Combine your love of travel with your passion for food and embark on a foodie adventure, either locally, elsewhere in Africa or abroad.
If you’re aspiring chef or a serious foodie, or just looking to do something different, then these food-oriented getaways are for you.
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. Prepare 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 email@example.com or visit gourmetontour.com
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. Situated in the heart of the French Quarter, the New Orleans School of Cooking is housed in a renovated early-1800s molasses warehouse. Learn the basics of Louisiana cooking and discover 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 about 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. email@example.com 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.
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. In addition, you can ask for private cooking classes. The classes begin with a tour of the fields under cultivation, where you gather fresh ingredients. After that, you head 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit huertalostamarindos.com
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. Most importantly, 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. Studio kitchen in a traditional Chinese house in central Shanghai, situated in the former French Concession.
Contact email@example.com or visit gourmetontour.com
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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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. After that, everyone dines 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. email@example.com or visit cooking-vacations.com
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. Lorenzo Ciman, a former pig farmer with more than 50 years’ experience in processing artisanal pork products, presents a salumeria (charcuterie) workshop in winter.
For the children. They learn to make pizza.
Location. R44, Stellenbosch (opposite Mooiberge Farmstall).
Contact. 021 881 3654, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.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. In addition, 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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Richard Bosman offers The Art of Charcuterie course throughout the year, while 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. As an alternative to cooking, 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, email@example.com or visit africanrelish.com
Bread & Wine Restaurant offers a two-hour bread-making course. On arrival you receive your own apron and ingredients to make focaccia and sourdough. Taste an assortment of wines while your bread is baking. After that, enjoy a light lunch 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. Most enjoyable for them is rolling out and toppping their own pizzas, which they then eat afterwards.
Location. Môreson Wine Farm, Happy Valley Rd, Franschhoek.
Contact. 021 876 4004, firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Alternatively, 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. Most importantly, 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, email@example.com or visit hillstonfarm.co.za
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. In addition, a two-hour pottery workshop, as well as a five-day Midlands pottery, food and art adventure are available, but you need to book for these. This is for adults, however, 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, firstname.lastname@example.org