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3 European Culinary Vacas Teach You Mad Cooking Skills

September 28, 2012 at 12:36 PM | by | ()

Now that the summer rush is over, there are some great airfare deals to Europe right now. And with fall bounty in full swing, it's a good time for a culinary vacation. These cooking classes teach knife skills and the nuances of some of the world's greatest cuisines. They can be anywhere from intimate classes in a villa's kitchen to private rooms at small cooking schools taught by Michelin-star chefs.

Complete immersion is the fastest way to learn, so your course includes shopping in the markets, and wine tasting tours (of course!).

Here are some classes we found to inspire your inner chef.

La Ferme de la Lochère, France
Chef Katherine Frelon, proprietress of La Ferme de la Lochère owns a stone villa, next door to chateau not far from the vineyards of Burgundy. Katherine can customize your stay to your interests, but the “Classic Itinerary” has the best overview with a cooking class and lunch at Chef Laurent Peugeot's Michelin-starred kitchen,‘Le Charlemagne’, dinner at Bernard Loiseau's 'Saulieu', a visit to the famous market in Dijon, croissant making with local baker, and a day in Cote de Nuit and Cote de Beaune with wine expert Brendan Mooreand. The all-inclusive six-night stay for $3,417 includes rooms in King suites.

Toscana Saporita Cooking School, Italy
Enroll at the 19-year old Toscana Saporita Cooking School in Tuscany near Pisa and stay at a 16th-century estate in an area where composer Giacomo Puccini liked to fish and hunt. Here's you'll learn to shop, cook, and eat like a true Tuscan. Local chef Sandra Rosyn Lotti heads the school and leads you on five days of lessons and tours focusing on meals with wine pairings as well as olive-oil tastings. All-inclusive classes start at $2,750 US per person based on double occupancy until November.

Refugio da Vila Rural Hotel and Cooking School, Portugal
The Alentejo region in Portugal runs from the Southern tip of Lisbon to the Algarve, where tucked into the tiny village of Portel, in the shadow of a 13th century castle, is the charming Refugio da Vila Rural Hotel and Cooking School. Run by " Chef Miguel," a descendant of the original owners who built the 30 room villa in 1834, guests learn to slow down to the rhythm of the rural life surrounding them. Classes are held year-round, but in Autumn the air is heavy with the smell of ripe olives and grapes, essential to Portuguese cuisine and wine. Daily cooking classes are interspersed with visits to wineries and markets. A one-week course begins at $2,400 per person, based on double occupancy.

Note: Packages do not include airfare, but many do offer transfers to train stations or nearby airports.

[Photos: Katherine Frelon/Refugio Cooking School]

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