Foodie adventures

A list of culinary family holidays around the world, including some local gastronomic spots
By Child magazine

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Africa
 
a taste of morocco
Marrakesh is a feast of sights, sounds and flavours. Experience the Jemaa el-Fnaa Square with snake charmers and storytellers. The souks offer a variety of goods and food stalls, where you shop for ingredients. Learn to cook Moroccan cuisine in a rooftop kitchen, preparing dishes such as caramelised fennel and baby onions, beetroot and orange soup, rosewater meringues, stuffed shoulder of lamb, or lemon chicken tajine.
Further foodie appeal Visit the spice traders, learn to cook couscous with village ladies and feast under the stars.
For the children Classes are suitable for children 10 years and older.
When to go April to June and September to November.
Location On the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa, southwest of the Moroccan capital, Rabat
Contact info@gourmetontour.com or visit gourmetontour.com
 
Americas
 
with the sounds of jazz
New Orleans is a city with a rich, colourful history influenced by its former French and Spanish rulers, and sugar and cotton plantations, African slave trade and the birth of jazz. The New Orleans School of Cooking is situated in the heart of the French quarter in a renovated molasses warehouse that was built in the early 1800s. They teach you the basics of Louisiana cooking and introduce you to all the local favourites, such as gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp creole and pralines. They offer hands-on classes (private and open) and group demonstrations.
Further foodie appeal Mardi Gras takes place every year around February and is followed by the New Orleans Jazz Festival in April/May.
For the children They recommend that families with children under 12 years old attend a demonstration class where you will get to see the chefs in action and try out the dishes. Periodically, they hold special events geared towards children.
When to go Avoid hurricane season, which runs from June to November.
Location In the south-eastern corner of Louisiana, on the banks of the Mississippi River
Contact groupsales@nosoc.com or visit neworleansschoolofcooking.com
 
culinary tours in the big apple
The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is located in the heart of Manhattan, New York City. They offer a wide selection of hands-on recreational cooking, baking and wine classes as well as culinary walking and offsite tours. The culinary tours take you to New York City’s finest restaurants, various markets, fishmongers, butcher shops and greengrocers in iconic neighbourhoods: Chinatown, Little Italy, Astoria and more. The instructors tell you all about the history of the area you’re in and explain the different ingredients and how you are going to use them in your dishes. After the walk, you head back to the school where the instructor lays out the items you bought, and everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets to work.
Further foodie appeal They also have beginner to advanced instruction on worldly wines, the perfect meal pairings and the ultimate beer and cheese guide.
For the children They have approximately 25 classes that parents and children can attend together, making everything from pizza to sweet treats.
When to go May is springtime when the bulk of visitors have not yet arrived and there are loads of fairs around the city.
Location 50 West 23rd St, New York
Contact rec@ice.edu or visit recreational.ice.edu
 
spice it up in the bahamas
Bahamas Food Adventures, run by foodie Nia Keogh, offers various day and evening culinary adventures and private cooking classes that cater to families with children two years and older. During a private class you will create three dishes and take home recipe cards for each. Be sure to tell them of your dietary requirements (vegetarian, shellfish allergy, nut allergy) and they will do their best to accommodate you. Bahamian cuisine is known for being spicy, subtly and uniquely flavoured and often includes seafood. You might learn to make a conch salad, grouper, conch grits, a sweetbread dessert or traditional guava duff.
Further foodie appeal They offer early morning and private classes on the beach.
For the children All ages are welcome and included in most tours and activities.
When to go Avoid the hurricane season, which runs from June to November.
Location Nassau, Bahamas
Contact bahamasfoodtour@gmail.com or visit bahamasfoodadventures.com
 
taste test in latin america
Take part in hands-on cooking classes at Huerta Los Tamarindos, an organic farm and restaurant in San José del Cabo in Mexico. They conduct four-hour cooking classes for a minimum of four people, as well as private cooking classes. The classes begin with a tour of the fields under cultivation, where you gather fresh ingredients before heading for the outdoor kitchen with a mesquite-fired stone oven to prepare a four-course meal, guided by the chefs.
Further foodie appeal An organic market runs from Monday to Saturday. Older children who enjoy cooking will enjoy the experience, but it’s not recommended for small children.
When to go El Festival Gastrovino (food and wine festival) in Todos Santos takes place in May. The One & Only Palmilla hosts an annual Mexican Culinary Festival in November. The weather is at its most pleasant from October to May.
Location San José del Cabo, Los Cabos, Mexico
Contact info@huertalostamarindos.com or visit huertalostamarindos.com
 
Asia
 
experience authentic shanghai
Together with the five-star hotel’s Chinese chef, you prepare authentic dishes from China. During the hands-on cooking lessons you are introduced to the exotic combination of ingredients and techniques that exemplify traditional Chinese cuisine. Some of the dishes you make include Sichuan-style braised Mandarin fish in a reduced spicy sauce, stir-fried shrimp with hairy crab meat, Xinjiang-style braised chicken with vegetables in spicy sauce, Madam Song’s hot and sour fish soup, lemon chicken with almond crust and pomelo fruit and razor clam stir-fried with ginger and spring onion. Itineraries are tailor-made to design a culinary holiday suited to each family’s taste and preference.
Further foodie appeal The package allows you to encounter real city living in China: you’ll bargain like a local, visit markets, eat and cook with locals, and head off the beaten track for a real insider view of Shanghai.
For the children As classes are private you can book for your family group and the Gourmet on Tour team create an itinerary for you of any duration. Babysitters can be arranged.
When to go From March to May it’s spring time.
Location In a newly renovated studio kitchen in a traditional Chinese house in central Shanghai, situated in the former French Concession
Contact info@gourmetontour.com or visit gourmetontour.com
 
Europe
 
escape to provence
Stay in a French château in the heart of Provence, nestled among olive trees, thyme and rosemary where you can indulge in a feast of local flavours. Fresh produce from the château’s organic gardens and local market delicacies is transformed into gourmet dishes. Cooking experiences are tailor-made and menus can be designed according to your preferences: Provençal cooking, spices, Mediterranean cuisine, healthy cooking or vegetarian.
Further foodie appeal Meals are enjoyed on the terrace, in the shade of a pergola.
For the children There are large grounds, bikes, a pool, tennis and more at the château. Babysitting services can be arranged.
When to go May and June are hot, but not uncomfortable.
Location Between Nice and Marseille near Lorgues
Contact info@gourmetontour.com or visit gourmetontour.com
 
pasta and gelato in italy
These cooking tours are a favourite with families. Everyone participates in hands-on cooking, making pizza, pasta, gelato and other traditional foods, and then dine together, enjoying what they made in class. Vegetarian and special dietary requests can be accommodated. Children learn about the healthy Mediterranean diet, enjoy local regional cuisine and make new friends. Tours run in Positano, which include a boat trip to the Blue Grotto and Pompeii, and an excursion to Amalfi and Ravello; in Rome with a tour of the Vatican, the Colosseum and the Pantheon; and lastly to Florence in Tuscany, with visits to the Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio, and with horseback riding.
Further foodie appeal There are plenty of one-day classes, so you can combine several venues on your trip.
For the children Family cooking tours place children into various age groups. Children are also grouped according to their level and food allergies. Childcare services are available.
When to go April and May are popular and not too expensive.
Location All over Italy
Contact info@cooking-vacations.com or visit cooking-vacations.com
 
South Africa
 
italian creations in a country kitchen
The themed Italian cooking classes, presented by restaurateur, Miki Ciman, include making pasta, pizza, artisanal bread or, more specifically, gnocchi. Classes are intimate, hands-on, fun and sociable. They begin with a glass of wine or juice, and a little chat about what will be covered. After class, the group shares a meal of what was made in the kitchen, and recipes and notes are circulated.
Further foodie appeal La Masseria Italian Country Kitchen and Deli offers cheese making courses presented by Miki, a cheesemaker with over 40 years’ experience. A salumeria (charcuterie) workshop is offered in winter and is presented by Lorenzo Ciman, a former pig farmer with more than 50 years’ experience in processing artisanal pork products.
For the children They learn to make pizza.
Location R44, Stellenbosch (opposite Mooiberge Farmstall)
Contact 021 881 3654, info@lamasseria.co.za, agrilamasseria@gmail.com or visit lamasseria.co.za
 
among the olives
Orchards Cooking School is situated on a farm, nestled in a beautiful olive grove, which is run by experienced restaurateur John Haddad. You can choose from a day, evening or weekend course, which is designed for any level of cooking ability. Each course involves a hands-on approach as well as practical tips and demonstrations. Choose from Italian, Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Mediterranean and more. They keep classes small, between six and 10 people, to allow for a more interactive experience. The spacious country house on the farm, which can be rented out for a minimum of two nights, is perfect for families to spend the weekend. As an extension, Tulbagh offers some wonderful horse trails, hiking and cycling routes, and the Ceres Zipslide is a short drive away.
Further foodie appeal Tulbagh’s culinary activities include olive and wine tasting, and chocolate tasting.
For the children They tailor-make cooking classes to suit the group. They can arrange a babysitter for you, and there is fishing, swimming in the dam and space to play and climb trees on the farm.
Location Odessa Farm, in the secluded valley of Tulbagh
Contact 023 230 0480, 082 345 2258, orchards2@gmail.com or visit odessafarm.com
 
culinary side of the karoo
The cooking school has been kitted out with a new, well-equipped culinary hall within a restored heritage building. The property also has an olive orchard, vegetable and herb garden and swimming pool. Stay in individual cottages in town, which have been restored to maintain their charm and authenticity. The Art of Charcuterie with Richard Bosman is a set course offered throughout the year and African Relish also offers a plethora of courses that you can book any time. You work with local produce.
Further foodie appeal Prince Albert offers wine tasting, a fig tour, cheese tasting and a Saturday market. There is also a five-day Gourmet Cycle Tour, which includes wine tasting, early morning cycles, cooking sessions, a village ramble, dinners, breakfast in the veld, a tour of the valley called The Hell, a visit to a morning market, an astronomy talk and stargazing. African Relish Recreational Cooking School also has a themed cuisine dining option where you enjoy a set menu in a casual, relaxed setting. Communal tables make for a welcoming atmosphere to make new friends.
For the children Any of the courses can be adapted to work for families with children from six years old. Families can book separately and request to do private classes. Cooking aside, children can go on a ghost and botanical walk and rent bikes.
Location 34 Church St, Prince Albert
Contact 023 541 1381, 072 582 8749, virna@africanrelish.com or visit africanrelish.com
 
farmstyle breadmaking
Bread & Wine Restaurant offers a two-hour bread making course. On arrival you receive your own apron and ingredients to make focaccia and sourdough. While your breads are baking you are sent off to taste various wines. A light lunch is served with some of the baked breads created on the day. An ideal size for the group is six to 16 people. Children under 12 years old need to be accompanied by an adult.
Further foodie appeal The town of Franschhoek, a culinary capital of the Western Cape, is nearby.
For the children Bread & Wine offers a bread making course for children. Hands-on, working in pairs and with a bit of guidance, children make focaccia and olive oil brown dough. They fill, twist and shape the different breads and take home whatever they bake. For lunch they roll out and top their own pizzas.
Location Môreson Wine Farm, Happy Valley Rd, Franschhoek
Contact 021 876 4004, breadandwine@moreson.co.za or visit moreson.co.za
 
sharing the kitchen with a cordon bleu chef
PS Cooking School’s onsite cordon bleu chef, Adrienne, offers hands-on classes or demonstrations in the farmhouse kitchen. Contact the Hilston Guest Farm to request that they put together a class for you or choose from a list of cooking courses that teach you to make Karoo lamb and venison pie, pasta and the sauces to go with it, Karoo lamb with a Moroccan twist, or how to work with Indian spices and French cooking. Accommodation is offered in two cottages on the farm.
Further foodie appeal There is very little you need to bring once you’re on the farm. Their picnic by the Great Brak River is very popular.
For the children The sweet making course is a hit with children, where Adrienne teaches them how to make fudge, peanut brittle, meringues, coconut ice or nougat. Children are allowed to get involved in farm life – chase the cows, help shear the sheep and collect freshly laid eggs on the farm. They can also explore on their bicycles.
Location Situated halfway between Middelburg and Steynsburg in the Eastern Cape on the R56
Contact 082 322 4403, info@hillstonfarm.co.za or visit hillstonfarm.co.za
 
hamlet retreat
If you’re staying in the KZN Midlands you can book an art and food experience for your family at Aladdin’s. With the two-hour cook-off experience, mystery ingredients are provided and teams formed to compete against each other to prepare dishes. A culinary skill is demonstrated, which needs to be used in one of the dishes prepared. You can also book a two-hour pottery workshop, as well as a five-day Midlands pottery, food and art adventure. This is for adults, but children over 14 can attend.
Further foodie appeal The Midlands is an area rich in local producers, markets, wine merchants and cheese makers.
For the children Rent a bike (for all ages), safety gear, order a picnic, and explore the country roads.
Location 2 Robin Rd, Nottingham Road, KZN Midlands
Contact 033 266 6460, info@aladdins.co.za or visit aladdins.co.za
 
bake and meander
Cook with your children or leave them to cook, bake and have fun at Tantallon Guesthouse and Cookery Studio, while you relax or enjoy the meander. There are mother-and-daughter cooking classes, baking and cooking holiday programmes for children four to 13 years old and hands-on cooking experiences for adults. Cooking and baking classes are three hours long, but can be custom-made and children can be supervised. During the July holidays, children can join WESSA in the morning in Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve for an environmental holiday programme, followed by lunch and cooking.
Further foodie appeal They can advise you on healthy eating and provide you with a tailor-made eating plan.
For the children In the area you can also find the Karkloof Market, the Howick Falls Craft Market, Lions River Foodie Market and Karkloof Canopy Tours.
Location Howick, KZN Midlands
Contact 084 753 2125 or visit tantallonguesthouse.com
 
mountain passes and ancient cultures
Kuhestan Organic Farm, with self-catering cottages, is situated on the crest of the majestic Magoebaskloof pass in the Limpopo province. They offer a one-day programme and weekend-long Persian cooking classes. Persian dishes frequently make use of fresh green herbs, fruits such as plums, pomegranates, quince, prunes, apricots and raisins, and flavourings such as saffron, dried limes and cinnamon. Learn to cook morgh e-beryan (roast chicken with lime pickle), kuku-ye gol-e kalam (cauliflower soufflé) or khoresht-e fesenjan (pecan and pomegranate casserole with chicken). Weekend programmes include forest walks and trips to the nearby waterfall.
Further foodie appeal During a class, Shahrzad Hone, who is Persian by birth, shares her experiences with this ancient culture and its cuisine.
For the children Shahrzad recommends that children 10 years and older, with an interest in cooking, can take part. Younger children can enjoy berry picking from December to March, take part in the festivities during the annual Kiwi Festival in May, and visit the nearby attractions that include canopy tours, horse riding, mountain bike trails and fishing.
Location Houtbosdorp Rd, Magoebaskloof; approximately 5 hours from Joburg
Contact 082 903 7593, info@kuhestan.co.za or visit kuhestan.co.za
 
time out in the country
Try your hand at country cooking in the Naauwpoort Valley at the foot of the Magaliesberg mountain range. Puschka Organic Farm offers one-day classes as well as weekend-long cooking classes. They bring in qualified chefs to give you the low-down on the dishes you will be making and guide you every step of the way. You can join a group or book your own private class for a group of 10 people. During a weekend cooking class, you can stay over in the Puschka Cottage or Puschka House.
Further foodie appeal In winter, guests can relax in front of the wood-burning stove in the kitchen. In summer, laze on the stoep, enjoy a braai and cool down in the plunge pool.
For the children Children 10 years and older are welcome, but if you’re attending a private class the children’s ages won’t matter.
Location Off the R509, Magaliesburg; approximately 90 minutes from Joburg
Contact 083 445 4710, 083 445 5058, info@puschkafarm.co.za or visit puschkafarm.co.za

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