Europe it renowned for many things–architecture, fine art, ancient history, fashion, the list goes on–but above all else, Europe is famous for it’s cuisine, and the influence its many countries have had on other culinary styles from around the world. Europe isn’t just a great place to eat food, it’s also a premiere destination for chefs of all backgrounds to learn how to cook in a variety of styles, with European culinary sensibilities. Taking cooking classes in Europe is a great way to experience the depth of a countries culture, and have some fun while you’re at it–learning the methods passed down from generations before, and providing insights into some of the most complex and well-rounded culinary cultures in the world.
With such an abundance of cooking courses in Europe to choose from, it can become a serious undertaking to choose just one for your next vacation abroad. To take some of the guess-work out of the equation, we’ve selected our top four cooking classes in Europe, from the ocean air of Barcelona, Spain to the rolling hills of Umbria, Italy.
Alla Madonna del Piatto – B&B and Cooking School
One of the few eco-friendly B&B’s in Italy’s Umbria region, allowing travelers to enjoy sustainable accommodations without the premium price tag of an eco-lodge. The B&B itself runs entirely on self-produced solar power, and wood heating. Inside, restored-vintage furniture and salvaged accoutrements combine to create a rustic, authentic Italian decorum, punctuated by sweeping views of Umbria’s verdant landscape. Since 2003, when the first guest arrived at the B&B, Alla Madonna del Piatto has worked tirelessly to create a home-style atmosphere, offering highly-personalized cooking classes twice a week, and connecting guests with local artisans, tourist attractions, wineries, and off-the-beaten-path day bike rides around the region.
The cooking class starts at 11:00am at Alla Madonna del Piatto with a tasting of their all-natural extra-virgin olive oil, taught by renowned chef, and author of the cookbook “A Kitchen with a View,” Letizia Mattiacci. Depending on the weather, a short walk to the herb garden for a lesson on using wild and cultivated herbs in Italian cooking may be on the schedule. Though exact lesson plans are seasonally dependent, expect to make a variety of Italian staples–ravioli, tagliatelle, lasagna, risotto—learning the ins and outs of Italy’s culinary tradition. Spend the evening enjoying your new found cooking skills outside on the terrace or cozied up next to the fireplace in the dining room.
Alla Madonna del Piatto Contact & Company Profile
Contact: Letizia Mattiacci
On Rue Tatin
Louviers & Paris, France
On Rue Tatin offers two courses, a one-day and a three-day cooking class, taught by renowned chef and author, Susan Loomis. Learn a variety of cooking techniques, sample incredible French fare, and explore local markets for fresh ingredients, all while basking in the worldly ambiance of Louviers and Paris.
Three and five day in Louviers: Three and Five days at On Rue Tatin in Louviers is a rich, concentrated experience of cooking, learning, tasting, enjoying, laughing. You will work with the season and the region’s finest ingredients then sit down to meals you’ve prepared, all accompanied by fine, small-production wines and artisanally made cheeses.
One-day in Paris: On Rue Tatin Paris classes are located in the heart of Paris, in a beautifully appointed professional kitchen where we chop, dice, mince, braise and saute our way through recipes designed for the home cook, then sit down together to enjoy the meal we have so pleasurably prepared. Morning classes begin with a market tour. Evening classes begin with multiple tastings followed by a hands-on class and a lovely candle-lit dinner.
On Rue Tatin Contact & Company Profile
Contact: Lindsay Kinder
Title: Program Coordinator
Mamma Agata’s cooking class is held in her private cliff top home overlooking the resplendent Amalfi coastline, near a series of terraced gardens where nearly all the vegetables and poultry used in the class are produced. The class is taught by the one and only, Mamma Agata, renowned for her award winning cookbook “Simple and Genuine,” and for her time as the personal chef to a wide variety of Hollywood actors and actresses, including Humphrey Bogart, Lyz Taylor, Fred Astaire, Jacqueline Kennedy, and many more. During the class, Mamma Agata will share her gift for cooking, showing you how to create a variety of pasta dishes, deserts, pizzas, and traditional marmalades, incorporating her own personalized touch to each recipe. With the help of her two cooking assistants/lifelong friends, Chiara and Gennaro, described as the “lifeblood of the household,” and the “carrier of family tradition” respectively, Mamma Agata promises to teach the secrets of traditional Italian cuisine in a relaxing and warm atmosphere. Each day concludes with a tasting of the various recipes prepared earlier in the day, and a sampling of the best local wine–all while soaking up the incredible terrace-view of the Mediterranean.
Take home the essence of Mamma Agata’s cooking course with her award winning cookbook, “Simple and Genuine,” winner of the Best Cookbook in the World Award, from the Gourmand World Cook Book Awards. In it you will discover the culinary secrets of Mamma Agata, broken down into easy-to-follow recipes that allow you to bring the fresh ingredients and strong flavors of Mamma Agata’s cooking class back to your own home.
Cook & Taste
Located in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is Cook & Taste, a half-day, hands-on cooking class in Spain. Discover the local Catalan culture through cooking in one of Cook & Tastes half-day workshops, where you will learn to prepare traditional Spanish recipes, and sample local wine. Start the class with a visit to a food market, learning how to identify the freshest ingredients before you start cooking. Cook & Taste is located in the middle of two of Barcelona’s best markets: La Boqueria and Santa Caterina Market, affording students the opportunity to experience the fusion of aromas, flavors, and colors that form the essence of Catalan cuisine. Back from the market tour you will cook traditional Spanish dishes under the supervision of an experienced and professional chef, and sample a variety of local wine pairings.