It was our 20th wedding anniversary; December and cold, just one week away from Christmas. My husband was down in the southern part of France, his third trip down there for business and I couldn’t stand the thought of being away from each other for our anniversary. It didn’t take much to persuade me to agree to fly to Paris and meet him.
I didn’t sleep at all during the 13-hour plane ride. Wide-eyed yet sleep deprived, I remember hitting the runway at Charles De Gaulle Airport with a thud, excitement welling up inside of me.
I didn’t care that I barely slept over the next four days – I could do plenty of that once we got back to the states. We took it all in! The Louvre and Napoleon’s Apartments, Mona Lisa, the magnificent Opra where we secretly watched a ballerina during rehearsal, stumbling into Notre Dame during Catholic Mass, climbing up the steep steps inside the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, strolling through morning market and de Champs de Elysees, dinner at the famous Angelina, watching painters working on their canvases in the art district, the string quartets in the underground subways…so many incredible memories. But one of the most amazing and memorable experiences during our time there was spending the day with Chef Eric Fraudeau at Cookin’ with Class.
As an anniversary present, my amazing husband arranged for me to take a cooking class…IN PARIS!!! I still have to pinch myself sometimes.
We met early in the morning with others who’d signed up for the class. Together, we all walked to the market to pick out beautiful, fresh ingredients for our meal. We selected five different varieties of mushrooms – some I haven’t ever seen here in the US. Unfortunately, mushrooms are at the top of my list of things that I just CANNOT eat. No worries - we picked out other items then moved on to the fromagerie where Chef Eric taught us about the various cheeses of the region. We then moved on to the meat and fish markets. So much to see and learn. It was definite sensory overload and it was wonderful!
Together we prepared amazing food and filled the cozy kitchen with delicious aromas of mussels, guinea fowl, simmering white wine, bouquet garni and so much more. My husband arrived with sprinkles of the first few raindrops on his jacket and a bottle of champagne inviting Chef Eric and the rest of the class to celebrate our special day with us.
The moment….that perfect romantic moment…still brings me to tears. I will always cherish the experience, the inspiration and the opportunity to step completely out of my comfort zone and say YES to the unknown. Thank you, Chef Eric, for encouraging and inspiring me to create new and wonderful recipes in my own Joyful Kitchen.