I don’t take a cooking class in EVERY country, but I’d like to. I love to learn about local cultures through food and I look for that experience when I can find it. In some countries finding a class is difficult or impossible. Other times it just doesn’t fit my schedule. But I always make an effort and when I do attend a class I am never disappointed. Just today I signed up for a cooking class for my upcoming visit to Hong Kong.
I can recommend all of the cooking classes below…many of these I have written blogs about and you can click directly to read those blog entries. I encourage you to consider cooking classes, even if
cooking isn’t a big part of your life. Taking a class in a foreign country with local people, often in their homes and with their families, is one of the most rewarding ways to open up the cultural lines of communication all while enjoying a delicious and fun experience. Fabulous!
Tuscany/Italy – My first cooking class took place in Tuscany with a group of friends we were traveling with seven years ago. We learned to make an amazing meal from the owner of the Villa where we were staying. She was a former chef and chocolatier! Our amazing meal included handmade pasta, vegetable terrine, beef loin and lots and lots of wine.
Argentina – We took a very fun cooking class in Buenes Aires during our two day visit prior to getting on a cruise ship. Unfortunately we were so jet-legged the experience is a little bit fuzzy in my memory. The class was
held in the home of the chef, and there were about 8 people in attendance. We made several different kinds of empanadas, made delicious chimichurri sauce and butter cookies and learned about Matte – the unique and ubiquitous drink of Argentina.
South Korea – in Seoul I spent two full days with a world famous South Korean Chef the Korean Food and Culture Academy and it remains one of my all time favorite experiences. One of the days I was with just one other student. The second day I was with four other students. I learned to cook about a dozen dishes including Kimchee and I have used these recipes over and over
ever since. Who knew Korean food was so amazing? I didn’t and that is one of the best parts of the experience.
Croatia – I’m a sucker for slow roasted meats and it’s one of the staple foods in many of the East European countries. My experience in Croatia was a mouth watering one, learning the ancient and incredibly delicious process of cooking Peka over an open fire. The lamb dish is spectacularly delicious and a celebratory Croatian speciality.
Guatemala – I loved my full-day private cooking class in Antiqua Guatemala. I had the chef all to myself and an English translator. We made several dishes, enough to feed an army, and I ended up taking all the food home to enjoy another full meal with my husband. Learning
to make the tortillas was a favorite activity, that proved much more difficult that you might expect!
Morocco – In Asilah Morocco we were blessed to have the most wonderful Airbnb that included a daily housekee and full-time cook. What a special treat that was during our ten days in this tiny
ocean front village. Each day she cooked for us and we watched and learned from her. We also went with her to the market and learned about the local specialities from tagine to couscous.
Thailand – It’s a tough call for me to say which class was my favorite but I would definitely put my two days at the Thai Kitchen Cookery School in Chiang Mai very near the top. It was a comedy of errors how I ended up there, but in hindsight I was so glad I did. I loved the class, the staff and the wonderful foods I enjoyed over my two-days with them.
South Africa – Several of the classes I have taken over the years have been in the personal homes of the chef, bringing me closer to the local
culture in a familiar and family way. In Capetown South Africa my husband and enjoyed a wonderful evening in the home of our Chef who taught us about local cuisine from the African culture with the European influence. We ate Emu for the first time and many other delicious dishes as well as exceptional South African wines with our Chef and her husband.
Vietnam – One of my all time favorite cooking experiences was in Hoi An Vietnam, which coincidentally is also one of my all time favorite cities. I took an all day class at the famous Mrs. Vys Cooking School.
The class began with a bike ride around the city that included stops at several markets, a beautiful organic community garden and at the home of a bean sprout farmer . I learned so much and enjoyed the bike ride as well. Returning to the school we toured the multiple cooking stations within the school watching the professionals making food beautiful before heading upstairs to the kitchen to tackle our own recipes. I ate so much that day, and learned so much, and highly recommend this place if you are ever in Hoi An. I hope to return some day.
Spain – I loved Barcelona, and especially loved the famous Mercado de la Boqueria for its color and festive atmosphere as well as delicious and fresh food. It was here where my class began, touring, tasting and
purchasing the ingredients before heading upstairs to cook. Our three-hours class included such Catalan specialities as paella, gazpacho and Spanish Tortilla. I have cooked these items many times since.
Poland – Krakow is one of my favorite European cities, under-appreciated by many visitors to Europe.
We loved the food of Krakow and did a food walking and drinking tour as well as a pierogi cooking class. My teacher was a young college student who was born and raised in Krakow. We met at the market where she helped us speak Polish to the vendors to acquire the ingredients we needed for our dish. We then proceeded to her tiny, communist era apartment where we maneuvered around her little kitchen learning to make the dough and the stuffing for several different pierogi. It was one of my favorite classes ever.
Belize – Learning about the food and culture of the Garifuna people of Belize, with our two adult sons was a highlight of our family time together in Belize. Cooking outdoors on an open fire with Chef Gloria doing everything from breaking and shredding the coconut to pounding the yams with a wooden mallet made the final delicious dinner all the more satisfying and fun.
So those are some of my favorite cooking class experiences over the past several years. To be sure I will be writing about more wonderful cooking experiences in the future. Because life is fabulous and delicious!