In exquisitely restored farmhouses and châteaus throughout France, cooking teachers give you an opportunity to live the life you've dreamed about—if only for the length of a vacation. In classes of eight or so students, the teachers, often American, offer lessons on how to cook like a French native, whether braising a guinea hen or roasting a leg of lamb in a wood-burning oven. The following courses all stress local specialties (shellfish in Bordeaux, duck in Gascony, olive oil in Provence) and, of course, regional wines. A typical day begins with a visit to a market; then there's class and a sumptuous meal—in the garden, weather permitting. Accommodations, when they're not at the school, are in charming inns or homes nearby.
Teachers Jean-Pierre Moullé, longtime co-chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and his wife, Denise, who comes from an old Bordeaux family.
Setting Classes take place both at the Moullés' 300-year-old stone farmhouse (which has an outdoor wood-burning oven) and at one of Denise's family châteaus.
Emphasis Southwestern cuisine du marché—whatever looks good at the market that day.
Highlight Duck day—confit, duck ham, grilled duck breast, foie gras.
Accommodations Rooms in a nearby B&B.
Price $2,400 for five days (including lodging).
Contact 510-848-8741 or twobordelais.com.