Thursday, September 12, 2013


You waited to sign up for cooking classes with chef David Reynoso and company at Al Forno (577 South Main Street - until you read the blurb in ProJo and you were, as usual, too late. Every single class was sold out. But do this, call Lexi at 401-273-9760 and put yourself on the wait-list. I did this last-minute for a cooking class and got lucky. Life intervenes, people over-commit, so put yourself on the wait-list for: September 28 (Al Forno Classics); November 2 (Local Waters); November 16 (Local Classics II); November 30 (Apples Apples Everywhere) or December 7 (Christmas at Al Forno). Classes are noon to 2:00 on Saturdays - $65.

THE FRENCH TARTE  (1005 Main St  Pawtucket  774- 280-4803)

ready to rise
French Tarte classes are fun; afterwards I barely made it to the car before taking the first ethereal bite of a still-warm croissant. Susan VandenBerg teaches in a clear orderly way. She makes rolling out the croissant dough look easy - demonstrating technique, she rolls, cuts long triangles and forms perfect shapes while you, intent on getting it right, roll awkwardly, cut pretty good triangles, and create a few croissant which look like mangled hot dogs and a couple that are picture perfect. Then you form a pain au chocolat and have a Voilà moment because it looks authentic.

The Croissant classes are two hours long and cost $45 - worth every centime for a morning spent learning and working (with wonderful buttery pastry smells filling the air), sampling the goods and going home with a box of treats and a packet of dough to freeze and roll out later. Paradise, really. So, go on line and check out all Susan's classes: tartes; croissant; sablés, pâte feuilletée and brioche. Some of the classes are full but if you need particular dates, try the wait list.

I wrote about Ciril Hitz's classes last spring. Here's an excerpt from that piece:

Ciril Hitz has a BFA in Industrial Design from RISD. A Swiss native, he returned to Switzerland after graduation and apprenticed as a pastry chef and chocolatier. Hitz came back to the States in 1997 and joined the Johnson & Wales faculty. He teaches full-time at the International Baking and Pastry Institute and wins accolades for his work with both breads and pastry. And on weekends, Hitz will teach you at his place in nearby Rehobeth, MA. His classes are small (6-8 persons) and they sell out.

Check out the remainder of the fall schedule, which is mostly about bread and, later, Christmas cookies.

pain au chocolat at the french tarte class