Cooking vacations – the red hot travel trend

Weekend_French_cookery_holiday_wine_cheese_outdoorsWhy do you travel?

Some travel for the sense of adventure and freedom. Some travel for self-discovery. A great many of us travel to discover places, people and cultures. Discerning travellers are beginning to recognise food as an integral part of this culture. And what better way is there to get acquainted with local dishes than through learning to cook them?

Skift named food tourism as a trend to define travel in 2013. Turns out they’re right. The last 2 years saw unprecedented growth in cookery vacations. We care more and more about where our food comes from. From meeting local food producers to foraging for seasonal ingredients, we are more and more interested in authentic first-hand experiences in bringing food from their sources to our tables.
More and more cookery vacations are sprouting up around Europe.

We take a peek at some of them:


Pathways through Provence
6 nights/7 days from $4,395 per person
Max group size: 12 people
Whole Foods Journeys, the culinary arm of the healthy food chain, takes you through beautiful Provence. Visit the asylum that housed Van Gogh in his most productive year of painting. Taste organic olive oil and wines at their source. Visit a chocolatier. Find out how goat cheese is made. Explore local markets and learn to cook Mediterranean family-style meals. This is a feast for the senses.

French_pastry_and_baking_course_Bordeaux_eclairsCooking holiday in Bordeaux
3 nights/4 days from $661 per person
Max group size: 4 people
Visit local producers on this charming cooking vacation. It could be a duck farm, which Bordeaux is so well-known for. It could be a winery. Maybe a local butcher or a cheese maker. Visit local markets with chef and host Marlene. Stay in her tastefully-restored French farmhouse. Gain an insight into local life. Learn traditional recipes passed down from generation to generation. This warm vacation will make your belly smile.


Tuscan farm to table in Tuscany
5 nights/6 days from $2,995 per person
Max group size: 12 people
Discover the culture and traditions of Tuscan farming and food production in Tuscany. Try your hand at organic farming. Learn about the production of cheese, wine, olive oil and honey. Meet local farmers and experts. Prepare your own Tuscan lunch using fresh organic ingredients. Enjoy walks to local abbeys, monasteries and medieval villages. This unique holiday takes you to the source of your food.

Olive_oil_wine_cheese_in_Tuscany_-_accommodation_Olive oil wine tasting and cookery holiday in Tuscany
3 nights/4 days from $647 per person
Max group size: 8 people
Learn about the olive oil and wine making process from growing to tasting at a wonderful Agriturismo set in the Tuscan hills. Discover Italian life where families work together on the estate to produce olive oil and wines using organic and traditional farming methods. Let the local chefs teach you how to cook a delicious Italian meal with your own hands. Pursue your passion for all things Italian on this cookery holiday with a difference.


Highlights of Spain’s Rioja Valley and the Basque Country
6 nights/7 days from $4,695 per person
Max group size: 16 people
Explore beautiful French and Spanish landscapes, from the Camino de Santiago’s coastal paths in Spain to the cliffs of Hendaye in France. Immerse yourself in local life in Bilbao’s vibrant Old Town. Learn about the wines of Basque country at a family winery. Cook authentic cuisine during 2 cooking classes and sample other regional recipes at dinners in the region’s cities and villages. As the Basques say, “To know how to eat is to know enough.” Go eat.

Spanish cooking vacation in Andalucia, Spain Spanish_cooking_weekend_Andalucia_-_cooking_on_high_heat
5 nights/6 days from $959 per person
Max group size: 4 people
But also go beyond eating. Learn to cook authentic 3-course Spanish meals under the guidance of a professional chef. Trace your cooking ingredients all the way to their source at this beautiful Finca set in grounds with olive and fruit trees and a vegetable and herb garden. Discover Andalucia’s olive oils and its famous fino. Immerse yourself in Andalucian life with your friendly hosts on this cookery vacation with a difference.

Would you prefer a larger group or a smaller group? How much would you be willing to pay for a cookery vacation?
Cookery vacations are a great way to discover the way of life of the locals, especially when groups are small enough for more individual attention and hands-on opportunities. Learn the taste of a place on a cooking vacation without necessarily burning a $5k hole in your pocket. Explore some possibilities here.