This is a sponsored post by guest blogger Loic Tuckey on behalf of Sainsbury’s Bank
I only have two main childhood memories: sometimes it’s raining, sometimes sunny, and there maybe French or Italian people in the background. But the memories are the same. The first is a conversation between my parents and I, where one begins, “So, what shall we have for lunch?” The second is another conversation, around the lunch-table covered in crumbs of baguette or burnt pizza, beginning, “So, how about dinner? Any ideas?”
When I realised I only had two holiday memories, I decided it would make sense to go on a holiday that revolved around food on purpose. I could enjoy a holiday sampling great food, but also enhance my cooking skills and immerse myself more deeply in the local food culture. Naturally, I began scouring the internet for the best food courses I could find. This is what I found.
If your holiday memories also involve a lot of baguette crumbs strewn over white tablecloths, you may be after a luxury French experience. The Two Bordelais, which has been run on a Bordeaux estate for over 25 years, have it covered. During the course, they demonstrate how to cook authentic, regional food.
You will learn how to spit-roast poultry, catch fresh river fish and cook them, using vegetables from the garden. Cheese-sampling, chocolate production and wine-tasting are also on the agenda. Classes take place in both their personal farm-house kitchen and a 13th centuryChâteau La Louvière. These courses are typically 6 days and include hotel stay, meals, and ground transportation – and the prices start at $4000.
If you prefer Italian flavours, then have a look at Academia Barilla. This Parma-based cooking school is not only a leading pasta producer, but the team of chefs there are also experts at creating personalised cooking classes. From around $480 per person, they’ll guide you through anything from Italian basics to classic pasta and succulent meat dishes.
In addition to kitchens that can accommodate up to sixteen people each, the school also has a wood burning oven and a huge gastronomic library to give you plenty of food for thought. It is a truly flexible course that allows you to create an agenda to suit your tastes and you’ll leave remembering that Italian food means: ‘La vita è bella’ – life is beautiful.
I’m a huge fan of Asia and Asian food, but often there is so much to see and do while over there that the wonderful food culture gets overlooked. I’d love to do a short course incorporating traditional styles, and chilled-out Laos is a super starting point.
Asian food in the UK has been growing in popularity, so those unique insights into local techniques and ingredients will be sure to impress your friends once you’re back home.
One highly recommended cooking school is Tamarind’s in Luang Prabang, Laos. The school offers authentic courses that are guaranteed to clear your sinuses.
Your day will start with a trip around the local market with your chef, Dith. You’ll pick up fresh ingredients for your meal, as well as explore local delicacies such as dried buffalo lung, pickled bamboo and pork floss.
Afterwards, Dith takes you back to his family kitchen where he cooks over a fire in true Laotian style. There’s no measuring here – your eyes and senses will be your only cooking guide. You’ll learn how to cook rice-balls, a variety of meat and vegetables and how to use herbs to create authentic flavours.
Courses cost around $25 per day and include lunch.
These are three great examples, but whatever your taste, there are lots of cooking schools to explore. One way to help you spread the initial cost of a course could be by credit card, especially if you’ve got a card that offers a 0% period on purchases. It’s important to bear in mind, though, that if you don’t clear the balance within the introductory period, you will be charged interest.