A French Cooking Class – Baking Pastry in Lyon

A French Cooking Class – Baking Pastry in Lyon

I’m the farthest thing from a connoisseur of French food. I know the basics, enough to get me through a few weeks of traveling in France. But, when I walked into a French cooking class, with a group of bloggers, and learned I would be helping to make pâte à choux, my first reaction was “what the heck is that?” What is Pâte à Choux It was a bit chaotic when our group walked into the small demo kitchen just off of Place Bellecour in the heart of Lyon. We were traveling together on our Viking River Cruise. This was the last full day of our trip, and we had gotten to know each other pretty well. Perhaps too well. As we put on our aprons, and all wondered where to put the dozen or so cameras that joined us in our class, our instructor started speaking, very fast. It was all a bit confusing as to what was going to happen. Our instructor handed us a sheet up paper with the ingredients and steps to make pâte à choux. I slunk off to a corner to Google pâte à choux, not wanting to admit that, as the food blogger of the group, I had no idea what we were about to make. The choux part of the name is merely the light and fluffy pastry dough that is used to make loads of different French pastries, like eclairs and profiteroles. Okay, now I started to feel more in my comfort zone. In this case, we learned to make the pastry, the crumbly part on the top, and Chantilly cream for the inside,...
How to Find Italian Cooking Classes in Italy

How to Find Italian Cooking Classes in Italy

I’ve always dreamed of learning how to cook Italian food in Italy. There’s just something romantic about traveling through Italy, immersing myself in the local language and taking a series of Italian cooking classes. It would be like my own version of living Under the Tuscan Sun. Of course, our version of this romantic dream occurred in Emilia Romagna, where we were fortunate to experience four different types of Italian cooking classes. In each of them, we learned how to make pasta from scratch. We also learned the differences between all of the famous pasta dishes in Emilia Romagna. Most important, we met some amazing people who really make traveling in Emilia Romagna so special. Italian Cooking Classes – Learning in the Home of Italian Cooking How could you not want to learn how to cook homemade pasta from these two women? At Casa Artusi, we did just that. Casa Artusi is a museum, library and cooking school in Forlimpopoli, named for the Italian gastronome Pellegrino Artusi. He is often credited as being the father of Italian food. Prior to Italian unification, each region or state within Italy had its own unique cooking style. In the late 1800’s, Artusi traveled the entire country and created the first national cookbook. Artusi wasn’t even a chef or a cook, just a passionate foodie. His book, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, has been in circulation since that time. It’s often given to Italian brides as a wedding gift. They say if the book comes from the bride’s new mother-in-law, it’s not a good omen. You can order a...
Gelato University – Learning How to Make Gelato

Gelato University – Learning How to Make Gelato

I love ice cream. I love ice cream cones. I love the balance between the coolness of the ice cream and the crunchiness of the cone. When traveling in Italy, I love gelato even more. There’s something about grabbing a schmear of gelato and walking gingerly on a passeggiata around an Italian town. So, imagine how excited I was to learn that I could attend Gelato University! Now, a full course at Gelato University, run by Carpigiani in Emilia Romagna, is a pretty intense affair. It can run up to four weeks and cost thousands of dollars. It is the type of program perfect for someone who is looking to open their own gelato shop somewhere in the world. Our version of Gelato University took about an hour. That’s okay – it fit better into my schedule. Visiting Carpigiani and Gelato University Carpigiani is one of the main manufacturers of ice cream machines. It’s also one of the oldest. Their headquarters is located on Via Emilia, the food and wine route running through Emilia Romagna. I was excited just walking in. They had ice cream cone art all over the walls, and even on the doors to the bathrooms. Carpigiani also operates a gelato museum in this building. The museum includes information on the history of ice cream and shows off some historic gelato related memorabilia. I am not a big fan of museums, but tend to make an exception when they are food or wine themed museums. I also make exceptions for museums where there is a tasting at the end, like the Salumi Museum we visited on our Discover Ferrari tour....
Thai Cooking Class in Phuket – How to Make Tom Yum

Thai Cooking Class in Phuket – How to Make Tom Yum

In all of our trips to Thailand over the years, the one thing we never did was take a Thai cooking class. We’ve been on a few food tours in Bangkok, and enjoy touring the local markets. We’ve even learned the ins and outs of Royal Thai cuisine. But actually stepping foot inside a kitchen to learn how to cook Thai food, well it had simply eluded us. During a recent trip to Phuket, though, our hotel offered a Thai cooking class, which involved a tour to the local Patong fresh food market. Considering we were visiting Phuket during the somewhat rainy off season, a cooking class seemed like a good way to spend some time in Phuket. Learning How to Cook Thai Food We quickly learned that the hardest thing about Thai cooking is cutting up the ingredients. Because we are far from Master Chef quality choppers, it’s one of the hardest thing about cooking for us in general. When we arrived at our Thai cooking class, though, all of the ingredients were set out for us, all nicely chopped and organized. It made everything else about the class so much easier. And, just looking over the ingredients involved in Thai cooking, it reminded me of what I love about food in Asia. The chili peppers, the garlic, shallots, ginger, and lemongrass. It’s like a smorgasbord of my favorite ingredients! After enjoying a welcome drink, we quickly got to work. The highlight of our Thai cooking class was certainly learning how to make tom yum goong, or spicy prawn soup. The tom yum recipe is included below. But, we also...
Traditional Indian Cooking Class in Delhi

Traditional Indian Cooking Class in Delhi

Our stop in Delhi was a little shorter than anticipated, but we managed to fill our bellies in several unique ways. In addition to being spoiled by the chefs at the JW Marriott Delhi, we took a traditional Indian cooking class, in a family’s home. We had been fed so much food in our first 36 hours at the Delhi Marriott, that I was looking forward to escaping the hotel for a Sunday night dinner that I hoped would not involve 10 or more courses. A home cooked meal with an Indian family was the perfect way to check out the local food scene. Being Invited Into a Family’s Home Any time we are invited into someone’s home in a new country, I start to get a little giddy. When the average tourist only sees inside a hotel room when traveling, seeing a local apartment or home, to see how people live, is a truly unique experience. We met our guide, Komal, a recent university student, in central Delhi. She escorted us to her family’s home, in a suburb of Delhi. I realized quickly that this was an area of Delhi we never would have seen otherwise, without our friendly escort. As soon as we entered Komal’s family home, her mother and grandmother greeted us enthusiastically. Komal’s mother immediately greeted us with a traditional Hindu welcome, placing a bit of red powder on our third eye, between the eyebrows. She also greeted us with a less traditional Hindu welcome – a big hug. I immediately felt like family. After a quick tour of the apartment, we squeezed into the...
How to Make Irish Brown Bread

How to Make Irish Brown Bread

I don’t believe I’ve ever shared a recipe before. But, when we learned how to make Irish brown bread during a class at the Dingle Cookery School, I have to say, I needed to share the recipe. I hope Chef Mark doesn’t mind. The reason why I chose to share the Irish brown bread recipe is, in part, because I’ve always been afraid to try baking my own bread. That said, I love warm and fresh bread. After falling in love with the Irish soda bread at the Beech Hill Hotel in Derry, I found myself determined to learn how to make it. I felt that it was important, as someone of Irish heritage, to learn how to make Irish brown bread. Well, my determination failed me while staying with family. Days wore on, and I had yet to attempt to bake anything other than a box of Betty Crocker brownies (they were tasty though). When Chef Mark placed the Dingle Cookery School recipe book in front of me, and I first saw the Traditional Brown Bread Recipe, I started grinning from ear to ear. Once I learned how easy it was to make, I knew I had to share this bit of traditional Irish food. Irish Brown Bread Ingredients -300g brown flour -200g plain white flour -80g oatflakes -tablespoon of bread soda (baking soda or bicarbonate) -300-360 ml of buttermilk -pinch of salt Making Irish Brown Bread I absolutely love recipes that start with “mix all dry ingredients together.” Done. Simple. Next step. Add the buttermilk until it reaches a stiff porridge consistency. Place the Irish brown bread dough...
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