Cook like a local: the best cooking classes around the world
By Heather Snowden
For many, total immersion in local cuisine is one of the best things about travelling – but you don’t have to only treat your taste buds with exciting new dishes when you’re on holiday. With the number of cooking courses available, you can learn to create your favourite foreign feeds and recreate them at home, meaning tangible memories of an awesome trip can stay with you for a lifetime.
Here are some of our favourite cooking courses from around the world.
Gourmet tour & pasta making class – Modena, Italy
Cooking with fresh, simple products is the name of the game when taking the Gourmet Tour & Pasta Making Class with Emilia Delizia. A traditional experience that delivers as much in knowledge as it does in taste, here you’ll begin your day wandering around a cheese dairy farm, learning all about Parmesan and how it’s made. After a 90-minute tour and generous tasting, you’ll move on to balsamic vinegar; not only discovering what goes into its production but how to match different ages with food.
Next, it’s straight to the farm kitchen to apply the knowledge acquired earlier in the day to the art of making fresh pasta. Classes are available in English. Should your trip not take you to Modena, alternative tours and classes can be booked in Bologna, Lake Garda, and other popular destinations.
Balinese cooking class – Bali, Indonesia
When eating your way around Indonesia, don’t pass up the opportunity to learn authentic Balinese cuisine with Yogi. Classes are taught from her home and take approximately four hours. During this time you’ll learn the basics of traditional dishes; from Sate Lilit, a Balinese satay dish, to Pesan, steamed meat wrapped in banana leaves, and Jukut Meurab, a vegetable coconut dish.
Dishes can be catered specially towards your tastes as Yogi is happy to adapt to your dietary restrictions if you let her know in advance. What’s more, after class you’ll be sent a full write-up of the recipes you’ve learned so you can recreate the dishes once you’re back home.
Clock Kitchen – Fez, Morocco
Think of Clock Kitchen as your entry point to learning Moroccan cuisine. Taught by resident chefs in the heart of the ancient medina, you’ll learn to prepare authentic Moroccan dishes that have been passed down for generations.
Your day will kick off with a trip to the local souk, mingling with donkeys, bargaining with vendors, and selecting the ingredients that will form the meal you’re about to prepare. Once back in the kitchen, together with your classmates, you’ll whip up a traditional three-course feast – whether that be tagine, couscous, harira, date pastries, or whatever’s decided for you that day. And, of course, you’ll eat it all, too.
Shashi’s cooking classes – Rajasthan, India
Don’t be alarmed if various family members and friends come and go while you’re learning traditional Indian food with Shashi, for that’s part of the fun with this homely cooking course. Through the hours spent in her kitchen, you’ll learn a wealth of information about spices, and how to use them in a way that’ll bring out the flavor in every dish you make.
Be sure to skip breakfast, as this is a course that promises to leave your stomach as full as your mind. From pakoras to parathas, chapatis to paneer, even the most educated of foodies will benefit from the culinary expertise Shashi has to offer.
Classes are taught in small groups of three to four people, and last for four hours. All the spices you use are available to purchase after class.
The School of Artisan Food – Nottingham, UK
Nottingham, England – Robin Hood’s old stomping ground – might not be the first place that springs to mind when looking to learn the ins and outs of British cuisine, but The School of Artisan Food will surprise you. With a wealth of course options to choose from: butchery, chocolate, baking, cheesemaking, curing, beer brewing, there really is something for everyone.
Many who’ve studied at this culinary school have gone on to open their own businesses, but you don’t have to aspire to professional levels in order to enjoy the courses on offer.
Located in the stunning grounds of the Welbeck Estate, the surroundings are another reason that this stellar culinary experience is worth the trip.
Atelier Guy Martin – Paris, France
Fancy being taught the ropes of French cookery by a two-star Michelin chef? Then Atelier Guy Martin is the place for you. Passionate and self-taught, this course invites you into the fascinating world of a cook whose humor and dedication has spawned a dedicated culinary following.
Lessons aren’t cheap, but that’s to be expected when playing in the big leagues. The content varies depending on the season, but expect to prepare multiple courses of reimagined classics, such as Filet de Sole in an iodized emulsion, Crème brûlée with artichokes, candied vegetables, and bitter almond sherbet.
Every class is followed by a tasting session, except for the pastry classes where you’re invited to take your treats home with you.
Mykonian Spiti cooking classes – Mykonos, Greece
You might want to consider wearing an elasticated waistband for this Greek cooking course because the amount of delicious food you’ll consume will require extra space. Taking place in her beautiful Mykonian home, Teta, your host, will guide you through her vegetable garden and teach you the basics of organic farming before leading you into the kitchen.
Throughout the class, you’ll learn to perfect staple dishes like tzatziki and spinach pie, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, beef with orzo, and a variety of other dishes one would usually find on a traditional Mykonian menu. Also, if you let Teta know in advance, you have the option to visit the family’s animal farm, their vineyard, and – if you’re lucky – swim off your lunch with a dip at a beautiful nearby beach.
Tokyo Kitchen – Toyko, Japan
It goes without saying that one of the best things to do in Japan is to eat your way through traditional cuisine, so why not learn how to recreate it at home? The course options available at Tokyo Kitchen may seem overwhelming at first, but unlike any other course on this list, here you can choose specific dishes, meaning you’ll learn to make the meals you enjoy the most.
Expected dishes such as tempura and katsu curry are of course on the list, but there are also super fun options to pick from – who wouldn’t want to learn how to make teddy bear and bunny shaped sushi rolls?
Mexican Ancestry Cooking School – Guanajuato, Mexico
Renowned for her outstanding tamales, cooking with Marilau is one of the best ways to learn the art of the Mexican kitchen.
You’ll be cooking side-by-side with Marilau, experiencing something she likes to call an immersion in the ancestry of Mexican cuisine. While preparing a three-course lunch, which will be somewhat of a sensory overload – from watching dried chilis morph into rich sauces, to smelling fresh herbs and spices – you’ll also learn about the history behind the dishes you’ve prepared.
Marilau isn’t one of those brilliant chefs that keeps all the tricks of her trade up her sleeve either, so expect to leave with some insider tips that’ll make your home cooked dinner all the better.
CPH Good Food – Copenhagen, Denmark
Regional flavours cooked with seasonal ingredients is the vibe championed at CPH Good Food, a company that aims to highlight the unique ingredients and simple techniques that make up Nordic cuisine.
A standard course will take you through Scandinavian home comforts, you’ll learn how to make seeded rye bread, as well as dishes such as beer braised pork cheeks with lingonberries, and apple pudding with skyr – an Icelandic dairy product – and malt cookies.
The lessons last around four hours, and are aimed at beginners, so you don’t have to be hitting Noma levels to get the most out of this fun experience.
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