Le Dolci Food Tours Explores Gastronomy in the City of Lights
Situated on the banks of the Seine River, the city of Paris is where food, fashion, history, and architecture collide to bring visitors a heavenly assault of the senses. A group of ten participants traveling with food tour operator Le Dolci, based out of Toronto, Canada, came together this past week for a hands-on, fun, foodie experience in the City of Lights.
Paris was chosen because of its gastronomy and visual delights. Every morning participants spent time working alongside French chefs learning the art of French cookery and pastry and the afternoons were spent exploring on foot and by bike, with lots of taste testing, of course. The group visited some of the most renowned pastry chefs of Paris, soaked up the Parisian sunshine, and discussed food, art and the joys of this magical city over foie gras and beautiful wines of the region. Le Dolci’s home base for the week was at La Cuisine Paris, a French cookery school located in the heart of Paris, facing the Seine River and just steps away from Notre Dame in the 4th arrondissement.
Le Dolci is Toronto’s fun foodie studio that organizes food trips to some of the owner, Lisa Sanguedolce’s favorite destinations in the world. “I have traveled around the world and want to share some of my favorite places with others. I want to show people a city and it’s food culture with a hands-on component. I think it is more fun to be in France and learn to make a croissant with a French chef than to just turn up to a pastry shop and take a picture of one.” Sanguedolce said in a phone interview.
Participants in Le Dolci’s first trip came from Australia, the USA and Canada. All participants shared one passion and that was the love of food. The week started with a morning of making the flaky, buttery, crescent shaped pastry; the delectable croissant. The group was taught how to layer the dough with butter, roll and fold it and laminate this viennoiserie to make plain and almond croissants along with pain au chocolat, and the afternoon entailed a ‘sweet’ walking tour of the city. Day two saw the group head off on a macaron tour of Paris and then return to home base to mix their own almond flour and egg whites to make the particularly finicky French treats. A day of macarons could only be followed by the next day’s adventure in the kitchen; making choux pastry and turning this delicate dough into the most delightful éclairs, chouquettes, elegant swans and cream puffs, stuffed with sinfully delicious fillings.
Day four was all business; savoury business. Chef Eric took the group to the bustling Bastille Market and discussed with vendors the farmers’ offerings of the day, chose fresh vegetables for a ratatouille, sampled and selected some artisanal cheeses from Provence and selected an impressive salmon from the local fishmonger that would be prepared by the group for their lunch back at the school.
The final day in class saw the group knead their own dough and shape them into their own breads. The group mastered the baguette and fougasse, which they topped with fresh herbs and tomatoes and also shaped into iconic Parisian landmarks.
Participant Shilpa from San Francisco had this to say about the trip, “I left my husband at home and joined this fabulous group. I had a wonderful time baking, eating and laughing my way through Paris. My mind, belly (and credit card) are full of wonderful memories.”