Guest review: Antony shares his cookery holiday experience with host Marlene in Bordeaux

Antony is a middle school cooking teacher in Australia, and loves using his holiday time to try different cooking holidays all over the world to find new ideas to incorporate into his classes.

This was his third cooking holiday with NotInTheGuideBooks(in the past, he visited and cooked in Italy and Spain); this time, he chose our pastry and baking holiday in Bordeaux with hosts Marlene and Tom.

We called him to get an insight into what other solo travelling cooks can expect:

Who did you meet?

This is a great holiday for a solo traveller, as you get a beautiful spacious room to yourself without having to pay a single supplement.

However, this is not to say I was alone; there was an American teacher attending the patisserie course, and three women — Aussie, English and Irish — on the baking course. Everyone was a solo traveller, but we all had the common passion for cooking. An English family also joined in for a few days, who now live as expats in Hong Kong.

What places did you go that were non-touristy that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen?

Every day we had a unique excursion before hitting the kitchen.

One day we did a wine tour, and another we visited a Foie Gras farm, which I would have to say is pretty far off the beaten path! In addition, we went to other local producers, such as a prune farm, and chocolatier. Last but not least, we visited the markets for fresh, local produce and specialities to use in our classes.

What were the highlights of the holiday?

Everything we made was a great success; however, there was one recipe that I haven’t been able to stop making since departing.

It is a dessert featuring peaches cooked in white wine, saffron and cloves with a basil/sugar/mascarpone and chantilly cream. I visited my family in Holland after Bordeaux, and my family and friends all requested it — it was a hit. I have made it on several occasions for others as well. It is a very unique dessert!

How did you hear about GoLearnTo?

When my children grew up, all of a sudden they had lives with friends, jobs, and all that comes with it. So, I took the one other thing I really loved and decided to use my holidays to improve my craft.

I started 4 years ago, found GoLearnTo on the internet, and loved the idea of relaxing while doing what I love. There is a big selection of things to do by yourself out there!

What were Tom and Marlene like?

Marlene has a great command of English, and a good depth of knowledge of cooking. Both she and Tom know all the local producers, so you know you are using great quality products, as well as where they come from.

Marlene really builds up relationships with her guests, is easy going and classy, and helps people learning new skills get through more technical things. She manages to be both laid back and direct.

What activity would you like to try next?

While I am still a cooking teacher for 4 more years, I will stick to perfecting my craft over my holidays. You never know, after retirement, I may branch out!