Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gastronomy and Nimes

So I think I left off talking about our visit to the vineyards last week and I never got to the fun and exciting stuff we did on Friday. Last Friday we had our gastronomy class at a local cooking school!!! We made a 3 course gourmet French meal! I was put in the dessert group, so I got to help make our delicious custardy, ice creamy dish.

The cooking school

The appetizer and main course kitchen

The dessert kitchen

The chef

The amazing dessert team!

Piping some chocolate for decoration for our dessert.

Our Appetizer: Crostini with foie gras and vegetables

Our Main Course: Duck confit with potatoes and herbs in a phyllo dough sachet

Our dessert: I don't know the translation of this, but it's like custardy ice cream topped with almond crisp and chocolate with apricots and strawberry sauce on the side.

The dessert team enjoying our meals

After our fun morning and afternoon of cooking we headed to another vineyard. The owner actually came to our gastronomy lesson and talked about some of his wine and served it with our meal. Then we drove down the road to see where it was made.

The grape crusher at the winery

The vats where maceration occurs

The vats where fermentation takes place

Bottling the wine

So that was our fun and exciting day last Friday. Then this past weekend was our free weekend. So everybody in the program planned their own small trip. Five of us girls decided to take a road trip to Nimes. Nimes is a cute little city north east of Toulouse. We decided to go there because it has a lot of roman history and there's an arena similar to the colosseum in Rome. We also wanted to go there so we could drive along the coast on the way home and stop for a swim in the Mediterranean. 

Our first stop was to the arena. We had a guided tour and learned about all of the gladiators and events they used to hold at the arena. Then our second stop was to La Maison Carree. Unfortunately, as we were walking over to the building I slipped on a stair and my camera went flying and completely broke. So I wasn't able to take any more pictures of my weekend, but thanks to the awesome people I went with I have some pictures to share with you. So after La Maison Carree we had dinner at an Indian restaurant and then visited the arena again to see what it looked like at night. Then on Sunday we visited the park in Nimes and hiked to the top of the park to La Tour Magne. La Tour Magne is a tower that overlooks the entire city. It was pretty cool! After that we went for a drive along the coast and stopped at Marseillan Plage for a swim, then headed back to Toulouse. 

The arena

Inside the arena

The whole arena

Posing with the matador

La Maison Carree. We got to watch a 3D movie about the history of Nimes in this building. 

The arena at night

Playing in the lights

The park

La Tour Magne. We climbed to the top of this tower to get a full view of the city.


Marseillan Plage. The beach we stopped at on our way back to Toulouse. 

Our little Volkswagen that we took on our road trip

Our weekend trip was a lot of fun, and Nimes was the perfect size city to visit when you only have 2 days.

So that was our fun, short weekend. Then this past Monday and Tuesday we had more enology and french lessons. And last night a few of us went out for a gourmet French dinner. We had foie gras, another type of duck, a pastry stuffed with duck, bread, and salad for our appetizer. For my main dish I got the lamb, which was excellent! And for dessert we had creme brulee! It was all so gooood!!!

(Oh and I got a new camera this past monday!! I'm still trying to figure out how to use it so sorry the pictures are a little fuzzy, but hopefully I'll figure it out soon)

So that's about it so far. It's been another busy but fun week! We have all of our exams this Friday and then on Saturday we can relax before we leave for our internships on Sunday. So I don't know if I'll be able to post another blog before I leave school, but I'll definitely be posting one once I start working next week. 


  1. What a wonderful experience. Enjoy your last day at the University. Good luck working at the vineyard and with your new host family. I hope they like the "American" gifts you brought for them.

    1. Thanks mom! I made it here safely and I think I'll give them their gift tonight! I'll let you know if they like the snacks I brought :)