Just as you’re about to break those resolutions, here we are with inspiration to help you keep the one about learning a new skill – and take a holiday at the same time! Sounds too good to be true? Well, if you had asked us last week, we would probably have said that it is. But that was before we discovered the joy of culinary holidays – where you actually learn to cook the dishes yourself. Here, you can indulge your passion for food on a fun, cookery course and learn to cook authentic dishes in stunning surroundings.
Tired of serving your family the same dishes over and over? Or perhaps your family is tired of your signature dish. Well, to help find new inspiration, we have sampled our top learn-to-cook holidays around the globe that blend hands-on lessons, tours of local culture, wine and architecture and plenty of good food, of course. We wouldn’t have it any other way! Here, you can discover the joys of cooking, using the finest ingredients and learning the secrets of local dishes in a unique cooking experience. Spectacular holiday destinations provide the perfect backdrop for relaxed and friendly cookery classes where you can indulge your culinary passions.
Where else to start a tour of culinary experiences than in France? A quick journey across the Channel and you can indulge your passion for food, from fondues to wines and everything in between. Whether you’re looking to perfect your patisserie, learn how to cook up a cassoulet or merely aspire to the sybaritic pleasure of gathering wild herbs on a Provencal hillside and simmering them up into something fragrant, a cooking course in France turns a short break into an exciting and memorable event. And there are plenty of options to choose from. Many weekend courses combine hands-on practice with excursions to sample local specialities. Cook in France offers a number of short break courses across France.
San Sebastián is one of the great gastronomic capitals of Europe, famed for its Michelin-starred restaurants and its pintxos, the Basque country’s delicious take on tapas. And you can learn to make those pintxos yourself. San Sebastian Food can tailor-make culinary adventures to suit everyone’s culinary desires, ranging from a guided pintxo tasting tour to a lesson in the kitchen of a local chef. This is also the perfect opportunity to cook and eat delicious Basque speciality fish and seafood dishes. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even find inspiration at the three-Michelin-starred Arzak restaurant – or perhaps you’ll just have dinner there!
Moving away from Europe, Morocco is often underestimated by the many visitors that come to the country each year. True Moroccan cuisine is a heady mix of Persian, Indian and Spanish influences, so if you’re ready to let yourself be inspired by all corners of the world, Morocco is the place to learn to cook exciting and colourful dishes. Gourmet on Tour offers week-long trips based just outside the city of Marrakech, where culinary enthusiasts can learn how to make the salads that form the starter of a Moroccan meal, lamb dishes and, of course, tagines. Many of the courses also include a guided visit to the souks, a trip to the Atlas Mountains and plenty of time to explore the city on your own. Memorable cooking in memorable surroundings!
Many of us have probably already tried our luck at making Thai food at home, or what we consider Thai food! But a wok and a bunch of finely chopped vegetables don’t do it! For a true culinary experience of Thailand, an experience that is bound to move you beyond the traditional stir fry, take the Lemon Grass Trail offered by Telltale Travel. The Lemon Grass Trail is a two-week trip around Thailand, picking ingredients at organic farms, buying vegetables at morning markets, and fishing in the Andaman Sea. The trip begins in Bangkok and then transfers to Sena in the rural Central Plains, where the wife of the village’s headman will demonstrate authentic Thai cookery techniques. Then it’s on to Isan in the north east before ending up on the Andaman coast, to cook the fish you catch. It doesn’t get fresher than that.
Wild mountain herbs, olive oil, grilled meats and Cypriot wines and cheeses. Many of us have already had mouth-watering experiences with the Cypriot kitchen when visiting the destination on a beach holiday, and many of us have tried to cook the dishes at home in our own kitchens – without any great outcome! Now, you can learn from the experts at Paradisos Hills Hotel in Lysos in Cyprus. The hotel organises one- and three-day cooking classes for anyone who wants to learn the secrets of true Cypriot cuisine. The courses aim to teach you the skills and knowledge that are easy to repeat when you are back at home in your own kitchen. The course also introduces you to local ingredients, many of which are grown in the hotel’s organic garden.
If you haven’t had enough of Asian food (will we ever?!), On the Menu is featuring a great introduction to Asian cuisine by offering a cookery course which takes in trips to local markets and fishing villages, eating at authentic restaurants and learning how to use the herbs and spices that are so integral to Vietnamese cooking. Vietnam is a fascinating country, beyond its cuisine – rich in history, beautiful, friendly. The course takes place at a comfortable resort hotel in the French colonial quarter of Hoi An on the country’s central coast. The hands-on cooking lessons promise to cover the three regional cooking influences – north, south and central.
Where better to finish our gastronomic tour than in the food capital of Europe, Tuscany in Italy?! But this is not your ordinary cookery course. Ramblers is offering a combined walking and cooking tour of Tuscany called ‘Tuscan Lifestyle’. The Italian walking holiday includes lessons in local cooking, where morning walks go hand in hand with afternoons in the kitchen. The active holiday mixes relatively easy walking, some sightseeing and some insight into – and practice at – Italian cooking, to provide a ‘lifestyle’ holiday full of local interest.
What better way to discover a country than through its food? With our selection of culinary trips, you’ll return with expert skills to brighten up your daily dinner table and spice up your life – and make that holiday feeling last a bit longer. Who said New Year resolutions can’t be kept? We didn’t!