This semester I'm enrolled in a French Gastronomy and Cuisine class here at IES Abroad, with a fantastic professor. This class focuses on various aspects of French food, like wine, cheese, regional specialties, as well as the history of French dishes and ingredients. We've even learned proper French etiquette. Throughout this semester, we've had wine and cheese or aperatif pairings, wine comparisons, learned how to properly taste a wine, and tasted other random foods. Honestly, this has been one of my favorite classes here. Each class is exciting and the information is incredibly interesting and it's obvious the professor is passionate about French cuisine, making us more interested in the subject. My favorite classes would definitely be where we tasted 17 different cheese with three different wines, or where we made five different recipes (creme brulee, chocolate orange souffle, chocolate cake, mushroom sauce, and hot Camembert cheese), or maybe one of our field studies, where we got to help a baker make croissants and pain au chocolat. Nevertheless, each class was a blast and I'm so glad I had the chance to take it. I honestly wish this class was more than just 2 and a half hours each week because it was just that amazing. The work load was very moderate, with optional readings (that I highly recommend, they are very interesting), and the course was taught extremely well. Fortunately, this same professor offered around 7 cooking workshops throughout the semester, on Friday afternoons (about 2 a month). We made things like chesse souffles, traditional French cakes, cream puffs, meringues, and so many more. During each workshop, we all took turns doing something, like weighing ingredients or mixing the batter whil our professor supervised, since some of these recipes were very easy to mess up. While we waited for the food to finish cooking or baking, we would sit around the table drinking tea and talking about whatever, be it our favorite foods to make at home, differences between French and American food and cooking, or even non-food related subjects. I was extremely happy that I was able to attend all the cooking workshops. They were first come first serve, and I usually waited until the day before to sign up, so I honestly didn't feel bad that I went to all of them. Their loss not mine! Each workshop came with a typed version of the recipe so we could recreate the dishes when we return to the US, which I plan on doing for sure!
The course and the cooking workshops really helped reinforce my love and passion for cooking and baking (I mean, I'm already planning on going to grad school for food chemistry, with the possibility of opening a bakery sometime down the line). I think it was obvious to my professor that cooking and baking was very important to me, and I'm honestly a little sad that both the class and workshops are done. I'm very lucky to have had this chance, and I would highly recommend anyone in this program to take it!
I'll post pictures of everything I've made in the workshop and in the course, to try and persuade you to take this course in the future!
Until next time!
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<p>I'm Iggy Takahashi, a junior studying biochemistry and French studies at the University of Portland and studying abroad in Nantes, France. I love baking, cooking, travelling, exploring, and of course spending time with my family and cats. I have traveled to Spain, China, and throughout the United States, and I hope to continue to do so after graduating!</p>