Five Villas for People Who Want to Learn How to Cook
Many travellers are keen to combine a luxury villa break with pursuing a new skill or interest. It might even be one of their 2018 resolutions! One of the best ways to immerse in a new culture – learning about the food – is also one of the most enjoyable skills to acquire. After all, learning how to cook the local cuisine from an expert can give pleasure not just to you but to everyone around you, too.
Fortunately, there are some properties in some of Europe’s most renowned culinary regions that offer unforgettable and delicious cookery courses.
Cortijo El Carligto, an estate located in Canillas de Aceituno outside Malaga, is one of them. The ground-breaking, daring gastronomy of Andalusia has probably attracted more attention than any other region of the world in recent years. It has been a total gamechanger. At El Carligto, which comprises a beautiful main residence plus separate hunting lodge, there is a cook on site and a great emphasis on fine dining. The week-long cookery course combines classes with visits to nearby food highlights, from hidden gem tapas bars to the famous Malaga food market. Wine tastings and Iberico ham sampling offer a further glimpse into the best that Spain has to offer.
Andalusia is the rising star, but few culinary regions can be as established as Chianti. In its heart lies Casale Le Pratole, offering easy access to the treasures of Florence and Siena and captivating views from its hilltop location. Cookery classes as well as private wine and cultural tours can be pre-booked. The beautiful dining room is the perfect setting for the classes, which are open to all ages. There is even an outdoor pizza oven where younger guests can experiment with their take on Italy’s classic dish.
Remaining in Tuscany, Castellare de’ Sernigi is another wonderful villa for those with culinary ambitions. This gorgeous rural estate has its own wine and olive oil cellar, accessible with a consumption fee. The property can easily arrange any of the food and drink highlights of the region – wine tours, gastronomic tours and mushroom and truffle hunting as well as cookery classes. Its picturesque setting makes al fresco enjoyment of the food a must.
For those lucky enough to be visiting Puglia, Dimora del Duca offers a different but equally fabulous introduction to Italian cuisine. Puglia is renowned for its role in the slow cooking movement, and the villa offers the option of cooking classes either onsite or at external locations, as well as wine tastings. Beautiful Puglia is Italy’s larder, with cooking classes making the very most of the extraordinary riches of the local produce. Budding chefs will be able to experiment with some of Italy’s finest cheeses, fish, lamb and olive oil.
There are few islands more beguiling for the palate than Sicily. Il Sipario Barocco is a stunning townhouse in the historical centre of Modica. Passionate about Sicilian culture and cuisine, the owner of the property is a professional chef. Their hugely popular and sought-after LoveSicily course is a delectable treat as well as a great grounding in the principles of Sicilian food preparation and presentation. Class graduates will leave able to cook arancini, pasta and other much-loved staples, just like the locals do.
By Phileas French, Travel Writer