Deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, visitors and locals alike can learn to cook, taste, share and laugh as part of Fischer & Wieser’s new Culinary Adventure Cooking School, now open within the historic Das Peach Haus in Fredericksburg.
Each 2-3 hour class features a four-course lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch with wines from the Hill Country (now America’s second most visited viticultural region, after only Napa Valley), and each opens a window onto one of the Lone Star State’s dazzling cuisines. The flavorful journey also includes notes on local history and culture, techniques from chefs and grandmothers, tips on Fredericksburg wineries and restaurants, and no shortage of wisdom about food, wine and life. All classes will be given in Das Peach Haus, on US 87 about one mile south of Main Street.
“My family and I always enjoy taking cooking classes when we travel,” offers Fischer & Wieser President/CEO Case D. Fischer. “Besides the pleasures of eating and drinking local favorites, a cooking class is a place you can share stories, thoughts and feelings, not only with your instructors but with your fellow students from all over the world. We believe Fredericksburg deserves a culinary adventure of this caliber.”
The cooking school writes the next chapter in a story that began with peach trees growing on the Wieser family’s land in the 1920s and the official founding of Fischer & Wieser by Fischer and Mark Wieser in 1969. In recent years, as Americans not only traveled more broadly in foreign countries but purchased more “ethnic” food products from the shelves of their own supermarkets, Fischer & Wieser noticed a growing sense of openness, curiosity and discovery. The company motto became “Inspiring Your Culinary Adventure,” and the push began to develop an expanded spectrum of products as well as share interesting kitchen techniques in a cooking school format.
John DeMers, the company’s Director of Culinary Hospitality and author of 56 published books, is host instructor. The New Orleans native has taught classes regularly over the years at Central Market, Sur la Table and other cooking schools. He is the former Food Editor of United Press International and the Houston Chronicle, traveling for research to 137 foreign countries, as well as the host of a weekly food and wine radio show for 26 years. His current show, Fischer & Wieser’s Culinary Adventure, is heard Saturdays and Sundays in the Texas Hill Country.
“I’ve been fortunate in my life to go a lot of places to eat a lot of things,” DeMers says. “All the same, food is always about sharing, and this warm, welcoming cooking school is the best place I know to share flavors and techniques from all over the world.”
One class titled HILL COUNTRY GERMAN FEAST takes place Friday evenings at 6, with a menu of Sauerkraut Soup, Jaegerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy, Warm Bacon Potato Salad and Schnapps Apple Cake. Saturday’s lunchtime demonstration HILL COUNTRY TUSCAN FEAST, beginning at 11:30, spotlights Tomato-Basil Bruschetta, White Beans & Greens Ribolitta, Penne Strascicate (or vegetarian Penne con Piselle) and Peach Biscotti Crumble with Vin Santo Whipped Cream. HILL COUNTRY BRUNCH is offered as a hands-on class Sundays at Noon, featuring a menu of Almond Cherry Jubilee Danish, Strawberry Pecan Green Salad, Frito Pie Frittata and Amaretto Peach Pecan Bread Pudding.
Guests are invited to sign up for one of the school’s scheduled theme classes, or to inquire about a customized class for groups of 8 to 20, in the new theater classroom or gathered around the friendly Cooking Table. Bookings of the weekly scheduled classes should be made on www.jelly.com.
Story by John DeMers