Cooking in Andalusian Olive Country Reviews
Clive and Maki were amazing hosts. I learned so much and it was genuinely a pleasure to be in their company. They are great people with a wonderful story and taught me a lot about Spain and life in Andalusia. The accommodations were neat, prepared, clean. Maki was so nice to drive me to and from my arrival and destinations. The area is absolutely beautiful and the weather was perfect. The cooking was an adventure and I definitely came away with an experience, not just a class. All meals were five star + and I could not have asked for a more pleasant time.
Gerald & Elaine
Maki and Clive were wonderful hosts. We were in a great rural area. Accommodations were very comfortable. We traveled to great sites in Andalusia. Of course we ate well and learned a lot about Spanish cuisine. Couldn't be happier. This trip is highly recommended.
Such a wonderful environment to learn. Clive and Maki took such excellent care of us and welcomed us into their family environment. The food was superb and surpassed all of the restaurants in Granada where we spent a few days before traveling onwards. We loved all of the different activities and Clive and Maki were more than willing to accommodate our interests. In particular, my mother wanted to do some horse riding and we were able to juggle the schedule to allow for it. We would definitely recommend this course to other people.
Lihsia J., Hong Kong
We LOVED this experience. Maki and Clive have a true gift of hospitality. We were fortunate to take the 6 day course, and over the time we were there, they listened to us picking up on things we were interested in, tailoring our experience to our interests. (We spoke once about my interest in local artisans, and the next morning there was a book about Andulusian crafts and artists on the breakfast table, with additonal details about our discussion of the day before.) The cooking classes were well planned and geared to our interest and ability level. Clive is a wealth of knowledge, which he obviously enjoys sharing. He is a natural teacher. They are both a true delight to be around, have a passion for their area, and are eager to pass on thieir knowledge and the love of their home.
We can't praise Maki and Clive enough. We felt totally spoiled and looked after the entire time we were there. They are amazing people.
Sharon C., OR
What a week we had! The location was perfect, quiet and relaxing among the olive groves. Clive encouraged me to be inspirational, and taught me the importance of the basics. I now realize that the good food does not have to be that complicated. Great holiday, thank you for your advice and support. I will be back again soon.
Mrs.K. Lewoski, U.K.
The fish was so fresh, it was prepared to its best. Very interesting wine list, it is brilliant. Lovely antiquest pieces and love the fluffy bathrobes! We had such a memorable stay.
Mr. & Mrs. Shiokawa, Japan
We felt at home very quickly because of your hospitality, even when we had some rainy days. The floor heating was superb.
Will & Ingrid, The Netherlands
It was like staying with friends who knew a lot about cooking, and who were willing to share their knowledge with you. Thanks for the holiday, it has given me more confidence in my cooking, and inspired me to try new things.
We enjoyed our trip to the farmhouse completely. Clive, Maki and Cei were gracious hosts. The food was tremendous. We tried a number of foods and dishes for the 1st time and enjoyed them very much. Clive is an excellent chef and instructor. The tours offered as part of the experience were both informative and fun. The trip that included an olive oil tasting was a highlight. The weather was hotter that we expected and the winding roads were a challenge to my wife who can sometimes be bothered by motion sickness. Both were tolerable and would not deter a return visit. Overall it was an excellent experience that we will remember and we would not hesitate to recommend.
Robert W., PA
Clive and Maki made my one-week experience unforgettable. If you are looking for a unique culinary, cultural, and aesthetic journey, then this is the right program for you. Your charming hosts are not only dedicated to your learning of Spanish cooking, but also have a wealth of knowledge on local culture and international traveling. There is a lot to discover about Andalusian living, and I was certainly inspired throughout this experience.
Yina L., NY
We loved every moment at the "finca." Clive & Maki were congenial, hospitable, and knowledgeable. The tours to Cordoba and the olive oil factory were interesting, and the cooking was fun and helpful, even to two "old hands" in the kitchen. The accommodations were rustic but appropriate, and the location provided a delightful opportunity to enjoy and experience rural Spain.
Cheryl G., IL
This was a fantastic way to lean some real Spanish cooking and to see Andalusia. Clive and Maki were excellent hosts and went out of their way to make sure we had as great an experience as possible. We really liked the "farm house"... and the fact that we were out in the countryside and not in town. Our trips to Cordoba and Granada and the other side trips were top-notch and were an experience that will not be forgotten. Cooking with Clive was a real learning experience and he was alway willing to share his experience and expertise. We have already used several of the recipes that we learned with him.
Michael and Vicki M., OR
Loved every moment spent with Maki and Clive in Southern Spain. He's a brilliant chef, and a wonderful teacher. Maki is a rare and remarkable women. My friend and I felt so fortunate to spend time with her. Their finca is rustic, charming, and meticulous. We were so comfortable; I never slept better in my life. Every day included a great side trip to interesting places in the area, and then, after a siesta, we cooked and ate brilliant food. What could be better?'
Deborah S., CA
We have returned from our travels in Spain and wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our time at the Finca with Maki, Clive, and Cei Ridout. The three of them made us feel welcome from the moment Maki picked us up at the rail station until we said goodbye at the same location five days later. They opened their home to us and other guests and we got a real sense of life in rural southern Spain amidst the olive trees and hills.
Clive's cooking instruction was excellent- entertaining and practical- and we appreciate his sharing his expertise with us so freely. Our friends and family are in for a treat if we can only prepare asparagus, flan, paella, etc with only half the flavors and presentation Clive was able to help us elicit at the Finca.
Maki arranged tours to Granada, Cordoba, olive oil tasting, sherry tasting- all of which we enjoyed- and provided comfortable transportation and lunches as well. She is quite amazing- efficiently organizing tours and transportation, managing a home with Clive and Cei, helping lead the local tourist organization, and all in three languages.
We appreciate your directing us to the Finca and recommend it highly to anyone seeking a worthwhile learning experience in Andalusia. One of the best travel adventures we have been privileged to enjoy in our years of wandering.
Barbara and Joel H., WA
The whole experience was very relaxed, interesting and enjoyable. Clive and Maki are great hosts and made me feel welcome in their home which is very comfortable and set in beautiful surroundings. As I was traveling on my own this was very much appreciated. My companions on the course were very friendly too. The cooking was done in a very relaxed atmosphere with 'hands on' experience and lots of cooking hints as we went along. The added benefit was eating our tasty dishes as our evening meal. The excursions to Cordoba and the Olive Oil factory were well organised and very interesting - culminating on both occasions with a traditional tapas lunch in a local bar. Maki has a great knowledge about the area and was enthusiastic in sharing this with us which made for interesting journeys.
The Chicago staff were excellent - emails answered swiftly and any questions answered fully. I was not sure which programme to take and when I gave my various choices was pointed in the right direction for my circumstances.
Ruth M., UK
A lovely remote setting with wonderful hosts and great food! A perfect blend of relaxation, cultural experiences, and hands-on cooking lesson. I would recommend highly to any travelers!!
[Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] Excellent
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Very receptive and helpful in all aspects.
Susan F., CT
We had the most wonderful time. Our hosts Clive and Maki, their son Cai and their animals were a delight. The mix of tripping to seriously important historic towns in the morning with cooking starting in the early evening was an excellent combination. The local and regional knowledge of our hosts was considerable and they were ready and willing to share this. Learning properly about olive oil from one of the local masters was a great asset. The location was stunning. The hands on cooking lessons and the subsequent eating of what can only be described as fabulous food was perfect. The recipes and techniques were such as to be able to be managed and repeated at home with ease. The techniques in themselves have provided a life long asset. I just could not recommend this more highly.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] All perfectly organised thanks.
Lizbeth & Sophie K., Australia
The hosts and their friendliness was what we liked most. We really liked the travel itinerary that was part of the package. This school was in a delightful rural area and we were able to enjoy a part of Spain that many people might not have the chance to see. Of course, the cooking lessons and the food was absolutely fantastic. We would highly recommend this program for anyone who wants to have a unique Spanish experience.
[Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] Information about accessibility for those who have trouble with stairs would have been nice.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Yes. Everything was satisfactory.
Jacqueline B. & Melody M., Canada
_Response from The International Kitchen:_ We're so happy to hear what a marvelous time you had! I'm sorry to hear you had trouble with the stairs. At the time of booking, we do send out a reservation information form for guests to fill out that asks about any physical limitations, so that we can advise guests appropriately. Thank you again for your feedback!
Well our trip was amazing. Upon first arriving at the Finca, Carolyn & I were unsure as what to expect as it is a relatively remote location. However, Clive & Maki, immediately made us feel comfortable. They are lovely hosts. Anytime we expressed an interest in something, Maki was quick to try to accommodate us, as in going to a local pottery outlet, and a local olive oil shop where we were able to purchase olive oil hand cream and soaps.
When first planning a cooking vacation trip our initial thought was to go to Amalfi. I appreciate that you took the time to work with me and suggested perhaps Amalfi in March would not suit our wishes for our trip, specifically that many places might still be closed and that the hiking trails too may be closed. Even at the expense of us not choosing a trip with the International Kitchen at all, you still continued to advise us. Ultimately we settled on southern Spain which turned out to be perfect. We explored an area of Spain we otherwise would not have seen. Clive is a patient chef, easy to work with, and seemed happy to have us as guests. Both he and Maki were so attentive to us at the same time giving us some privacy and time on our own. After the finca we traveled to Granada and did some hiking at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains as well as touring. Again truly lovely, memorable days. I will certainly, glowingly recommend the International Kitchen. I hope to have the opportunity to travel with your company again.