Holidays are no longer the humble package tour. People are demanding more from their time away and learning the art of creating good food is one of the fastest growing learncations around. Essential Travel has scoured the latest culinary holidays, from the romantic lights of Rome to the culturally rich city of Mexico, and would like to announce the Top Ten Best Culinary Holidays that can take you on an appetising journey across the world.
Gokpinar Retreat Centre, a culinary school run by Caravan Turkey, sits on the Aegean Coast on a hilltop overlooking the countryside and surrounding traditional village. It runs specialised cooking classes along with traditional Turkish accommodation.
The food is made with fresh, organic fruit and vegetables picked from their own garden. A popular feast in Turkey is Al Fresco barbecue, mainly because of their love of the outdoors. You'll learn to make Turkish Coffee, baklava (a sweet pastry filled with honey), borek (a pastry filled with cheese, meat or vegetables) and Turkish Ravioli.
Located in Dordogne, Cook in France has a relaxed, friendly environment which is perfect for honing your creative cooking skills. All dishes are personally prepared by you, and, by the end of the week, you'll be brimming with new-found cooking ideas. You can stay with the cooking school in warm, cosy, ensuite accommodation or you can find lodgings elsewhere and commute.
Learn to cook pastries, breads, soups, the best fish and shellfish and master the art of modern food presentation, all while soaking up the joie de vivre.
Bedruthan, in Cornwall, is a four-star hotel fully equipped with all the amenities and features of a luxurious London hotel, with a little extra. Overlooking the blue waters of Magwan Porth Beach, the resort is perfect for foodies and travel enthusiasts alike. If you don't want to cook all day, that's fine too because you can enjoy other activities, like a luxury spa overlooking the ocean!
You can learn to make cider apple butter, sloe gin and port, and cranberry jelly from the very beginning, or learn the secret to filleting, curing, salting and smoking the freshest fish. You can also do that with an extra modern, Asian-flavoured edge. Breads are also popular and you can knead your way to the softest, warmest most delicious bagels, olive and tomato bread, and focaccia.
At Thai Cooking you'll start at the very beginning, learning how to prepare Thai cooking ingredients. Learn how to make delicious Hot and Sour Soup, Green Curry with chicken, Thai-style fish cakes and fried noodles, Panaeng Curry with pork and lots, lots more! In the evenings you can enjoy a cocktail on the tropical beach or a wind-down with a boat trip down the Mekong. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Doi Suthep Mountains, the school promises to deliver an unforgettable cooking experience, in style. While you're there, make sure you use some of your free time to visit Thailand's famous floating market.
The secret of Cooking Holiday Spain lies in the brain of Italian-born, Spanish-raised master chef, Sergio Rifugio.
On your first day, you'll get the chance to take in the local Costa de Sol culture when you go out to Malaga Central Market to buy the items and ingredients needed for the cooking lessons. Just to give you a taste of what your time here will be like, imagine this: A journey through the breathtaking Ronda Mountains near the rustic Gaucin Village, where four different meals accompanied by regional red and white wines will be prepared. You can also visit the Olive Oil Mill and learn to use olive oil and spices in the traditional Spanish way.
Luxury Travel Vietnam offer a wide variety of Vietnamese tours, many of which include flights, airport transfers, hotel accommodation, tours around the city and of course, culinary classes.
There are three regions in Vietnam, each offering their own take on Vietnamese cuisine. In the North, many dishes are on a seasonal basis and the food is lighter and milder. Central Vietnam has very spicy, well-seasoned dishes. In the South, the food has a lot more vegetables, rice and seafood, with a touch of French, Cambodian and Thai.
You can also enjoy a tour in Ho Chi Minh City, through Central Vietnam and ending in Hanoi: all while staying in five-star hotels. You also have a choice of hotels depending on what package you book.
At Active Gourmet Holidays, guests start off with hands-on cooking classes in either the fully equipped kitchen or the outdoor kitchen under the palapa (thatched structure) overlooking the private beach. Yes, you read correctly: an outdoor kitchen with a private beach, in the popular city of Cabo. Local chefs will teach you how to make dishes such as Chilaquiles (toasted tortillas covered in green or red salsa, shredded chicken, and a little sour cream) and Tamales (a mixture of corn dough and filling that can be sweet, meaty, or spicy, wrapped inside banana leaves or corn husks).
It is a true summer holiday - lounge in your hammock with a book and a glass of wine, sip cocktails while wearing a straw hat and sample the food you've just made, while dipping your toes in the salty waters of the quiet beach.
Puglia is Italy's third largest producer of organic foods, has over 300 days of sunshine each year and is home to some of the country's most beautiful scenery. Masseria Montenapoleone is a luxurious five-star hotel, where you will learn to cook in professional kitchens. The local cook or the professional chef at Masseria will open their revolving kitchen doors and teach you how to cook authentic and tasteful Italian dishes.
The ingredients are locally produced by Masseria's very own organic farmland and the surrounding area. Imagine starting the cooking procedure at the very beginning by collecting the organic ingredients and getting the opportunity to visit and chat to the various suppliers. The package also includes a visit to a local seafood market and an excursion to the wine museum.
Marrakech is an unlikely mixture of creative energy, golden-age architecture, majestic palaces and friendly people. Chef Peta Mathias takes guests on a week-long journey that delves into the exotic cuisine of this interesting and appealing city. Guests get to lodge in two different locations during their stay; some 40 miles outside of Marrakech in the village of Atit Ourir.
Learn to make Rabbit Couscous, and anyone keen to learn how to guillotine and skin a rabbit can have their chance. You'll also learn how to make olive bread in a wood fired oven, briouats (traditional, stuffed pastries) and salads.
Try an exciting, tropical-themed cooking course in Goa and learn to cook traditional, Indian food in a custom-built kitchen, situated on the banks of the Mandovi River in central Goa. You'll also have the chance to visit the local market where you will buy fresh produce, visit spice merchants and purchase a few useful Indian cooking utensils. Prepare to cook and sample dishes from South India, including the local Goan food, which has many noticeable Portuguese influences.
The different regions of India each have their own flavour and recipes that are passed down through the generations. So your culinary experience here will be truly traditional with age-old, trusted recipes.
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