Posted by: Rachel | March 4, 2015

well, that was fun!

There is a company here in town that offers cooking classes. Oh yawn, you may say, but wait! They are offering classes in French, Spanish, and Chinese cooking, but taught in French, Spanish, and Chinese! Yup! They focus on the food and the culture of the countries represented and I think it is a great idea!

They have been around for 4 years or so, and how I missed them until now I cannot tell you. However, I got a coupon deal for a class and went last night. What fun!

There were six students, our “prof/chef”, and one other person from Cooking Up Cultures. It was a two-hour class and we managed to make all the components of a croquembouche! I’ve seen them do this on TV, and was amazed and delighted with how we were whisked (no pun intended) through the various steps involved.

I’m not going to try to tell you everything we did. And I very much doubt that I will ever undertake making one of these at home, but I had a blast. It takes quite a bit of planning and work. Basically you make a pâte à choux (puff pastry) which you bake as tiny balls, a crème pâtissière (pastry cream) for the filling, and then caramel for the “glue”. Whew! Mmmmmmmm!

Granted, our final product looked more like a Soviet housing block than an elegant representational Christmas tree… but it sure was tasty and no one was harmed by flying caramel, so I think the evening was a great success!

My friends and I had no trouble following the flow of French directions, but then I went with two good friends who are both fine French-speakers and seasoned (so to speak) cooks in their own rights. I hope to get to take another class through this group. Now if I only spoke Chinese… hmmm…

Here’s what some of the activity looked like.

madly making the pâte à choux

madly making the pâte à choux

whipping the pastry cream

whip that cream

pastry balls in the oven


filling the balls with pastry cream

stuff ’em

stacking and "glueing" the balls

stack ’em

Have you taken any cooking classes? What did you make? How did you enjoy it? I always learn something new, and last night was no exception!

Until next time, a bientôt et bon appetit!



  1. I expect you to learn Chinese by next week. Going to a class in French was too easy.

  2. Well, now I’m awaiting your next visit! looks yum

  3. I first met Cassie of Cooking up Cultures about 4 years ago when she was starting this venture. It’s genius really, when you think about it food is an international language of love. Glad to see the school is still thriving. Looks like you had a great time last night. Thanks for posting and reminding me of the school.

  4. I wanna do the one in Chinese… too bad I teach Tuesdays and Thursday nights!

  5. What fun! I made a croqueembouche a few years ago at Easter with my mum – it was only small but we were rather proud of it! Now you need to go to the Spanish class and report back to me 🙂

  6. Sounds great! >

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