LA NOYÈRE – floral arrangement and cookery courses
by Vivian Holding
Next time you’re thinking of learning a new skill or looking for something creative to do, don’t assume you have to book a flight to the UK to find a decent course. Sure, there is a bigger choice of courses there, however since my discovery of La Noyère, I am determined to find out (and share with you) more of what is on offer in Geneva and surrounding areas.
Always on the lookout for something creative to do, I booked a place at La Noyère on their gastronomy/floristry workshop ‘Une Table de Noël’ in December 2017. The courses by Anne-Catherine and Anne-Claude take place in Anne-Catherine’s gorgeous 17th century ‘Maison de Maître’, situated in Mont-sur-Rolle, a small village set in the surrounding vineyards of La Côte (between Geneva and Lausanne).
Two very talented ladies
Anne-Catherine started running a twice-yearly market at la Noyére, which is where she met Anne-Claude who was selling her gourmet food products. Over the years, their friendship grew through their common passion for all things culinary and creative. Luckily for us, their desire to share their know-how resulted in their creative courses, which they have been running successfully for the past four years.
Anne-Claude has always been passionate about flavours. She knows how to pass on her knowledge thanks to simple recipes, which can be adapted to our daily lives using seasonal ingredients.
Anne-Catherine worked at the school of floral art in Paris and then at Kenneth Turner in London (a-ha, so that’s why her English is so good!), to develop and practice the art of flowers.
“I like to convey my passion for the plant – the mixture of colours and shapes, not to mention the subtle perfume of flowers,” she says.
The originality of their concept is the marriage between culinary flavours and floral scents, combined in a charming and historical setting.
A warm welcome
The day started with a welcome from the two of them. Anne-Claude leads the cookery class, where we started our day. Our menu had been chosen to encompass the theme of ‘Une Table de Noël’ – starting with a tartare of salmon, avocado, pomegranate and lime, with a boned quail marinated with Chinese style spices and a mango sauce as a main course, served with rice and vegetables and ending with a ginger panna cotta topped with a mandarin coulis and served with a mandarin salad. The menu was chosen specifically for Christmas. It is festive, delicious and perfect for entertaining, as much of the hard work is in the preparation, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy with your guests.
Set to work
Each of us (we were 7) were given a part of the menu to prepare and/or cook, under the supervision of Anne-Claude. There was ample time for everyone to wander around the kitchen to see what the others were doing and to ask questions. This gave us time to get to know each other a little better and everyone was in a festive mood.
Once the lesson had finished, it was time to sit down and enjoy the fruits of our labour. We entered Anne-Catherine’s impressive dining room, with her magnificent dining table beautifully decorated with different floral items (we learned that we would be recreating many of these in the afternoon – how exciting!)
The fruits of our labour
Lunch was served and all three dishes were absolutely delicious. The starter was light and fresh, the mains added a fragrant touch and the quail was cooked to perfection, while the dessert was heaven on a plate.
After lunch we made our way to Anne-Catherine’s workshop, via her beautiful garden, where she explained how to create each floral decoration. Everyone had the opportunity to use their own creative input using any of the plants, flowers, stems, branches and greenery that were amply provided. Anne-Catherine was on hand to assist in her very relaxed and friendly way.
I left the course having created several beautiful decorative items (see photos), as well as being given a small tree made of silver birch, twigs and moss made by a local artisan, matching the other items we had made perfectly. We were also given a pretty candle and an iced biscuit – Christmas had certainly come early!
I met some lovely people on the course and although run in French, anyone with a reasonable level of French could participate, as it is all pretty much hands-on. Anne-Catherine speaks English and is available to assist Anne-Claude if you are in need of any explanations/translations in English. I found both Anne-Catherine and Anne-Claude to be great instructors.
Courses cost between 100-160chf, depending on content. My course was 140chf, which I thought a fair price considering it included the cookery course, lunch, all the materials used in the floristry workshop as well as the lovely gifts. Group private courses can be arranged directly with them, with a minimum of six participants required.
If you are interested in taking part in any of the upcoming workshops, visit the website. I have already booked another two courses – ‘Une Fête de Pâques’ and ‘Grillades Estivales’ – I can’t wait to go back and see how Anne-Catherine’s garden changes through the seasons and to meet some more lovely people. See you there!