As I mentioned, my mom and I headed to France to celebrate my 30th birthday. After a quick stop in Lyon, we got down to business and made our way to Beaune. Task one: take a cooking class at the cook’s atelier (which started with the cook’s atelier market tour). Task two: drink lots of burgundy wine. Task three: eat good food and explore the French countryside.
Our cooking class started with a delightful cook’s atelier market tour. We met Marjorie and Kendall outside Hess Cheese Shop to begin the tour. I have always found cheese shops slightly intimidating. There are so many kinds of cheese, usually with names that I don’t know how to pronounce, and I never know what to get. Of course, in France or Italy my communication is usually stunted and I can’t even ask for a good recommendation. So, it was especially fun to watch Kendall order cheese (she was also kind enough to explain to us what she was buying and how she was crafting her cheese plate–a mix of goat, cow, and sheep cheese, varied textures, a few interesting elements like rolled in ash or topped with lavender.)
From the cheese shop we headed to the indoor portion of the market. There’s nothing I love more than going to the market (in Zagreb we usually head to Dolac every weekend and sometimes even manage to get there before work). The market in Beaune was filled with yummy French goodies.
When I first really started traveling about 12 years ago, it seemed like I was one of the only ones from my friends who was passionate about seeing as much of the world as possible. Now, t seems like everyone (and their mom!) is traveling all the time. I love it! It’s so much fun to see where everyone is traveling to and swap recommendations for cool places to stay and yummy places to eat.
One thing that I find slightly annoying though, is this drive to go to the most “unique” or “authentic” place. I love avoiding tourist traps as much as the next person and I like to think I can appreciate a place for what it is, whether I am in Mongolia or Lisbon. What I hate, is the way that some people these days are turning up their noses at classic European destinations like France or Italy. As if attracting a large number of visitors means that a country is no longer worth visiting.
One of my favorite parts about France is the love of packaging and design. Almost everything is beautiful, whether it’s the display of freshly baked baguettes at the market or the adorably glass container your supermarket yogurt comes in. I just love the thoughtful little touches that make life more beautiful. Marjorie and Kendall are also huge fans of gorgeous design (just wait until I show you their workshop).
They are also great supporters of locally sourced products and love to support nearby farmers. It was fun to have them guide us around the market and introduce us to some of their favorite people and products. We saw loads of fresh cheeses, milk, and butter. We got to try a little fois gras (which they promised was made by an ethical farmer…). We were enchanted by the piles of cured meats.
Outside, we saw rows and rows of new herb starts ready to be planted.
Farm fresh eggs ready to be baked into some kind of omelette or maybe a custard!
French breakfast radishes. I’m not sure why these are called breakfast radishes, I don’t think they appear very often at breakfast. Still, they’re always crisp, a little spicy, beautiful to look at, and make a great snack or addition to a salad. Overall, we had a wonderful experience on the cook’s atelier market tour. Next up…actually cooking all the food we got!