Make a resolution you won’t want to break this year with a spot on one of Europe’s best foodie courses. Book a weekend away to immerse yourself in the art of cooking a boeuf bourguignon Julia Child would be proud of, sweet pastries fit for a patisserie window, or mix it up with a bartending course in the heart of Ireland. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to return home with a head full of ideas just rearing to get going in the kitchen. Here, we give you some of the best courses and workshops in Europe you can work into even a short weekend away.
Cookery courses at Le Cordon Bleu
It’s no secret that France is the foodie capital of the world, summed up by the common French saying “long comme un jour sans pain” which translates as “as long as a day without bread”. When it comes to cookery courses, few places evoke the prestige of Le Cordon Bleu (The Blue Ribbon) in Paris. Established in the French capital in 1895, the institution sets a worldwide standard in cookery and is the place where many Michelin-star chefs earn their whites.
As well as being a chef training school, LCB also offers short courses and culinary demonstrations for those wanting to borrow the knowledge of the best chefs in the land. Even if you’re in Paris for a day, you can squeeze in one of the 3-hour discovery sessions such as ‘Canapes and Wine Pairing’ or ‘The Art of Cooking Perfect Steak’. If you’re spending longer in the City of Lights, why not hone your skills in an in-depth four day course, such as ‘Tastes of Asia’ or ‘Patisserie Technique Essentials’ where you’ll learn the basics of short crust dough, sweet pastries, blind-baking and cream filling. As you’d expect, you can take home all the delicious things you cook. Remember, many courses at Le Cordon Blue have a waitlist, so if you want to book a lesson for a special occasion, be sure to book well in advance.
Bartender school in Dublin
When it comes to letting off steam, the Irish are Europe’s resident experts. Without wanting to stereotype, there’s a good reason why Dublin’s nightlife is so vibrant. Home to one of the most well-established universities in the world, Trinity College, 50% of Dublin’s population are under 25 years old – and they know how to party. Nights on the town around the famous Temple Bar area are a rites of passage for Dublin natives and visitors alike, but in recent years the landscape of the nightlife in Dublin has shifted somewhat. While the city is still teeming with traditional pubs serving perfectly frothed Guinness to the sounds of local live bands, plenty more modern and elegant establishments have popped up around South Great George’s Street.
If you’re thinking about switching careers to that of a bartender, or simply want to learn how to impress your friends and family, this is the best place in the world to learn the ins and outs of the trade. The European Bartender School offers courses in many countries across the globe, but the state-of-the-art training facility makes the North King Street branch in Dublin is the very best place to master the art of alcohol alchemy. With some of Europe’s best bartenders on hand to instruct you, you’re offered an inspiring introduction to mixology in the heart of Erin’s Isle. The school boasts a 14-metre bar with 12 stations, flair area, study room, chill out area and barista academy to take advantage of, and courses are available in both English and French. While the 100-hour intensive course is recognised across Europe, we suggest enjoying the shorter 2-day mixology course to become an expert in a flash.
Cheese tasting workshops in Gouda
If there’s one thing Europeans have in common, it’s our love of food – especially cheese. Britain lays claim to cheddar. Italian mozzarella is famous across the globe and brie is pretty much synonymous with France. While Holland is renowned for its fields of beautiful blooms, windmills and wooden clogs, it is also the birth place of what is purported to be the world’s most popular cheese – gouda. This amazingly versatile ingredient is loved for its sharp yet sweet and nutty flavour, and is one of the oldest cheeses on record. Gouda is named after the Dutch market town where it was originally traded as far back as 1184. To this day, farmers from the surrounding region gather in the market square every Thursday morning June until August to have their cheeses weighed, tasted, and priced in the traditional manner.
A visit to this beautiful area of South Holland will present you the perfect opportunity to become a cheese expert and take part in some amazing tasting sessions of the many different varieties of gouda available. Visit the Goudse Waag museum to learn all about the history of Holland’s signature product before taking a wander around the spectacular historical market in the centre of town. If you don’t mind venturing further afield, why not experience the taste of authentic Gouda and sample hundreds of different handmade cheeses at the Waarder farmhouse. Located in a farming village near Gouda, Gouds Kaashuis is well known across Europe, not only for its variety of products, but also for its original gifts and fun cheese tasting workshops.
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