Interested in cultivating your culinary prowess? If so, sign up for a hands-on short cooking course on your next trip. Here we serve up an amuse-bouche of classes, a taste-teaser if you will, of the international kitchens in which our talk forums' gourmands have gleefully slaved.
Nothing could impress guests at your next dinner party more than a five-course parade of fine-dining delights. Imagine the utterance of "Please pass the duck confit" at a meal of your making.
Patricia Wells, Vaison La Romaine
"If you are very well-financed you could treat your mother to 4 days of culinary education at Patricia Wells' home in Vaison La Romaine. This involves cooking, but isn't limited to that, I'm quite sure, as Patricia is regarded even by the French as an expert in all that's French food." (more) photo, right
Les Petits Farcis, Nice
"I just wanted to recommend Les Petits Farcis cookery school in Nice; we had a very enjoyable day, shopping in the market, cooking in Rosa Jackson's Vieux Nice apartment. I can still taste that Menton Lemon tart." (more)
Le Violon D'Ingres, Paris
"We moved into the patisserie and prepared strawberries with marscopone cheese, enhanced with vanilla, and a reduction of honey, ginger and lime. After we dispatched with great enjoyment the morning's efforts, we then de-aproned and walked just down the street for lunch." (more from the Forums)
Le Cordon Bleu, Paris
"I have taken several classes at Le Cordon Bleu and enjoyed them very much. My favorites were the all day Saturday classes, hands on, preparing the recipes along with the chef...I took the sauces class as well as the autumn pastry class..." (more)
Rolling the perfect tagliatelle is a feat best learned in the company of friends -- share your success with classmates over a couple of bottles of Barbaresco.
Accidental Tourist, Florence
"It was quite a cold day in Florence, so perfect for sitting around the kitchen table in a lovely 12th century farmhouse eating the pasta we had made ourselves and drinking Chianti." (more from the Forums) photo, right
Tutti a Tavola, Tuscany
"Rotating among several agritourisms in and around Castellina, the school is hosted by several woman, all long time friends. Take the course and you'll savor not only learning to cook Tuscan-style but, especially, dining on the fruits of your labor." (more)
Escape to a culinary destination with friends for the weekend. Participate in a cooking course and pick up some of the esoteric shortcuts that Martha and Mario rely on to make it all look so easy.
Institute for Culinary Education, New York
"You can sign up for some really fun eating tours/restaurants-with-an-expert evenings with the Institute for Culinary Education, not to mention one-time cooking courses---New Yorkers love these. I swear almost everyone I know has tried one out at one time or the other." (more from the Forums) photo, right
"We did a few wineries that afternoon before our reservation at the cooking school Ramekins for a hands-on cooking class. That was fun and then we ate the dinner we all had prepared paired with wine. We left with great new skills and terrific recipes." (more from the Forums)
Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee
"The cooking program is quite an experience...you go to the farm owner's house to take a class taught by a guest chef and in the evening you have a special wine tasting in the owner's wine cave." (more from the Forums)
Chances are the mole poblano served by Mexican restaurants in your area doesn't match the complexity of the real deal found south of the border. Secret ingredients abound in the often spicy sauce.
La Casa de Los Sabores Bed and Breakfast
"The class started with a very informative visit to a neighborhood market, La Merced, followed by 3 hours of cooking. The prepared courses were then eaten at a sit down lunch." (more from the Forums) photo, right
Los Dos, Merida
"Ten of us learned the history of Yucatecan food and ingredients, went to a mercado to buy them, came back and cooked them - then sat down to a delicious, fun meal." (more from the Forums)
There are hundreds of reasons to venture to Thailand. A chance to learn how to prepare the venerable favorite pad thai, as well as other more innovative dishes, ranks high.
Alotofthai, Chiang Mai
"We wanted to make some unusual dishes, not the average curry and pad thai dishes that the regular classes offered everywhere make...we made ground pork dumplings with tapioca flour/rice flour wrapping, sweet coconut and coconut cream steamed in banana leaves...She gave us her recipes and guidelines, as well as how to substitute and adapt recipes to our local ingredients." (more from the Forums)
Chiang Mai Cooking School, Chiang Mai
"Day 5 was spent doing a cooking class with the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School. This was a blast. The morning started with a trip to the market to learn about the ingredients, then each course started in a classroom with an overhead mirror followed by us cooking the dish at our own stations. The staff was hilarious!" (more from the Forums)