Six of the best cookery holidays in Europe
Half a dozen tasty breaks, from chocolate tuition in Vienna to wild food hunts in Stockholm
Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen
Annie B is not a Radio One DJ but an experienced caterer and devout Spanish foodie who hosts regular food and wine events from her converted family villa in Vejer de la Frontera, a sunny Andalucian village not far from the coast. Her Cooking, Sherry and Culture course features a trip to the fish market at Barbate, the “tuna fish capital of Spain”, as well as a day of tastings in the Sherry Triangle, including lunch in Cadiz, and plenty of cookery lessons spread throughout the week-long stay. Expect to be able to master authentic melon gazpacho, paella and some Moroccan dishes by the end of the week.
Details Six nights for a double room at Casa Amaro apartments in Vejer, with full cooking tour experience, costs €1,160 pp based on two people sharing, excluding flights. Ryanair flies from Stansted to Jerez, about 40 miles from Vejer.
Taste of Vienna
Run by American based Herzerl Tours this gourmet holiday offers a “taste” of the Austrian capital beyond the simply culinary. There is culture, cookery and visits to fine-dining establishments such as Restaurant Griechenbeisl, the oldest in Vienna. A packed itinerary includes lessons on classic Viennese dishes at the the city’s Culinary Institute, a cruise across the Danube to a vintner for an afternoon’s wine tasting, and a chamber concert with one of the city’s orchestras. For many, the icing on cake will be a chocolate workshop at Christian Petz’s Xocolat Manufaktur and a Viennese apple strudel demo at Residenz Cafe Schönbrunn.
Details Six nights accommodation, including six breakfasts, four lunches, two dinners and transport costs (flights not included) from £1,610 pp based on two sharing. www.herzerltours.com
Stockholm Heritage Food Trip
In autumn Tine Roche, who runs Cambridge Cookery School and Cooking in Italy courses in Le Marche region during summer, will take guests on a four-day journey back to her roots in the Swedish capital. On the agenda is a walk in the woods to forage for wild mushrooms, visits to celebrated covered food markets and dinner at top-class restaurants. To get to grips with Scandinavian cuisine there is private tuition from a top-notch chef and a lesson in using a 200-year-old wood oven to bake tunnbröd, a traditional northern flat bread.
Details Three nights costs £995 pp, which includes accommodation at the ultra-hip and eco-friendly hotel Skeppsholmen in central Stockholm, tours, transport and all meals. Ryanair flights from Stansted are not included.
Greek Cooking and “Life” with Diane and Vassilis on Ikaria
The Greek island Ikaria is famed for the health and longevity of its inhabitants so a week spent there is a chance to pick up more than just culinary skills. From her holiday home, built on family-owned land, well-versed chef and author, Diane Kochilas and her husband run cooking holidays where guests are invited to explore the fresh ingredients found among the rocky cliffs and olive groves of this picture-postcard retreat. The hands-on week includes a honey-tasting, milking the goats to make Ikaria’s kathoura cheese, foraging for local herbs, cooking demos and an evening “dancing with Ursula” in their garden.
Details Six nights, including transport to and from hotel, costs about £1,850 pp excluding flights.
The Gascony Cookery School
Husband-and-wife team, David and Vikki Chance believe “anyone can cook”. As such there is a choice between foundation and advanced week-long cookery courses and tuition is divided between David’s purpose-built teaching kitchen in the converted 17th-century accommodation and Bernard Corbieres’ professional restaurant kitchen in Gramont. Students learn the fundamentals of French cuisine including Gascon classics such as foie gras and cassoulet. Hands-on cookery is a daily affair and there will be a chance to visit an Armagnac distillery, wine museum and the village of La Romieu, famed for its array of cat sculptures.
Details Six-day foundation or advanced courses cost £1,230 pp, which includes accommodation, meals and transport. A four-day charcuterie course is £680 pp. BA or EasyJet fly from Gatwick to Toulouse, which is 40 miles from the school.
Delectable Portugal in Historic Evora
The setting for the International Kitchen’s week-long cookery course is the UNESCO World Heritage town, Evora, which sits in the sparsely populated Alentejo Region. Fresh, local produce such as olives, herbs and vegetables inspire the recipes that guests prepare and cook, much of it gathered from the kitchen garden and courtyard full of citrus fruit trees. There are plenty of Portuguese varietals to imbibe and sore heads can be nursed during a day-off spent in northern Alentejo visiting the Renaissance ducal palace and the historical sancturay of Vila Vicosa.
Details From £1,800 pp for seven nights accommodation (one night in Lisbon, six nights in Evora), including all meals, five hands-on cooking classes, all excursions as per itinerary with English-speaking guide, and return transfer to Lisbon airport or city centre. www.theinternationalkitchen.com