Christmas can be a stressful time of year, especially for the cooks of the household, and even if you have the annual Christmas cooking frenzy refined to a fine art, perhaps you are looking for something new to delight your family or impress your friends with this year. Why not treat yourself to an expert cooking class at one of these fabulous cooking schools? There’s a wonderful variety of courses to choice from. Here we feature just a few.
Christmas Courses at River Cottage Cookery School, East Devon
Hone your cookery skills at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Cookery School in beautiful East Devon. There are cookery courses a-plenty with everything from Christmas Baking and Wreath Making through to curing your own Christmas ham with River Cottage meat guru, Steve Lamb. What better way to get into the festive spirit?
River Cottage this November and December
Christmas Baking and Wreath Making, 28th November and 11th December
Join the River Cottage team and local florist, Emma Vowles, who will teach you how to fill your home with festive smells and beautiful decorations this Christmas. The chef tutors will show you how to make traditional Christmas treats with a sumptuous baking demonstration featuring traditional sausage rolls and real meat mince pies from the good old days. Hugh guarantees you’ll love them! Emma and her team will guide you through making a fabulous Christmas wreath, using traditional methods, which you will take home with you to adorn your front door. This practical session includes great ideas and tips to use at Christmas. River Cottage provides all the materials – holly, berries, ivy, flowers, candles, ribbon and more! £140 per person
Christmas Bread and Baking, 15th November and 7th December
Join River Cottage bread expert Aidan Chapman and learn how to make great Christmas treats for your friends and family. Aidan will explain the ins and outs of baking, aiming to inspire you to abandon shop bought loaves for a world of delicious breads, baked at home. Festive goodies will include: chestnut & walnut loaf; cranberry & yoghurt sourdough, wonderful Guinness & apple soda bread and Christmas mincemeat doughnuts! £185 per person
Christmas Curing and Smoking, 13th and 14th November
Why not join River Cottage meat expert, Steven Lamb, and learn how to make your own Christmas ham in time for the festive season! You’ll get an insight into the artisan craft of curing and smoking meat. Whether you rear your own animals or are just keen to turn a slab of good local belly pork into your own bacon, you will learn all the basic techniques of curing and smoking – along with the basic butchery skills for preparing the meats in question. £195 per person
Throughout the year River Cottage throws open it’s gates for a variety of exciting seasonal courses and events so keep up to date by signing up to their newsletter.
Christmas at Cooks, The Carlton School of Food, North Yorkshire
The cost of Christmas may well be more than ever this year. Save your pennies and perfect the art of the homemade Christmas pudding and other festive favourites, with the help of the renowned chefs and culinary experts at Cooks, The Carlton School of Food, in North Yorkshire. Half day courses, designed to guide would be chefs through the festive season, start at just £70 per person and include personal tuition, all ingredients, an apron and a recipe book to take home.
Bake off fiends can brush up on their skills, from making mincemeat, pastry and simple canapés, to Christmas biscuits and shortbread with Great British Bake Off Finalist Brendan Lynch on the 13th November. Get back to basics by learning how to make the perfect traditional Christmas lunch on the 4th December or join in with #meatfreemonday and cook up a tasty vegetarian alternative on the 9th December.
For those wishing to extend their experience, accommodation is also available in the house with sixteen luxurious bedrooms personally designed by Lady Gerald Fitzalan Howard. Prices start at £95 for a single room including breakfast. Visit Carlton Tower’s website for more information.
The Carlton School of Food this November and December
Stir Up Sunday, 23rd November It’s Time To Make Your Christmas Puddings £70pp
Christmas Cooking: Patés & Terrines, 25th November With award-winning chef, Lionel Strub £70pp
Cooking with Game, 26th November Game recipes from Italy with Chef Richard Walton Allen £140pp
Cook The Perfect Traditional Christmas Lunch, 4th December With Master Baker Simon Thomas £140pp
Vegetarian Christmas Lunch, 9th December Even meat eaters will enjoy this wonderful vegetarian lunch £140pp
Courses at Cooks also make the perfect gift for foodie friends and family, with gift cards and vouchers available to purchase online.
No plans for seeing in the New Year?
Why not spend it in Italy and bring in 2015 enjoying la dolce vita.
Do you find that New Year can be a bit of a let down? Do you fancy celebrating this year in a completely different way? We highly recommend a Flavours Holidays cooking classes and we’ve just heard that while all the places on their Tuscan New Year are already taken, there is still one or two places left in Venice and Sicily.