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“A life-changing experience”

Le Calabash Petit Conservatoire de la Cuisine
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: USD 86 - USD 2,257
Cuisines: African, French, Contemporary, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Description: Le Calabash is set in a small French hamlet. Alison and Sidney are both accomplished chefs of international standard and the service is personal and friendly. The restaurant / culinary school is small and cosy which includes a cookery school and accomadation. Meals include a demonstration on selected days. They take bookings for private parties and groups.
Reviewed 4 July 2018

I spent 10 days with Sidney and Alison Bond at their exquisite culinary school in the Loire region of France. My experience far exceeded any preconceived notions. From the moment I arrived, I was made to feel like I was part of the family. The Bonds are the perfect hosts, and their offering is truly unique. I learned classic French dishes and techniques, all infused with a generous helping of South African flavour and culture. The entire trip was filled with laughter, genuine friendships and heaps of incredible food and wine. Sidney and Alison also fund and find sponsorships for impoverished young chefs from around the world, and help them on their way up the culinary ladder. This was truly an unforgettable and inspiring experience!

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Thank Katie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 - 6 of 174 reviews

Reviewed 15 June 2018

Great exploration of food, cooking techniques and the history behind it all. The level of care given to each attendee was also amazing!

Review collected in partnership with this restaurant
Thank kasacoaching
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2018

It was always a dream to visit France. To have combined this magical country with two of the most delightful people you will ever meet was simply beyond my most enchanted midnight creation. Spending the week with Allison and Sidney at Le Calabash Petit Conservatoire de la Cuisine was the type of trip you see in the movies. Where you meet people from all over the world...and you like them. And you have wine and cheese together. The kind of week that you do not want to end. The kind of escape that makes all of the long work weeks so worth it. This is not just a place you go to learn to cook. It is an experience where you are realize of how food is best when the eyes, nose and mouth are all charmed at the same time. You will be reminded why farmers should be our heros and you will see why the countryside of France is legendary. If you are lucky enough to get to spend a week with Sidney and Allison, you will never forget it....Every moment of our time there was simply perfect. And I actually learned a bit about cooking!
Susan Medlin

Review collected in partnership with this restaurant
Thank susanmF646FR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lecalabash, Owner at Le Calabash Petit Conservatoire de la Cuisine, responded to this reviewResponded 14 June 2018

Dear Susan

Thank you so much for your kind words, we loved sharing our Culinary World with you and having you here on a Culinary Adventure.

Kindest Regards
Alison and Sid

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2017

My wife and I recently visited Le Calabash for a week full of cooking, learning, exploring, eating, laughing, and eating. Oh, did I mention eating? The Loire Valley is such a beautiful part of France to explore and is the perfect backdrop to the charming cooking school at Le Calabash. Chefs Sidney and Alison Bond welcome you with open arms into their professional kitchen/school and truly make you feel as though you are part of the family. The is not the type of cooking school experience that so many of us have had in the past where you are a faceless/nameless student who just happens to be sitting in the same room as the large group, watching the demonstration, and a little hands-on if you are lucky, hoping that you are learning something that you might be able to replicate when you get home. From the start, you are elbow deep/hands-on and you are learning a much higher level of cooking than your “normal” cooking class. As you learn and then you prepare what you have learned, you start forming bonds with the other culinary adventurers in your small group experience. People who started out as strangers, leave as friends…even though one or two of us may have won the soufflé competition. Oh, by the way, we learned soufflés…not just one soufflé, several soufflés (sweet and savory). And, not to overshadow the fact that we learned how to make macarons. Oh, how I love thee, French macarons! It is a fun atmosphere and everyone got along and had a very good time. Sidney and Alison are so skilled and knowledgeable in their field. They really are interested in you learning more about cooking and more about food. We enjoyed meeting them and learning from them so much, that this was our second trip with them (and the first at their school in France). Our first trip with the Bonds at Le Calabash was an amazing adventure starting in their South African kitchen and ending up on safari (and cooking) in Namibia two years ago. Their African adventure was the kind of trip that dreams are made of. Lions, cheetahs, leopards, cooking, wine, gin & tonics, friendship, and so much more. I cannot say enough about the professionalism, yet personal touches that we all received. I am a much better cook because of them. I hope to be back (at one of their locations) again someday…both Africa and France were amazing (and totally different experiences). Thank you to Sidney, Alison, Abigail, and Rebekah!

Tips:
Come to the Loire Valley a couple days early and explore the area/Chateaux not visited during the week. It is also especially helpful if you are coming from far away to deal with jetlag because you want to be able to cook, cook, and cook (and eat, of course). We contacted Le Calabash directly prior to our trip and received some excellent recommendations for sightseeing in and around the Loire Valley from Rebekah.

If you are lucky enough as we were during our visit, you might also get the opportunity to sample the absolutely divine chocolates created by the extremely talented (yet humble and shy) budding chocolatier, Abigail.

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Thank EasyGoingTraveller39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 October 2017

This was my third visit to le Calabash and I was not disappointed, it was more than I expected. The Dinner demonstration was second to none and the meal served was one of the best I have experienced this year. Abigail's Chocolates were the highlight of my visit. Will be back.

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1  Thank ScottyWise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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