Learn: French Cooking Vacations

La Vie du Chateau with Mary Pochez

Mary Pochez is the perfect trifecta for Americans who would like to learn to cook French food but are intimidated by language and culture: she’s an American who has lived in France for more than 30 years; she learned to cook from her French mother-in-law; and as hostess of countless Paris dinner parties and Chateau weekends has developed a portfolio of dishes that are relatively easy to prepare but will wow your family and guests.

A few years ago Mary and her husband, Xavier, moved full time to Chateau de La Barbee, the family’s Chateau in the Loire Valley, where they are in the midst of restoring the 200+ years-old country house and other buildings on the property.

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Currently “La Basse Cour,” the farmhouse Mary renovated and which was their family’s country retreat until they moved into the main house, is rented as a vacation property. Plans are underway for the Orangerie and stables, the only outbuildings not destroyed by departing German soldiers at the end of World War II.

This spring Mary will launch a new culinary vacation program, La Vie du Chateau, where small groups will be able to move into the Chateau for up to a week, participate in cooking classes, shop for ingredients at the town markets, explore the historic chateaus and wineries of the Loire Valley, and dine on the meals they have cooked. Watch this space for more information as plans develop.

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