Food is one of the best things about travel, a reason to travel all on its own. While the world is more interconnected than ever and we now have access to international cuisine whenever we like, nothing beats discovering local dishes for the first time. The word ‘authentic’ is often overused when it comes to travel but local ingredients are fresher, the flavours are sharper and more intense, from Vietnamese pho to Italian pizza, food just tastes better in its country of origin. So where better to learn more about a country's food than the country itself?
If you’re considering taking a cooking holiday for the first time, here are five reasons to take the plunge:
1 – You love to cook or want to learn
Ok so we’ll start with the most obvious, if cooking wasn’t your thing or you weren’t at least curious you wouldn’t even be considering a holiday like this. If you love to cook what better way to spend a week than learning all about the cuisine of your chosen destination?
2– Learn more about your destination
A country’s cuisine represents its history, its geography and its culture. From street food to family recipes, every dish represents a link to the country’s past. The ingredients used are based on climate, proximity to trade routes, what people could afford and this all tells you so much about your destination. When you take a cookery course abroad it can deepen your understanding of your destination as you learn all the factors that influence a dish.
"I think food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseparable." Anthony Bourdain
3 – Expand your repertoire
Perhaps you’re feeling a bit bored and uninspired of late when it comes to putting dinner on the table. A cooking holiday will teach you not only new recipes, but also can inspire you to apply the same techniques to your tried and tested favourites, giving them a new twist, or trying something completely new.
4 – A more interesting, memorable holiday
If you’re bored of sitting on the beach, this is a great way of exploring a destination. Far from being stuck in a hot kitchen all day, a cooking holiday will often include a few hours of kitchen time, trips to local food markets, visits to local wineries and family-run restaurants, the odd bit of sightseeing and more. You end up seeing so many places you might otherwise overlook. ‘Getting off the beaten track’ and ‘living like a local’ have become travel blog cliches, but a good cooking holiday will let you do exactly that.
5 – Change how you do your food shopping
Learning about a cuisine at its source can also make you a more savvy shopper. You might learn about certain ingredients and how to distinguish quality from mass produced rubbish. Just a few pointers can make you a more discerning shopper when it comes to things like olive oil, wine, and even fresh produce.
If all this has convinced you that a cookery course abroad is for you, then take a look at our cooking holidays in Europe.
If you’ve been on one let us know about your experience in the comments.