Food has always been a passion of mine and cooking is now one of my biggest hobbies, followed closely by eating. When combined with travel, I am seriously in my element and that why a cooking class for me is an all sensory experience. Being married to a traveling spirit who loves good food as much as me, cooking was the first skill which I developed after marriage and we got into a habit of enjoying a cooking class or two during our travels.
A picturesque cooking class in Rhine Valley in autumn
Our culinary journey began on one lovely October day at a green grassy village in the Rhine Valley in Germany. The event was a cute Spanish affair, hosted by a friend who was giving her first cooking class and we both enjoyed it immensely. Complete with tapas platters, and pitchers of fruit loaded sangria, it was a wonderful experience to cook in the open under the soft autumn sun. Lush vineyards undulated all around us and the grape heavy vines were still waiting to be harvested. Flowers sprang all over the kitchen garden and we were a happy bunch of enthusiastic adults, excited children, and a big bouncing yellow Labrador. The food we made with love and laughter was a delicious spread and by sunset, we had a table full of dishes fit for royalty. Needless to say, that charming experience instilled a deep love for cooking in us and thus started our trail of cooking classes from around the world.
For some authentic easy German recipes, check out my expat lifestyle series Cologne Diaries
A rain washed cooking class in Phnom Penh
After that Tarek and I cooked at each destination on every single trip that we undertook and those classes broadened our experience of a cuisine in an all sensory manner. We loved smelling, stirring, chopping of the local ingredients all the while indulging in historical cultural anecdotes leading to some particular food trend or dish of the place. Gradually this cooking love of ours crossed continents and we spent many happy travel moments learning to make an exotic dish together. Those were very beautiful moments and the perfect harmony with which we worked together as a team bonded us better. Being avid travelers and born with curious sponge-like minds, experimentation never stopped us from enjoying a place through its palette and thus our most memorable Cambodia moments were spent at a cooking class. That evening, being a part of the monsoon season, was a rainy, stormy one and we chopped, stirred, peeled, and sipped wine while producing one amazing Khmer dish after another. A delicious spread of banana flower salad, cups of creamy fish amok, and fragrant sticky rice culminated from our evening’s efforts, while outside a severe thunderstorm lashed out at Phnom Penh.
An authentic Thai experience at Maliwan Cooking School in Bangkok
Another lovely culinary experience happened at the Maliwan Cooking School in Bangkok and complete with a wet market tour, a friendly trainer, and fun co-learners, it was a very photogenic experience. Thai food is one of my most favourite cuisines in the world and after that, I signed up for more cooking classes in Thailand to hone my skills in making the local dishes to perfection. It is believed that you have to taste a culture to understand it and my Thai cooking classes revealed the beautiful different culinary layers existing within Thailand. Thus, I learned over time, that the Isaan food has justified fiery reputation, while the royal Lanna dishes are more sublime. Cooking styles and preference of ingredients too differ from region to region in Thailand and many common dishes have interesting regional variations. My Thai cooking class reminded me very much of India and her varied culinary heritage. I happily explored the food diversity of Thailand which went way beyond Paad Thai and Tom Yum soup and it also taught me to be more tolerant towards travel stereotypes. Ever since I have not been annoyed with people to whom Indian cuisine starts and ends with “spicy chicken tikka masala”.
A Cretan cooking class in Greece
Greece was yet another eye-opening journey in terms of food and I visited there as a solo traveler. Enough time on my hands and a long stay at Crete helped me explore the self-sufficient Greek island’s culinary heritage and my homestay landlady took me under her wings to teach me a Cretan dish or two. Today, thanks to all their love and efforts, I understand the importance of food as a global connect and that sharing/appreciating local cuisine is a universal sign of peaceful acceptance. Incidentally, this deluge of learning and growing new found passion also improved my cooking skills and there is no denying that love is the secret ingredient behind a delicious dish. For someone who once set eggplants on fire while trying to roast them, this journey was particularly fulfilling and needless to say, today I am a proud good cook.
My inspiration for compiling my cooking classes
The idea of chronicling my cooking class in a photo series came from a post by a fellow blogger, Archana from http://www.travelwitharchie.com/ In her blog she has beautifully captured the joy of cooking with her partner during her travels. (You can read her post here) and her infectious happiness inspired me to compile mine too. So, come; join us, as we present our passionate culinary global journey in photos and hope that you enjoy the moments as much as we did.
Have you taken a cooking class at a foreign destination? Where did you go and what did you think about it? Share it with us know by commenting below!
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE