Darlene Foster's Blog

Learning to Cook the Cuisine de Provence

Posted on: August 8, 2016


My favourite day in Provence was when we attended a cooking class in Vaison la Romaine. Cuisine de Provence is run by the lovely Barbara Schurenberg at her picturesque country home. The grounds are postcard perfect. They include an olive grove, where the olives are harvested and pressed into olive oil used in all her cooking. There is also a substantial herb garden.


DSCN5164Our class of four learned to make typical Provencal dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Barbara was an excellent instructor using a hands-on style of teaching, giving each of us an opportunity to practice what we learned. At the end of the lesson, we  sat down to a feast of our efforts and a glass of local wine, served on the terrace. We left with tummies full, a file of recipes and smiles on our faces.


We started by picking herbs from the garden and then learned how to chop them very fine to make our own Herbs de Provence.


We made Tapenade with green and black olives. The secret ingredient – two anchovy fillets. Oh dear, I guess it is not a secret anymore. It was excellent served on a fresh baguette!


We also made Verrine Melon Glace. Very refreshing on a hot day. Provence’s answer to Gazpacho and so easy to make.

DSCN5178Here I am making Mini Onion Tarte Tatins, covering the mixture with puff pastry. It was two French sisters, Carolina and Stephine Tatin, who created the upside down tarte by accident, in their hotel during the 1880s.


The finished tatins straight out of the oven. A great hors-d’oeuvre to delight your guests.

DSCN5187My favourite was the Petites Quiches Provencales made with sweet grape tomatoes straight from the garden. I have made this crustless quiche since I came home and am proud to say it turned out well. This will be a regular at my house now.


Sauteing the vegetables for  the Tarte Provencale. Am I having fun or what?


The finished Tarte Provencale, soooo tasty. This and a salad is all I need for a summer meal.


Our excellent instructor, Barbara, with the Apricot Galette ready for the oven. Barbara is mentioned in Rick Steves’ Provence and the French Riviera.


The Apricot Galette ready to eat. A perfect dessert.

DSCN5193We finished off the meal with a cup of espresso.

It was a marvellous day, one I will never forget. Especially every time I make one of the delicious recipes at home. Hubby is looking forward to the Apricot Galette and the Poulet Provencal, which I plan to make very soon.

DSCN5183 (2)Note the perfect quote on the wall in Barbara’s kitchen.

You could also say, “You are only as good as the last book you wrote!”

If you are ever in the area, I suggest you consider taking a class with Barbara at  Cuisine de Provence. She has a variety of recipes and changes what she teaches daily. My friend has taken three classes already and each one was unique. Check out her website here.

Have you ever taken a cooking class while visiting another location?

48 Responses to "Learning to Cook the Cuisine de Provence"

Ahhhhhh! Gorgeous scenery, yummy food. What a treat!

It was an amazing treat!!

Making my mouth water – delectable!

It was all so good and easy to make as well! A great experience.

That sounds like a day very well spent and the recipes to die for. I am glad you had such an informative and enjoyable cooking session.
We are on our way to Arles to see a Van Gogh exhibition. Can’t wait to get there!

It was a memorable experience. Enjoy Arles! Look forward to the pictures.

looks so yummy! How is the new addition doing?

All delicious. Dot is settling in very well. We have vacationing neighbours from France who have a spaniel so she has someone to play with!

Wow, I can certainly see why this was your favorite day in Provence, from picking herbs to making tatins and tartes, it all looks wonderful!

It was quite the experience!

Darlene this is r right up my alley, I love to take the class. All the food looks wonderful.

You would love it Gerlinde!

The Apricot Galette looks absolutely delicious as do the Petites Quiches Provencales. I’ve never taken a cooking class, but I would certainly like to.

You would love it, it is so much fun!!

Lucky you! Beautiful scenery, pressed olive oil, and learning how to cook from a local. What a great time you must have had. Your pictures show it!

Barbara made learning fun. The awesome scenery didn´t hurt either.

Look at those big smiles! Clearly there is a lot of fun happening in that kitchen. The recipes look delicious. Hopefully your instructor was not too upset about you letting the secret ingredient out of the bag! 🙂

This was such a fun thing to do, especially in Provence! The instructor was very generous about giving us the recipes of what we made and more. She also let us keep the apron!!

Mmmmm that looks delicious fun …no never took a class in a different location but I have been to cookery classes …I did a sweet trolley course once …every week fresh and delicious puddings . My family were at the door with their tongue out .

That sounds like fun too. What sort of puddings did you make? I wouldn´t think there was much you could do with pudding. My favourite is chocolate pudding.

Tee hee 😀When I said puddings I meant deserts in general not just puddings . Your husband is a Yorkshire man am I right ? Ask him if he has heard of Blackcountry people from the Midlands …well we call all deserts puddings

I guess now that you mention it, I have heard this before (not by hubby, though). I was confused when visiting his family in Yorkshire and they asked if I wanted pudding and then they gave me a piece of cake. I thought perhaps I had heard wrong!! It is funny, isn’t it. I am sure you learned to make wonderful desserts. I enjoyed watching the Great British Bakeoff last year.

Lovely! The photos are summer encapsulated. I have found my way here through your comment on Patricia Sands blog. Looking forward to having a look around.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog Catherine! I love how we find each other in the blogging world. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Yes. Finding a community of like-minded people has been a real, but pleasant, surprise to me. I continue to be amazed at the twists and turns that my blogging journey is taking me on.

I checked out your blog, subscribed to it and bought your book. We have done something similar but moved to Spain once we retired.

Thank-you so much Darlene for your lovely support and congratulations to you, too, on your children’s series. Some of my fondest memories are sitting with my son (now 13) on the floor of his bedroom at night, reading from the French children’s books and magazines that I had managed to source. My middle daughter is currently studying French, Italian and German, but longs to study Spanish. All in good time…

You are so welcome. You gave your children such a valuable experience!!

I shouldn’t have read this just before lunch…my stomach is growling…:) looks like a lot of fun!

It was fun and tasty!!

No, I’ve never taken a cooking class. They offered them at Disney (maybe they still do). You can come to my house and make all those wonderful things!

Thye had cooking classes on a cruise we took once too but this was more personal as there were only 4 of us. I would love to come for a visit and cook some of these things for you!!

You are such a sweetheart!

That food looks utterly delicious, I love the golden pastry. Well done with your cooking, what a great way to spend a day.

It was something different and a great way to spend a day in Provence. The pastry tasted as good as it looked!

Anything with pie crust, I love. You seem to be having such a blast in the kitchen, Darlene. The quiche looks yummy (and I confess I haven’t heard of grape tomatoes). Food made with natural produce and prepared in such a location is bound to be delicious!

Grape tomatoes are like candy they are so yummy! I love anything with a pie crust too and we used puff pastry for some of the crusts which is so good!!

Wow, what a beautiful experience. Thanks for sharing, Darlene!

Thanks, Lisa. It was great! Hope you are doing well.

You’ve outdone yourself…again! What amazing photography and verse about an incredible experience. I’m green. I admit, green with envy. You keep making me add ‘items’ to my bucket list. This is an extraordinary post on food/travel/delight.

I am so pleased you enjoyed this post. I think everyone should attend a cooking class from time to time. It is so much fun. Even one close to home would be a great experience.

I love Provence and your presentation is amazing!Great post. Bye. Kamila

Thanks Kamila. I can see why you love it!!

Every time I hear the words “food” and “Provence” I think of the marvelous book “A Year in Provonce.” The author escapes me, as the book is downstairs on my bookshelf, but I’ve read that and its companion a couple of times. And the author’s love of simple French food is a match to yours. I am so jealous! And am happy you had a chance to experience the whole thing yourself.

Yes, I thought of Peter Mayle´s book, A Year in Provence, while I was there. Especially when we went to the boulangerie every morning for fresh bread. The food is simple but so good. I have since made the apricot galette and served it to my French neighbours who loved it!!

[…] Darlene Foster had an enjoyable few days in Provence this summer where she took a cooking class and learned to make some delicious Provencial dishes. […]

Omg!! everything looks yumm especially the quiches 😉 do you make them now at home too as you said?

I do make them at home, I have made everything except the soup. The Galette is always a hit with guests and I make it with whatever fruit is in season. I thought you would like this! xo

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