Jewellery and Cooking Holiday

Summary

Itinerary

During this 7 night jewellery making holiday you will perfect the art of jewellery making with talented artist Caroline and discover the secrets to French cooking with passionate cook Adam, all set in a beautiful 19th century farmhouse sitting in 50 acres of countryside, ensuring your holiday is a relaxing haven.

Unleash your creative side and learn to make your own beautiful pieces of jewellery using silver, copper and bronze metal clays. This holiday is the perfect introduction to working with precious metal clays (PMC, art clays etc.) to craft pieces of silver jewellery, and these luxury items are something you will treasure forever.

Metal clays are a new jewellery making product which are easy to mould and shape – just like clay – so you’re not limited to what you can design. Watch as the metal clay is fired and turns to pure silver before your very eyes, ready to be made into unique pieces of jewellery.

With expert tuition from your talented tutor Caroline, you’ll learn the art of jewellery making in the well-equipped studio and will design and make exquisite jewellery to take home with you at the end of your trip.

As well as making jewellery, you’ll also learn to cook tasty French cuisine and explore the delights of French cuisine with culinary guided excursions. And what better place to learn to cook? Famously a gourmet’s paradise, Gascony is famed for its delicious duck to succulent wild boar and charming local wines, not forgetting the allure of Gascony Armagnac, which will tickle your taste buds.

Enthusiastic cook Adam will accompany you on a range of culinary excursions, which can be anything from visiting a local Armagnac producer and tasting to visiting a butcher to learn all about charcuterie. You will learn real knowledge about real food, with Adam showing you how to cook proper homemade French meals served with just a little show and a lot of passion, all accompanied by some spectacular wines and Armagnac from local boutique producers.

Stay in a stunning renovated farmhouse in the glorious region of Gascony in South West of France with its own swimming pool and 50 acres of land. This is the perfect place to relax and unwind and your hosts Adam and Caroline will be on hand at all times to ensure your stay is as enjoyable as possible. There are also no single supplements for solo travellers, making this a fantastic holiday for singles.

What's Included

  • 7 nights accommodation in a private twin/double room
  • Prices are based on 1 person in their own private room with ensuite bathroom (no single supplement for a private room)
  • If two people travel together and share a room, a discount is offered
  • 2 jewellery making workshops (on day 2 and 3)
  • 2 cookery lessons (on days 6 and 7)
  • 2 culinary excursions to local villages or towns
  • 1 day excursion to either Dune de Pila, Bordeaux city, the Pyrenees mountains or Biarritz, depending on the groups preferences
  • Vineyard visit and wine tasting session
  • Armagnac distillery visit and tasting session
  • Access to the jewellery studio daily to work on your pieces
  • All materials and equipment for jewellery making
  • Tips on how to start your own jewellery business
  • All cooking materials, ingredients and notes
  • Transport to and from all excursions
  • All breakfasts, lunches, and 3 course gourmet dinners daily
  • All refreshments (including wine etc)
  • Pick up and drop off from Agen train station
  • Check in any time after 4pm on day 1 and check out by 10am on day 8

Location Information

About the location

Lush meadows, rolling countryside, field upon fields of sunflowers and deep woodland expanses, all with the Pyrenees mountains standing tall in the distance, is what to expect on these unique glass, jewellery making, painting and cooking holidays in the South West of France.

Set in the heart of Gascony surrounded by 50 acres of private unspoilt meadows, the retreat is tucked away between the pilgrimage route to Saint Jacques de Compostelle and la Chevauchée d’Henri IV. Although the school is a rural retreat, the bustling picturesque towns of Nérac and Condom are within easy reach making it the perfect location for your holiday.

This retreat is run by Caroline and her husband, Adam. Caroline, is a qualified jewellery making teacher from the UK. She and her husband moved to the area looking for a change of lifestyle and now run their hugely successful jewellery making business from Baron-Figués, where you will be staying.

Caroline’s husband Adam is a serious gastro enthusiast, as much in love with the local seasonal produce as the Gascons, and entirely committed to cooking the most incredible traditional dishes for guests as well as providing wonderful cooking courses. A passionate teacher, he can show you how to make traditional dishes such as Brandade de Morue (salt cod and potato) or Garbure (vegetable soup).

For the painting course, the are joined by passionate local artists with huge knowledge and experience of the area as well as art to ensure you are taken to the right places to inspire your paintings.

Gascony is an undiscovered region of South West France, so there’s no chance you’ll have to wrestle with crowds when you go to sample the wonders that make this region just that bit more special. While there, you will quickly learn why Gascony is famed for its sumptuous local produce and seasonal recipes and you will realise that the locals take their food very seriously indeed. And if you’re partial to a cheeky little treat, Gascony is one of the main producers of foie gras.

It’s not just mouth-watering food you have to look forward to though. You can’t visit Gascony without trying out the fruits of the vine. Wherever you walk, you’ll be able to see the many vineyards sprawling over the hills and valleys and discover for yourself the wines are individual, full of character and exquisite.

During your course, you will stay in Baron-Figués which is part of a gorgeous 150-year old farmhouse with three beautifully appointed guest en-suite twin/double bedrooms, and one of the main attractions of this farmhouse is its large open plan traditional kitchen. Guests can sit around the homely table, that seats 14 guests, and share delicious meals prepared by Caroline’s husband. There are also no single supplements for solo travellers to have a private room!

Attached to the farmhouse is a recently renovated gite. The gite has been sympathetically restored to a very high standard and also contains two twin/double bedrooms. So if you are travelling as a group, this is ideally suited to your needs and offers the wonderful traditional French feel to it. If you are travelling solo, there’s nothing better than the farmhouse, where you will share the accommodation with Caroline and her husband and meet likeminded people who share your passion for the French way of life.

All extracurricular activities on your jewellery making holiday are free. So if you don’t feel like taking a trip after your jewellery making lessons you can try on site table tennis, basketball, shooting, archery and cycling, or you may just like to relax by the heated pool with a glass of that soul warming Armagnac. There are also a great selection of board games that will amuse as you while away the warm nights and share company with other guests.

This creative and culinary retreat combines the wonders of rural Gascony and modern home comforts of a traditional French farmhouse and unbeatable food and wine experiences that will live with you forever.

These holidays make great singles holidays for solo travellers, as well as friends or couples travelling together. The friendly group atmosphere makes everyone feel welcome.

Features
– Tranquil and relaxing rural farmhouse set in the heart of Gascony
– Set in 50 acres of parkland
– An area of incredible natural beauty famous for its gastronomy and wines
– Heated outdoor swimming pool (12m x 6m)
– Free activities: shooting, archery, cycling, board games
– Local markets and a wide range of delightful restaurants from auberge (an intimate Inn) to Michelin star
– Superb luxury renovated farmhouse with 3 double bedrooms
– Luxury renovated gite with 2 twin/double bedrooms
– All twin/double bedrooms have private ensuite bathrooms
– No single supplements for solo travellers
– Open plan farmhouse kitchen and large living area with TV
– In house fully equipped jewellery making studio
– Table tennis, basketball, shooting, archery and cycling facilities on site (free of charge)
– Small group courses giving you maximum attention and tuition
– Close by there are a range of activities from horse riding, kayaking, karting, theme parks and casinos
– Also available locally are wine and Armagnac tasting
– Optional gourmet food course
– Throughout the year there are numerous fetes, music festivals and exhibitions
– Further afield you can visit some wonderful beaches along the Atlantic or Mediterranean coast
– Wi-Fi available
– Easy access from Agen train station (30 min), Bordeaux airport (1hr 40 min) or Toulouse airport (1hr 40 min)

Getting there

Please note that prices for the holidays do not include flights. We recommend using www.skyscanner.net to check flights.

Nearest airport:
Toulouse (1hr 40min), Bordeaux (1hr 40min), Pau (2 hours) or Bergerac (2 hours)

Free pre-booked train transfers:
Return transfers to and from Agen train station (30 minutes) are included in the course price.

Trains run from Agen from across the SNCF network from where you can take advantage of the free transfer.

Optional airport transfers:
You can arrange a transfer to take you directly to the farmhouse from Toulouse, Bordeaux, Pau or Bergerac airport once you have booked onto the course. The price of a one way transfer is approximately 170 Euros per car (2-3 people). This price will be set by a local taxi firm, but your hosts will always try to get you the best price.

To book a private transfer to and from Toulouse, Bordeaux, Pau or Bergerac airport, please email your jewellery making teacher after booking your holiday to confirm your flight times and the transfer at least 14 days in advance of arrival.

Car hire:
Car hire is not essential for this holiday if you pre-book a transfer, but please note that there is no public transport to the farmhouse so if you are not taking the transfer, car hire is recommended.

Other Information

Who is it suitable for?
– Both cooking and jewellery making is suitable for all levels from beginners to advanced
– Minimum age 18
– Your hosts and tutors speak English and French, and lessons will be taught in English
– Dietary requirements will be catered for if these are communicated in advance of booking

I’m travelling solo – can I join?
– These holidays make great singles holidays as there are NO single supplements and you will have your own private room for no additional cost
– There is a discount for 2 people travelling together and sharing a room, please see the ‘Costing and extras’ tab for more details

When can I start?
– This course starts on Saturdays and runs on set dates year round
– Courses run for 7 nights/8 days
– If you can’t find the date you want, we can request additional dates so please email us on [email protected] and we’ll check availability for your preferred day of arrival

About your tutors
– Your friendly and enthusiastic jewellery tutor is Caroline, who has been a qualified jewellery teacher for over 20 years and has experience in setting up and running training centres teaching practical skills
– She is a senior instructor in both PMC and Art Clay and has experience in using a wide range of clays
– Her love for teaching is reinforced every time a student looks in wonder at what they have designed and created themselves
– Caroline is passionate about jewellery and creative design, and she will be on hand at all times to assist you and help you to create beautiful jewellery
– Caroline’s husband Adam will be taking your cookery classes and he is a passionate food connoisseur
– Adam aims to pass on his extensive knowledge about real food during his classes, and teaches in an informal style to allow you to have as much fun as possible
– His classes are designed around pleasure rather than pretence and Adam will ensure you have a great time both in the cookery classes and during the culinary excursions
– Caroline and Adam will also be happy to suggest activities in the area during your stay

What will I learn?
Jewellery lessons
– You will learn the fundamentals of working with precious metal clay, art clay etc and gain a greater understanding of what the product is and the different types of metal clay
– Work with different clays including bronze clays
– How to use a range of machines such as the kiln and torch burner to achieve different effects
– How to unleash your creative side and design your own jewellery
– How to use semi-precious stones and beads
– Make hollow forms such as fine silver classic French ball earrings
– Syringe work with bronze
– Influence your fine silver designs using nature, such as leaves and twigs
– Fingerprint jewellery to set prints of loved ones in fine silver
– Take home beautiful unique jewellery to be proud of, and skills which will last you a lifetime

Cookery lessons
– You will also learn to cook delicious 3 course French meals
– Visit a range of culinary producers during your stay, depending on the season and the group’s needs
– The culinary excursions will introduce you to local French produce and producers, as well as tastings of the products such as cheese, charcuterie or wine
– Learn to combine flavours and create classic French meals to show off to friends once you are back home

Restricted mobility access
Please find below some information regarding the accommodation and location of the holiday which may be useful when deciding if this is the right holiday for you; should you have an further questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help
– We generally do not recommend this location for those with restricted mobility
– The holiday is based in the countryside, and does include some walking
– The accommodation has no bedrooms or bathrooms on the ground floor, therefore one must be comfortable with stairs

Sample dishes
Dishes vary according to the season and what food is available and you will discuss as a group what you want to prepare but may include:
• Duck – confit, breast
• Stews and gratins
• Lapin chasseur
• Jalousie de porc
• Coq au vin
• Foie gras
• Goat cheese with honey and thyme
• Soufflé d’epinard
• Creme brulé
• Tarte tatin
• Poire Williams

Are meals included?
– All breakfasts, lunches, dinners and refreshments (wine, tea, coffee etc) are included for this course
– You will eat the delicious meals you have cooked for dinner on your cookery days
– The school use fresh, local produce where possible
– If you have dietary requests these must be communicated to us at the time of booking, vegetarians can catered for

What can I do in my free time?
– During your free time, there is plenty to do at your farmhouse accommodation including relaxing by the heated swimming pool (May-September)
– The school offers a range of extracurricular activities onsite which are free of charge including table tennis, basketball, shooting, archery, cycling and board games to name a few!
– There are numerous fêtes, music festivals and exhibitions in the surrounding areas through the year and your host Caroline will be happy to advise you during your stay
– The closest towns are Nérac and Condom, and your host will be happy to suggest activities and transport should you wish to explore these during your stay

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