The cooking project “Plaisirs de Cuisinier” is back in 2022 for our pupils of the CM2 A class! Every month, our young cooks will discover a new recipe from the French or Polish culinary heritage…
Thanks to this project, our pupils will explore French and Polish traditions from another angle, which is the pleasure of cooking and eating. Among other things, they will discover the requirements of being a professional chef, learn to enjoy new ingredients and spices, and tackle the challenge of preparing real traditional recipes, all while having fun!
These workshops also allow children to acquire new knowledge, as well as learn specific vocabulary, and new techniques.
> Workshop no. 1: “Pierniki”
On December 18th, 2021, the CM2 A class was introduced to the recipe of the famous “Pierniczki świąteczne”, or in English, “Christmas Gingerbread”. This traditional Christmas gingerbread, which is a recipe that people have been preparing since the time of Ancient Greece, is a sweet and spicy tasting biscuit that can be stored for a long time.
From the Middle Ages, and more specifically in Northern Europe (countries around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea), gingerbread was a mark of success and luxury since importing the ingredients that were needed to make it was very costly.
In Polish, the word “pierny” means “peppery” and the original recipe consisted of honey, flour and pepper.
The type of spices that are used depends on the recipes and on the regional traditions (honey, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, coriander seeds, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise, allspice, black pepper, cocoa…).
In Sweden and in Poland, in the 15th and 17th centuries, gingerbread was sold in pharmacies as an effective remedy for many diseases. It is also worth noting that the most renowned gingerbread comes from Toruń (with its famous Katarzynki and its Museum of Gingerbread), and that some was also produced in Kraków and in Szczecin (in the 20th century).
Gingerbread can even be turned into a gourmet art piece (smaller and larger biscuits, which are often decorative, covered with sugar syrup, icing and colored sprinkles, dried fruits or beeswax)!
> Workshop no. 2: “Galette des Rois”
On January 5th, 2022, our pupils took up the challenge of making the famous “Galette des Rois”!
This traditional French recipe can vary from region to region. The cake will for example be different depending on if it comes from Paris, Dunkirk or from the France-Comté region, and can either be prepared with puff pastry, brioche or even incorporate almond cream or candied fruit.
The tradition of the “Galette des rois”, which was originally pagan, dates back to ancient Rome with the Saturnalia celebrations. Nowadays, the cake is prepared and enjoyed in January to celebrate the Epiphany. Following the tradition, the person who finds a figurine in their slice becomes the king or queen of the day!
> Workshop no. 3: “Crêpes”
On February 18th, 2022, for their third workshop, our pupils of the CM2 A class prepared delicious Crêpes!
Usually associated with Candlemas and childhood, their origins date back about 9,000 years. In France, and more particularly in Brittany, the recipe emerged in the 13th century thanks to the buckwheat that was brought from Asia after the Crusades. The preparation is then known as the “Galette bretonne” (made from buckwheat) ,which it is eaten savory, and as the wheat Crêpe (prepared with wheat flour, milk and egg), which is eaten sweet. In Brittany, Crêpes and Galettes are cooked on a crepe maker with a flat rake and a spatula.
Like many recipes, crêpes are consumed all over the world and their preparation varies. They can for example be made with plain flour in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Eastern Europe, North America, Morocco and Lebanon; with buckwheat flour in Russia and Quebec; with corn flour in the Basque Country, Central America and Mexico; with wheat flour in Italy; or even with chickpea or lentil flour, rice or semolina…
For this workshop, our pupils chose to prepare them sweet and served them with a variety of toppings and fillings: salted butter caramel, apple and honey, strawberry coulis, raspberry coulis, butter and sugar, lemon and sugar, cottage cheese and even banana and chocolate!
> Workshop no. 4: “Pizza”
On March 7th, 2022, for the fourth “Plaisirs de Cuisinier” workshop, the spotlight was put on Italian cuisine through one of its most popular dishes: pizza!
Primarily known in Italy as “the dish of the poor”, the recipe quickly took over Europe and the rest of the world to become a staple dish, to such extent that in 2017, Neapolitan pizzas became part of UNESCO’s heritage.
To prepare this recipe that they also love, the pupils of course made everything from scratch. First, they proceeded to prepare their homemade dough, which they left to rest. They then made the tomato sauce that would serve as a base using fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, onions and oregano, and then proceeded to chop up the various toppings (mushrooms, peppers, goat cheese, mozzarella…). Finally, they all assembled their own pizza using the ingredients of their choosing and put it in the oven!