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“Wonderful experience at home!”

Cooking and Art de Vivre in Provence
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
U.S.A.
1 review
“Wonderful experience at home!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 23, 2014

We were on a family trip to the south of France with 6 adults and two babies; given the unpredictability of the little ones, we wanted to arrange an in-home cooking class and dinner as a special treat for one of our nights there. We were looking for an experience that would give us a taste of Provence food, cooking, and culture, in an informal and friendly way and in our own space so we could also attend to the babies' needs. Tessa was the perfect fit for our family! She was very easy to make plans with - she is organized and reliable, responsive by email, gave us lots of options without pressure, and planned a menu accommodating our family's random dietary restrictions without any issues.

And then the experience itself was just what we had hoped for. The "class" was very informal, which suited our needs well. Tessa brought recipes, and the adults that were free from childcare could help to whatever extent they wanted - just watching or helping to chop things or mix things or whatever. We don't have a lot of serious chefs in our family, so no one was expecting or looking for lessons on special cooking techniques. The preparation of three courses was organized perfectly - there was never a lull in the cooking, and everything was ready at just the right time. Tessa had brought all the ingredients and kitchen equipment with her, some of which she had gotten from the market that morning (for example, fresh squid and prawns) and some of which she brought from her own garden (fresh bay leaves and her homemade sun-dried tomatoes).

Above all, Tessa is warm, friendly, and truly hospitable. We enjoyed getting to know her, and this experience was one of the highlights of our trip! It was a fabulous activity for the whole family!

Visited June 2014
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Thank travel_v_2839
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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86 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Casablanca, Morocco
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Wonderful Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2014

We've done cooking classes on several trips and this was one of our favorite experiences. We met Tessa in downtown Aix and she took us to several markets, historical sites, and interesting neighborhoods. She was constantly pointing out little historical details that we found fascinating. After about an hour and half, we had everything we needed and left Aix to head to her house in the country.

Her house and its grounds are beautiful and she made us feel at home. We made sundried tomato caviar, a warm goat cheese and bacon salad, chicken provencal, and lavender creme brullee. We helped cut, mix, stir while she handled the more sensitive tasks (getting the creme brullee in the water bath, etc). Even when she did something, she explained to us what she was doing. The recipe sheets that she gave us were very clear. We ate outside in her summer kitchen area along with her friend Maggie from London and had a great time chatting with them both. She broke out her homemade orange and walnut liquors and after we raved about the orange, she gave us the recipe for that too!

We had a wondeful time and this allowed us to see a typical Provencal kitchen and cook in action! We'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank cowllips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
29 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Lovely people - yes! Cooking class - no!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 24, 2013

This is a pleasant, if pricey, break from traditional tours and/or sites.

Tessa is a decent home cook who creates a friendly environment. That part is lovely. However, the morning market visit was a waste of time. Basically, we watched her shop for ingredients. I had a better experience a few days prior, going on my own, speaking with the vendors, learning about local ingredients, how things are used, getting tastes of this and that. Tessa offered none such experience.

Back at Tessa's home, chatting with her and her husband over a cheese and salad lunch was also pleasant. They are nice people with interesting stories. However, the "cooking class" (and I use the term generously!) was beyond lacking. Basically, you chop or stir and Tessa cooks. There is little instruction on technique and, in some cases, she used items that were pre-prepared. Much time was spent just sitting around the table. When we finally ate, the food was good, but nothing I would repeat.

We spent an entire day and a lot of money for an experience that, to us, should have been 3 hours tops, and cost maybe 75-100 euros. Disappointing!

However, if you want to visit a private home, chat informally with locals in a home setting, enjoy a cheese/salad lunch, and play leisurely in the kitchen -- this is for you! And, I imagine you'll enjoy it.

The experience is pleasant, but mis-advertised. So, we were expecting much more.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank sftravelholic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Summerland, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Good Old Fashioned Warmth and Hospitality”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 22, 2013

We missed the market tour and lunch portion of the cooking class since my husband and I are staying 6 weeks in Aix. We do the markets regularly ourselves. We joined a California couple and Tessa in the afternoon and immediately we felt at home in Tessa's warm and cozy kitchen. Well stocked with interesting and close to her heart utensils, pots and pans and decor, color and complete with the family cat, we were served tea and coffee to warm up before we rolled up our sleeves and got down to work. It was a real treat to see Tessa's kitchen. It truly was a every-day working kitchen. We chatted merrily while peeling and chopping, mixing, as per Tessa's instructions. We made appetizer, side dish, main course and dessert, and everything was timed perfectly. I was especially pleased to learn that Tessa made her very own sundried tomatoes and snipped the fresh herbs from the garden. We were treated with aperitifs in front of a warm fire while Tessa put finishing touches to the dishes in the oven. We sat down to enjoy our accomplishments, and Tessa picked out a complimentary wine for our dinner. The ambience over dinner was friendly, and cozy with the fireplace as our backdrop. We thoroughly enjoyed cooking with Tessa!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank mingapple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A True Feel of Provence”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2013

If you're searching for a great way to experience and feel "real" life in Provence spend a day with Tessa. She's warm, down to earth, fun, informative and to top it off...a wonderful cook. Our day started with a shopping tour through the markets in Aix. Picking up ingredients, explaining the history of the city, even an impromptu stop at a butcher to help us buy meat for later in the week, no problem at all. Our meal preparations in her beautiful and authentic kitchen were fun and laid back, the dinner was delicious and the conversation stimulating. We all came away with a satisfied weariness after a full day of fun.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank monman1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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