Missing Paris? Me too.
Like so many people, Paris is my favorite city to visit. When I was in college, I studied for a year in Paris and some of my favorite things to do are things you do when you live someplace—including taking classes. I’ve taken classes on perfume making and open-air painting and cooking classes, of course.
My favorite place to take cooking classes is La Cuisine Paris. La Cuisine Paris is located on Quai de L’Hotel de Ville nestled between the popular and chic Marais neighborhood and charming Ile St. Louis. It overlooks the Seine and you couldn’t ask for a more picturesque location. It is a unique culinary school in that all the classes are taught by classically French-trained chefs but the classes are taught in English. This attracts an international clientele looking for a unique experience while they are in Paris. And now, you can have that experience as an armchair traveler.
Jane Bertch is an American living in Paris, and created La Cuisine Paris with her Parisian-born business partner in 2009. They created the school as a way to share culture through food and wanted to share the experience with visitors to Paris.
“I always wanted to create online classes for people who had been here before, or for people who had always wanted to come and take a class at La Cuisine Paris. The pandemic forced me to create them and now we can bring the experience of being at our school in Paris to anyone in their own home,” explained Jane, founder of La Cuisine Paris.
“I picked foods that people wanted to make at home and made sure that the ingredients were easy to find. Croissants is the most popular class—hands down. I think that is what resonates with people when they are missing Paris,” said Jane. “Macarons is the second most popular class. They have become a classic. Now, that people have the time to bake at home, it’s a fun activity for them. It’s really quite simple, but it takes time.”
I took the macaron class in Paris a few years ago, and I took the class again online. And, as much fun as the in-person class was, you can’t beat the virtual instruction that you can keep and refer to anytime that you want to make macarons at home. The class is organized in vignettes so that you can stop and start or review the previous steps as many time as you like. I love how the class starts with making the Classic Chocolate Ganache so that it is chilled and set by the time the macarons are ready to be filled.
When I took the class in person, we were taught the same recipes but because the recipes and the class are divided by teams, you don’t make every component—you share the macaron batter and fillings with your classmates. I wasn’t on the team that made the ganache filling and because of that, I either didn’t remember or didn’t know about the addition of butter. The ganache that I traditionally make is made of a base of heavy cream and dark chocolate. And, I am not alone. If you search your favorite American cook, chances are this is the way they make ganache as well.
I never add butter unless I am making an icing for a cake—but now, I will never make a ganache filling any other way. This French ganache is so much creamier than what I am used to making, and I am glad that I took the course online or I would have missed it again!
This class and any of the other five classes would make a great weekend experience while we are all still sticking close to home. It would also make a great birthday gift for your favorite home cook or baker, and a unique Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift that the whole family can enjoy.
The classes are 30 euros each and you can choose from Croissants & Breakfast Pastry Fundamentals, French Macarons—Two Classic Methods, Choux Pastry Fundamentals, Mastering French Souffles, French Bread Basics, and Classic French Sauces. Gift Certificates are also available so the recipient can chose the class themselves.
In the meantime, here is the La Cuisine Paris recipe for French Ganache.
La Cuisine Paris French Ganache
adapted from the La Cuisine Paris French Macarons Class.
2/3 cup (150g) dark chocolate, at least 64 Cacao
2/3 cup (150g) heavy cream
4 tablespoons (53g) unsalted butter, room temperature
Pinch of fine grain sea salt, optional
Cut or break the chocolate into small pieces and set aside. In a medium pan, bring the whipping cream to a just under a boil. Pour half the heated cream over dark chocolate. Let sit for a few seconds and mix until smooth. Pour the rest of the cream over the chocolate and whisk or mix with a fork until shiny.
Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes before adding the softened butter. Incorporate the butter until the ganache is smooth and has a Nutella-like texture. Add a pinch of salt if desired.
If using as a filling, put the ganache into the piping bag. It can also be stored in a glass jar. If using immediately, refrigerate for 40 minutes or until cool enough to pipe as a filling.
Ganache can be made up to 5 days in advance and brought to room temperature before using.