How Do I Choose a Cooking Vacation?

November 16, 2020  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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A couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in ItalyOne of our favorite ways to discover a place: through it’s food of course! We know that when it comes to travel and food there are so many opportunities to explore, so much so that it can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to deciding on a trip!

But with more than 20 years of experience in culinary tourism, we’re happy to help you figure out what YOU are looking for when it comes to booking and planning a cooking vacation, no matter which continent you plan to visit. Because we recognize that everyone is looking for a little something different, whether it be in terms of the activities planned, level of cooking experience, or even in terms of accommodations.

To get started when planning your trip, ask yourself questions like these!

Pasta dish made with fresh tomatoesWhat kind of food do you want to make?
This, for starters, can help you pick your destination. While a variety of places and classes can teach things like fusion, if you want to learn all about Italian, it’s time to pick a region in Italy! Then once you’ve picked a country – think about what foods you might like to discover. If it’s seafood, consider the Amalfi Coast or Liguria. Love olives? Consider Puglia, the land of olive oil, or our new Farm-to-Beach Gourmet Getaway in Greece.

How much cooking do you want to do?
While food is a central point of any cooking vacation that doesn’t require spending every day in the kitchen (unless you want to). Cooking vacations often combine a good mix of cooking and sightseeing as well as visits to local food producers, although, for the more advanced or professional chefs, you may want a trip that involves both cooking morning and afternoon.

Would you like an intimate cooking experience or a bus tour?
If you’re looking for an exclusive hands-on experience, you’ll want a trip that can be confirmed for as few as two people and with a max cap of no more than 8-12 people. Not only will this give you more flexibility in dates and timing, but you’ll have a truly authentic experience with the locals in the kitchen, making it easier to learn about the local cuisine. If you’d prefer more of a demonstration class, then a bus tour might be more of what you’re looking for.

Hiking in the Amazonas on a culinary vacation in PeruWhat other activities would you like to do?
While eating and food will of course be big components of your cooking vacation, there are so many things to do while traveling abroad! Explore the sites and monuments in big cities, or perhaps go trekking through the countryside, or biking through the Loire Valley in France. Love history? Consider visiting archaeological ruins in places like Peru. There’s so many possibilities depending on your interests!

What’s your level of cooking experience?
The beauty of a cooking vacation: you don’t need to be a professional chef to have fun and learn a lot. A culinary trip can be an informal one, for example, if it’s based in a B&B or a home kitchen.

Blue bedroom at the Villa Cordevigo in the VenetoWhat sort of accommodations would you like to stay in?
Another part of the puzzle when determining the best trip for you: the level of accommodations you’d like to stay in. Want to go to the source of your food? Then an agriturismo or masseria (working farms) might be just the thing you’re looking for. Or, would you prefer a relaxing getaway, perhaps with a spa? Then a 4 or 5-star property – or a chateau – might be more up your alley.

Answering those questions can help you narrow down your options, especially given that we currently offer well over 100 trips around the world! Other things to consider when picking your trip include how many nights you’d like your trip to be, as well as the season. Food restrictions can play a factor as well.

Would you like more help picking out your next culinary adventure? We’re always happy to talk to you about your options.

By Liz Hall

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