Les Deux Gourmands a Paris

What’s not to love about Paris in the springtime?  The cool, sunshine soaked air scented with fresh blooms, the vibrant new green growth exploding in the manicured parks seems to give life to every tree-lined boulevard or even the cafes and outdoor markets—it’s truly a delightful place to be. For Martin’s birthday in 2014, we took to Paris to enjoy the vernal offing of winter and indulge in the seasonal bounty of Spring. 

For his birthday surprise, we spent a late afternoon at a Parisian market cooking class where we learned how to shop like a Parisian, choosing the best, local ingredients, and then transform them into a delicious four-course dinner.  With the guidance of our wonderful (and incredibly pregnant) chef Constance, our seasonally inspired menu included hors d'oeuvres of cured meats and local cheeses, a creamy leek and seared sea scallop starter, seared duck breast crusted in espelette pepper and served over cooked white asparagus and roasted potatoes for the main, and Moelleux au Chocolat for dessert. 

Cooking classes are an excellent way to go deeper in a destination, especially one that will take you to a local market. And really there’s no better way to celebrate life than by cooking a meal together while traveling!

From Cook’n with Class (Paris)

FILET DE CANARD EN CROUTE D'ESPELETTE                                                                       

Duck breast crusted in Espelette (sweet paprika)                                                                                

Recipe for 4 people


2 duck breasts, trimmed, scored                                                                                                            


Piment d'Espelette (or sweet paprika)


1)    Preheat your grill or heavy bottomed skillet. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

2)    Score the skin side of the breasts with the tip of a sharp knife, try not to cut all the way to the meat.

3)    Season with salt and abundant amount of piment d’Espelette on both sides of the breasts.

4)    Put on the grill, skin side down for about 4 minutes.

5)    Flip breasts and cook for another 2 minutes.

6)    Transfer on a cookie sheet lined with foil and finish in the oven. Duck is generally served medium (70c, 160F). Let rest few minutes, then cut on an angle with a sharp knife.