Have you or your loved one ever secretly harbored dreams of attending a destination culinary school, maybe somewhere like Paris or Tuscany? Well now you can, and your kids can too! These are a few of our favorites, ranging from the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee to the rolling hills of Campania, via Barcelona, Paris and the Cote D’Azur, and the best part is, they all allow lots of free time to explore and spend family time outside of the kitchen:
Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
This beautiful Relais & Chateaux property is a dream destination for families seeking an upscale, activity-rich vacation. Their outstanding “Kitchen Full of Kids” program includes a Cookout Under the Stars, an impressive multi-course dinner made with produce fresh from the farm, and lots of family time eating and cooking together. Besides the multitude of culinary, wine, photography and yoga courses offered year-round, Blackberry Farm also offers fly-fishing and Harley Davidson tours! The resort was profiled by Ruth Reichl on her PBS series Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth, and sells its own cookbook, heirloom seeds and farm-fresh products like cheeses and charcuterie. Learn more about their outstanding year of courses, holidays and unique experiences here (link opens a PDF).
(Watch for our Blackberry Farm feature, coming soon on HipTravelMama!)
A Taste of Spain, Barcelona
Spain, a country with no less than 7 restaurants bestowed with 3 Michelin Stars, home to the nueva cocina movement, and renowned for its diverse regional cuisine, is a hot destination for food enthusiasts. Want to experience the Saffron Harvest or cook like Ferran Adria? A Taste of Spain is a boutique agency that specializes in customized, private tours and classes and offers a vast array of itineraries that work for families with children of all ages. The company has an impressive pedigree, run by an experienced lineup of well traveled food industry professionals who are also native Spaniards. We love their “Land of Ibérico Ham” tour, that involves spotting free-range pigs in the Mediterranean countryside, and their half-day Guided Tapas Tours where your kids might meet and play with local children while you check out the best Tapas bars in the city. Additionally, tours can focus on traditional, modern or even vegan Spanish cuisine in locations all over Spain.
Hip Tip: Are you reading this and longing for the days when your kids are old enough to hit the international culinary trail? No need to wait – Miguel Ullibari, a food expert with A Taste of Spain, tells us that they recently arranged a custom tour for a US family with 2 babies and a 6 year old!
Secret Garden, Positano Italy
From as young as two years old, your children can join the fun at the Secret Garden in Positano, learning to make authentic pizza, pasta, gelato and even mozzarella. This dreamy trip from Cooking Vacations blends touring, tasting and cooking – a sample itinerary involves boat trips to Capri, excursions to the local markets, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast interspersed with food tastings (olive oil, gelato) and cooking lessons from local chefs. You will even learn learning conversational Italian in this deliciously fun environment! We love the way this vacation has been thoughtfully planned to provide interesting activities for both parents and children, so everyone can enjoy a magical, memorable vacation.
Lenôtre, Paris / Cannes
Cupcakes and cutout cookies are for babies! Your 8-17 year olds can join the Young Toques program and learn to make delicious dishes like sea bream en papillote and tarte aux pommes with salt caramel butter sauce, while you learn to make Macarons, Croissants and Millefeuille from the artistic chefs at the upscale Paris bakery chain, Lenôtre. Class schedule for the Cannes location available here.
Note: your little chefs might be interested to know that Gaston Lenôtre, who started the business was the inspiration for the character Gusteau in the movie Ratatouille!
Ecole de Cuisine by Alain Ducasse, Paris
Send your 7-12 year old to Les Mini Pouces to take a fun class to learn traditional french, pastry or Holiday cooking. While your babies are becoming future Michelin Star recipients, spend the time shopping or relaxing in a café, or sign up for your own class – read more about the adult class experience here!
Have you taken a culinary vacation with your kids? We’d love to hear about it! Look out for more Culinary Vacations for Families, coming this Summer on HipTravelMama.com.
–Fiona Van Alstyne is a Hip Travel Mama contributor and Luxe Food & Wine editor.
If you are passionate about food like me, stop by Wanderlust and Lipstick each week for WanderFood Wednesday, where you will find amazing pictures and food that will inspire you to travel the world and bring the world’s cuisine a bit closer in your own kitchen!
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