Ever wanted to learn how to make your favorite French pastries at home such as croissants and pain au chocolat? Or how about sweet, Instagram-worthy macarons? Or even bake your own baguette from scratch? Well now you can on your next trip to Paris.
Located just across the Seine from Notre Dame, La Cuisine Paris is a French cooking school that offers a variety of cooking classes in English, including baking, pastry, technical skills, entertaining, cheese workshops, and even food tours around Paris or Versailles.
Taught by an international team of chefs, the half-day classes are conducted in a home kitchen environment, ensuring you will be able to replicate the results back on our own turf. During the class, you are given recipe and instruction cards and encouraged to take pictures, notes, and ask plenty of questions.
On my recent trip to Paris, I took the Croissant & Breakfast Pastries class where we learned the basics of French viennoiserie, as the classic breakfast pastries are referred to in France. Together with seven other novice yet eager bakers, I learned how to make the flaky pâte feuilletée levée -- the yeasted, laminated dough that the forms the basis of all breakfast pastries -- from start to finish. The normally three day process was condensed down into three hours so we could have hands on experience with every step of making the notoriously fickle dough.
Once you have the perfect dough, it's really all about shaping and filling. We learned how to roll and cut the dough, shape into croissants, fill with chocolate rods for pain au chocolat, and make pastry cream for the pain au raisin.
We watched as the fruits of our labor puffed and browned in the steam filled ovens. The smell was heavenly -- I don't know how you could work there and not gain 500 pounds.
At the end of class, everyone gets to enjoy a freshly-baked pastry or two alongside a strong coffee, before packing up the leftovers to bring back to your Airbnb to impress your family and friends.
On my next trip to Paris, I hope to learn how to make baguettes and I know my sister wants to learn how to make macarons. The courses at La Cuisine Paris offer something different and authentic, a skill you can bring back to create a tiny taste of Paris at home.