Take a holiday where you can learn how to make the local cuisine and relax too. These culinary escapes are the perfect way to turn yourself into an international masterchef!
Ten of the best: Cookery holidays for foodies
For a unique cooking holiday that's perfect for couples, Tell Tale Travel offers the Lemon Grass Trail in Thailand where you'll have a two-week private tour feasting on local delicacies, learning from local people and picking and catching produce before you cook it. From Bangkok to the Central Plains and Isan to Krabi, you'll travel across Thailand on a real foodie trail. What's on the menu? Spicy hot and sour soup, green chicken curry and sticky rice are just a few of the dishes you'll learn to cook along the way. Outside the kitchen: Visiting local markets to discover the wide variety of fresh fruit and veg, sunbathing on some of the world's best beaches and cycling along rice fields will make this holiday one you won't forget. You'll also visit a temple, go on a forest trip with a monkey leading the way and go fishing with the locals. Price: From £1,900 per person based on two people sharing including flights from London, two weeks accommodation, activities, transport and most meals.
Here's a great opportunity to head to the home of gourmet cuisine where to can learn from top chefs while staying in luxury accommodation. Walnut Grove in the Loire Valley. You'll learn the art of preparing, cooking and presenting fine food in a relaxed environment, and classes are kept to a maximum of eight so you get plenty of time for some one-to-one. What's on the menu? You'll learn everything you need to know about French kitchen, from basic knife skills and seasoning techniques to how to make bread, fillet trout and make homemade sorbet. Outside the kitchen: You'll visit the local fromagerie to see how cheese is made and a windmill from 1824 that still produces flour. Price: €1,595 per person based on two people sharing for a five-day course including accommodation in a renovated farmhouse, excursions, meals and transfers from Laval train station.
Combine cooking with wine and olive oil in the gastronomic heaven of Andalucía with GoLearnTo. You'll stay in a 150-year-old rural retreat that's surrounded by olive trees and almond groves, so you can enjoy an unspoilt landscape while learning to cook Spanish specialities in an authentic atmosphere with classes of no more than four people. What's on the menu? A three-course Spanish meal, classic tapas and paella will be taught to you by professional chef Clive, with chilled almond soup, poached pears in lavender fragrant honey and red mullet with tomato and basil sauce as some of the dishes you'll prepare. Outside the kitchen: With the region being known for its extra virgin olive oil you'll get a guided tour of an olive mill and taste the different oils. You'll also visit an 18th-century fino wine producer with tastings included!
Price: £772 per person based on two people sharing, including six nights accommodation, four cookery lessons, breakfast, dinner with a bottle of wine per couple and guided tours.
It's not the first name that springs to mind for a gourmet holiday, but Sandals has launched a cooking course at its 1950s, old-Hollywood glamour retreat, Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios where you can learn the secrets of Jamaican cooking from a top chef while relaxing in the paradise of the Caribbean. It's perfect if you want a holiday where you can dip into a cookery course without having to stick to an itinerary, and you can decide which dishes you'd like to be taught the day before or ask the chef to surprise you! What's on the menu? Some of the delicious Jamaican specialities you can learn to cook include curry lobster, baked stuffed crab and jerk chicken. Outside the kitchen: Err...the amazing turquoise ocean for swimming and white sandy beaches for sunbathing! Not to mention staying in one of the Leading Small Hotels of The World, where you can ask the waiters to bring you cocktails on the beach all day. Price: Classes cost $100 for two hours; Rooms at Sandals Royal Plantation are from £355 per night for the Royal Orchid Oceanfront Butler Suite.
Irish chef Paul Flynn will take you through a decadent food journey at the Tannery Cookery School in Dungarvan, County Waterford, where you'll learn to cook with organic vegetables grown in the school's garden and can stay in the Tannery Townhouse. The school has modern workspaces for up to 12 people and you can learn for a few hours or book a five-day course. What's on the menu? Some of the dishes you may learn to cook include mushrooms roasted with butter and herbs atop a mushroom brioche, mussels and bacon in a wild garlic and chickpea broth and roasted nectarines with spiced butter for dessert. Outside the kitchen: You'll be taken to the garden where Paul will show you the different vegetables and herbs that are grown and there's the Tannery Restaurant where you can indulge in rustic and seasonal food. Price: £799 per person for the five-day Spring Kitchen course including accommodation at the Tannery Townhouse.
If you want to learn how to cook Greek specialities in a homely environment, Kea Artisanal is the perfect island retreat on Kea, part of the Cyclades, where chef and cookbook author, Aglaia Kremezi will give you hands-on cooking classes, an introduction to Greek wines and some great days out to explore the island. Kea Artisanal can recommend some great places nearby for your accommodation. What's on the menu? Some of the delicious dishes you'll prepare include charcoal-grilled fish wrapped in fig leaves, dolmas, pies, marmalade and flat breads. Outside the kitchen: You'll enjoy a secluded beach picnic with char-grilled sardines on the menu, go on an ancient walk in an archaeological site, swim in the sea and go on a Greek wine tasting tour. Price: €1,555 per person for a six-day course including tours, cooking workshops led by Aglaia and group meals with wine.
Learn to cook authentic Indian food in beautiful Goa with the India on the Menu holiday from On The Go Tours. Over eight days you'll be introduced to Indian food from various regions and have plenty of free time to soak up the sun too. Cooking groups are kept to eight people and you'll get to eat the results of what you've learned, with seafood, chicken and vegetarian dishes all part of the course. What's on the menu? Typical dishes that are taught include sofiani biryani, Goan fish curry, pepper chicken chettinad and coconut barfee. Outside the kitchen: You'll visit a local market with the chef to check out the fresh produce available. There'll also be a half-day tour of a spice garden and plantation. Price: £649 per person based on two people sharing, including seven nights accommodation at a three-star boutique hotel, arrival transfers and tours.
With an unspoiled and laidback setting, Ribatejo just north of Lisbon is the ideal place to learn to cook traditional Portuguese food. Holiday on the Menu offers a tasty break where you can explore some Portuguese towns, learn to cook and relax in the sun. You'll stay at a 17th-century manor house in historic Santarem, which has just eight rooms, beautiful countryside views and a large pool. What's on the menu? Some of the dishes you may cook are green beans fried in a light batter, Portuguese chicken pies and duck with rice, as well as some authentic desserts. Outside the kitchen: You'll get to know the town of Santarem, take a tour of the best olive oil producer in the region and visit a winery where you can enjoy tastings too. Price: £1,149 per person based on two people sharing including three nights accommodation, cooking classes, dinners with wine and tours.
Fancy yourself as a pasta connoisseur? Tasting Places offers a range of cooking breaks in Italy where you can learn to make authentic Italian food. The 15th-century luxurious Villa Casagrande in Veneto's Cison di Valmarino village is where you'll stay in the area that's famous for producing Prosecco wine and prepare food in a beautiful restored kitchen. What's on the menu? Some local dishes you'll learn to prepare include ravioli, risotto, fish soups and desserts. Outside the kitchen: You'll take a trip to Venice where you'll visit some fish markets, at the villa you'll be able to relax in the swimming pool, play golf and go on cultural walks, as well as visit a winery and vineyards nearby. Price: £2,150 per person based on two people sharing for seven nights including accommodation, cooking course, all meals, wine, trips, transfers from Venice Airport.
Take your cooking skills to another level in exotic Marrakech with Frui, where you'll learn the art of slow cooking and the secrets of spices while immersing yourself in North African culture. You'll stay and cook in an intimate riad and dine in some of the city's finest restaurants. What's on the menu? Slow-cooked Moroccan tagine, couscous dishes, North African drinks and cooking with rare spices are just a few of the things you'll pick up in your four-day escape. Outside the kitchen: You'll visit Marrakech's vast and ancient souk and sample some of Morocco's delicacies and discover the herbs, spices and natural cosmetics in a Berber pharmacy, and if you've always wanted to try your hand at haggling in the market, this is the place to do it. There'll be a chance to experience a Moroccan hammam where you'll be scrubbed down in a sauna-like space and check out the city's bars and clubs. Price: From £899 per person for four nights half-board accommodation in a riad with guided tours, cooking classes and transfers in Marrakech included.