An after school activity in Provence the kids loved.. and me

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We have all been there. I’ve been there a thousand times. After school activities and the quest for something that they want to stick at.  Crowded swimming pool waiting rooms, windy athletic tracks – the same conversation over and over ‘you can’t give up yet you’ve just started’.  The joy when finally it works – well for a while anyway!

Day three of our arrival in Provence we were directed to a fabulous event in Aix showcasing hundreds of after school activities – all the usuals from home plus mountain biking, hiking, skiing.  Wednesday afternoon is when this all takes place as kids finish school at 12.  My eldest wanted to go mountain climbing and my youngest horse riding.  Both at the same time.   OK – a logistical nightmare but I tried.   I organised it and when the day came they both sung out ‘We don’t want to go – it’s in French!’.  I lost the argument and still feeling in holiday mood we went to the beach!!!!

Fast forward a few months and a friend suggested Madame Mathilde. A chef in Aix running a small cooking school. Now this was a little different and a friend of my eldest was already going….I spoke to the kids. ‘Yes, brilliant!’  they chimed excited by this new venture. Why hadn’t I thoughts of it. We are in the land of food and my kids so enjoy those rainy days at home when I cook with them.

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L’atelier de cuisine de Mathilde is housed in an apartment in the heart of the old part of Aix.  We entered the big blue door to wonderful smells and happy children excited by the activities ahead.  Mathilde is a lovely lady who left the business world and followed a dream inspired by her grandmother to become a chef and so she embarked on training in Marseilles and Paris and now runs this successful little school.

Holding classes for adults and children, Mathilde uses fresh local produce bought from the markets to make wonderful provencal dishes but is also happy to prepare dishes from around the world.  Next to her kitchen is the charming dining room where you may host a party and enjoy the dishes you have made (with champagne and wine, of course)!

The kids didn’t even notice that Mathilde ran the class in French (although she is fluent in English too). We took a risk and bought five classes and they enjoyed every one of the them. Chinese rolls, chocolate macaroons, sesame chicken and potato gratin, cupcakes and fresh pasta – so delicious and I enjoyed sampling all the goodies.  In fact they loved it so much that we decided to have my daughter’s birthday party there (which she shared with her best friend from London).   Sample adult dishes include veal stews, roast lamb with herbs and ravioli with fois gras.  I’ve cracked a couple of French dishes here but I’m definitely going to book to learn more with Mathilde.  As for the kids – they are learning to cook (French Style) and so far I haven’t heard those words ‘I don’t want to go back again’ Phew!!!!!

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