4 cooking holiday experiences you haven’t considered yet

Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a self-proclaimed chef, cooking holidays beat cooking at home for four reasons.

One: you gain access to recipes and ingredients that tingle your tastebuds. Two: you get to meet other cooks who share your passion for food and cooking. Three: you’ll be cooking in a new (and gorgeous) location, with plenty of opportunity to explore. And, four: there’s plenty of food (and usually wine). What else could you need?

We’ve updated our range of cookery holidays to include three new destinations in France and one new spot in Italy… where would you like to cook on your next holiday?

Cooking holiday in France

The home of gourmet cuisine and world-renowned for its delectable recipes, France is the ideal place to join a cookery holiday, so we’ve added three new places to do just that.

One day French cooking in Provence

cooking and outdoor dining area from holiday in Provence

Though we’d obviously recommend a weekend or week-long cookery holiday, it simply isn’t always possible in a tight holiday schedule. In that case, this one-day French cookery course and market visit in Provence fits the bill.

You’ll tour the local market in Aix-en-Provence before stopping at a local chateau for a spot of wine. Fully topped up, the group heads to the kitchen for a three-hour cooking lesson nestled in the lush countryside just outside the city.

Using organic ingredients and locally sourced produce where possible, you’ll concoct a three-course menu of French classics. Starting with a delicious appetiser, you’ll move on to a meat or seafood main dish (complete with fresh vegetable sides), and finish off with a tasty dessert followed by the best bit… eating it all with local wine and cheese!

Spend a day, weekend, or half-week cooking in Normandy

French tart dessert made on cooking holiday in Normany

If you’re hitting Normandy for the beaches and the war history, it could a great chance to consider gastronomy as well. With one to four-day variations, these build-your-own French cookery holidays in Les Loges Marchis, Normandy are a great day (or few days) out.

These cooking holidays are completely individualised — you’ll start the morning with Chef Spencer planning the day’s menu, all based around what you want to learn. So whether you have a classic French dish you want to learn to create, or an ingredient you’ve always wanted to perfect the use of, the day will be geared around your desires.

Once your menu is selected, you’re off to the market and surrounding artisan shops to find the freshest and best ingredients for your chosen recipes. Meet some locals (feel free to use Spencer as a translator!) before heading back to the kitchen to whip up a delicious main dish and dessert. Then, of course, comes dining on your creations, with local wines.

If you’re staying for two nights or three nights, the area has plenty of beautiful nature walks to take after your large meal before you fall asleep in a private gite or next to the nightly fire.

Cooking combinations in Saint-Jeannet, Provence

view of saint jeannet from holiday house

For a true taste of Provencal life in France, this family-run B&B in Saint-Jeannet combines all sorts of activities on a weekly schedule. You’re able to join at any point during the week depending on the activities you want to take part in, and stay as long as you like.

Some days, you’ll end up off the beaten track and find yourself on a goat farm, sampling cheese, or perhaps finishing the day tasting wines at a local vineyard.

In general, Mondays are for walking around Saint-Jeannet and up the nearby bluff for 360° panoramic views. Tuesdays, you’ll find the group exploring the narrow streets of nearby Antibes and Vence. Wednesdays are reserved for the historic perched villages and a visit to the goat farm and winery mentioned above. Thursdays mean the coast — a trip to Nice and the sea are in store. Finally, Fridays are French cooking at its finest, with guests sharing the kitchen with their host, Corinne, for the day to create a 3-course meal.

To all of this, you can add yoga in the morning as part of a yoga, gastronomy, and culture holiday.

Cooking holiday in Italy

Italy’s cuisine has long been accessible and loved by the masses — a cooking holiday here is a great way to learn the nuances of the flavours involved in delicious Italian favourites.

Italian classics on the coast in Sorrento

pool overlooking Italian coast on cooking holiday in Sorrento

It potentially doesn’t get more Italian than a pizza, pasta, and gelato-making course on Italy’s southern coast. Over the course of just 4 days, you’ll create the classic Neapolitan pizza in a wood-fired oven, roll pasta from scratch, and concoct different gelato flavours that you can duplicate back home.

Or, you can go for a more traditional 4-day Italian cooking break that still involves pizza, but delves deeper into the region’s rustic meat and seafood dishes.

Guests stay in a restored 17th-century bed and breakfast (with a pool!), and learn from a restaurant-trained chef. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the iconic Amalfi coast as well as nearby Sorrento, too.

Other cooking holidays let you cook with local chefs all over France, Italy, Spain, and Greece in case the four holidays listed here whet your appetite for more.