shopping for the day’s meal. After Jerry returned from moving the car to the parking garage we headed for the Market.

The Market

The Market is a large mostly glass building that was designed by Mon. Eifel, the same man who designed the Eifel tower. The market is open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Today the outside of the market was surrounded by mostly non-food vendors and the food vendors were all in side. The market is huge and has something from everyone. It was a treat to explore the market with someone who knew is way around and most every vendor. Everything in the market was fresh, mostly locally grown and sold by people that truly cared what they were putting out to the public. We purchased everything for today’s meal there, except the bread which we got at a bakery just outside the market (we also purchased croissants for breakfast tomorrow. The Market was busy with everyone getting their food for the next few days.

The first stop on our shopping trip was for eggs and a little cheese (we bought cheese in several different places). After the eggs, we picked up some herbs, leeks, shallots, carrots, the rabbit and so much more. In all we were at the market for about 90 minutes.

After the market we went to a wine shop and bought two bottles of white Burgundy to have with lunch. Each bottle was about 20 Euros or $26; the same bottle would be at least $100 in the states. We then returned to the kitchen to begin cooking. Jerry was off to the museum of fine arts until lunch time.

The Lesson

I had really hoped that the class would be hands on like in Paris; unfortunately I mainly watched and learned rather then cooked and learn. I am not saying that the classes was not very good and I learned a ton, I had just hoped to do more than stir, peel and dice some potatoes. In any event I was the only student so could ask anything I wanted and learned several new things and slightly improved my knife skills.

We started preparing the dessert. We made two, a napoleons and a pair tart. The tart was made with sweet almond dough, while the napoleons were made with a puff pastry. Both incorporated Almond cream (basically a custard). The one thing I truly learned was that you must weigh your ingredients when baking and two American undercook the crusts, thus we are eating raw flour. I have recipes for everything so if you want it just ask and I can send you a copy. After the puff pastry was in the oven and the tart dough in the refrigerator chilling, we started on the rabbit. We were making Lapin a La Moutarde (Rabbit in a mustard sauce). The base was onion, carrot and a leek; this was cooked with salt pork and some oil. (Personally I would have used butter for depth). After this had sweated for awhile the heat was turned up and the pre-cut rabbit was added. If left alone, Alex would have added the head, livers and kidneys, I requested that they not be added. He did add the kidneys so that I could taste them to see if they were as bad as I thought they were. When the rabbit had browned slightly a full bottle of white burgundy was added, this was brought to a boil a Bouquet Garni (Rosemary, Thyme, Sage an parsley) were added, all was then left to cook for 90 minutes.

We then completed the tart, baked it and let it cool. The next step was preparing the red wine sauce for the poached eggs. A bottle of red burgundy was placed in a pot and heated, to this cassis (black currant liquor) was added both were brought to a boil and then lighted to burn off the alcohol. The mixture was then left to reduce. Oh before the wine was added some shallots and carrots were sweated, then the wine and cassis added. When the wine had reduced a mixture of butter and honey bread (mixed well so was all one) was added to act as the thickening agent.

The next step was to poach some eggs. This was done in water and white vinegar, the vinegar used to hold the eggs whites together. I also learned a little secret that I am keeping to myself. Once the eggs were poached they were rinsed in hot water to remove the vinegar. We had previously made some toast out of a baguette spread with mustard, the egg was laid on top of this, lightly salted and peppered, then the sauce was added, not on top but surrounding the egg. It was delicious.

When the rabbit had cooked, the meat was removed (and the kidney didn’t taste horrible) and the sauce puréed to finely dice the vegetables. The sauce was then placed back on the burner, cream freche was
ProduceProduceProduce

You can't get this at home.
added and reduced, then Dijon mustard added. It was delicious with the rabbit.

We sat down to eat with the family of the house owners. It was a lively lunch, 3 bottles of wine, a discussion of French Polictics in French of course. (They are having their presidential election next week) After the main course we had the cheese, 5 different types, cow, goat, Roquefort, etc. Best cheese in the world and you really just cannot get it at home.

After lunch we went back to the apartment, did laundry and some shopping for snacks (no dinner tonight lunch was very filling). The rest of the day has been resting, we are off to Lyon tomorrow.

Dijon

Is a lively little city on the weekends, the market was crowed the side walk cafes overflowing and people everywhere shopping, talking, etc. The city has a population around 120,000 with an additional 35,000 university students during the school year. The tram is just being built, but most of what you want to see is in the center of Dijon or the older section. On Jerry’s journey in the morning he stopped at a mustard shop and bought us a jar of Dijon with tarragon, it looks great, can’t wait to open it and try it.

TODAY’S EATS

Breakfast

Koglekopf (this was tasty but a little dry, needed a sauce)

Lunch

Eggs in a red wine sauce
Rabbit in a Mustard sauce
Five cheeses
Pair tart
Napoleons.

Dinner

Are you kidding we ate too much at lunch, but do have some cheese and pate for snacking.

REVIEWS

Nothing really to review, although Dijon is a must stop on any tour of France.

DAILY TIPS

The cooking class would be more enjoyable for most if taken with friends, for me it was fine being the only student, especially since it was not as hands on as I would have liked.


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The Pictures Says it AllThe Pictures Says it All
The Pictures Says it All

If you have to ask, you don't deserve any.
CheeseCheese
Cheese

So many cheese so little time.
The MealThe Meal
The Meal

Sitting down with the family
What is This?What is This?
What is This?

The empty kitchen of the Duke's of Burgundy Palace


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