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Special interest holidays
Make your own way
|Price range||From £1078|
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Cooking, foraging, bread making and more in Spain
You will stay in an extraordinary eco-guesthouse, while immersing yourself in creative cooking and local culture in this unforgettable cookery holiday. Your tutor Donna is a friendly cook who will teach you traditional cooking methods of the region. Being an artist, she also puts a lot of emphasis on inventive and creative food presentation making this the perfect course for those who want their food to look as delicious as it tastes. Under her guidance you will discover the fantastic tastes of the region, as well as experiencing the local Spanish culture.
- Six nights / seven days accommodation in a private en suite room at the eco retreat
- All meals with soft drinks and wine / beer with the exception of lunch on days two and four which will be taken out at an extra cost
- A welcome drink on arrival
- A visit to the local Jamón Ibérico producer
- A cooking class
- A morning visit on day three to a local market to buy ingredients and meet local producers
- A North African and Spanish flavours cooking lesson focusing on cooking on the ‘asador’ and wood burning range in the afternoon of day three
- A morning visit to the natural park’s botanical gardens for a themed walk and to meet a local expert to discover locally grown aromatic herbs on day four
- An afternoon cooking demonstration of preserving olives, lemons and pimientos
- A demonstration of local cheese making
- A morning foraging walk to learn about nature’s free offerings to collect food for day five’s afternoon of cooking
- A cooking lesson on the afternoon of day five exploring the world of Mezze
- A bread making class on the morning of day six learning to make flat bread on the wood burning stove and in the asador
- All transportation from the eco-retreat to the local markets and Jamon producers
Check in any-time after 2pm. Later you will receive a welcome drink and an introduction to the holiday by your friendly hosts, Simon and Donna. Take the rest of the day to settle in, relax or maybe stroll around the retreat taking in the stunning surroundings of the Natural Park. As the retreat is situated in a very rural location, all of the resources are eco-friendly and Simon is always keen to explain the ecology systems employed at the house and will happily show you around. For dinner you will enjoy a delicious evening meal introducing the traditional flavours of the area for your first look at the culinary delights that you’ll experience during the week
Day two - Meet the producers of Jamon and first cooking lesson
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the morning at the retreat. After breakfast you will make a morning visit to one of the local mountain villages renowned for its production of Jamón Ibérico to meet the local producer. You will then visit a traditional secadero (drying house) for a chorizo and jamón Ibérico tasting and you’ll also have the chance to buy your own delicious ham to take home with you if you wish. Lunch is not included today and is charged at an extra and will be a selection of local tapas in a neighbouring ‘white’ village beneath the shadow of a magnificent Renaissance castle. After the lunch meal you return to the guesthouse to relax after your filling lunch before starting you first cooking lesson. An example dish is a traditional rich Spanish casserole made from garbanzos (chick peas), vegetables and enriched with jamón, morcilla or chorizo. Enjoy the fruits of your labour tonight for dinner accompanied by local wines and soft drinks
Day three - Market vist and wood fired oven cooking
After breakfast you will pay a visit with your hosts to a colourful local market to buy ingredients for this afternoon’s cooking lesson. You’ll also have the chance to meet local producers at the market to learn a little more about the local food traditions. After the morning excursion, return to the guesthouse for lunch. For the rest of the afternoon gather around the wonderful ‘asador’ and wood burning range where you will learn to cook a variety of traditional dishes all infused with the flavours of the burning almond and olive wood. The dishes you learn to cook today will introduce you to the North African flavours closely associated with southern Spain’s gastronomy and Donna will talk you through how these came to be. Tonight’s dinner will be tasting the delicious wood fired oven cooked dishes you’ve learnt to cook
Day four - Learn about culinary herbs, preserving food, paella and cheese making
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the eco-guesthouse in the morning. Following breakfast you will meet a local Botanical expert who will share knowledge of aromatic herbs of the natural park’s botanical gardens. If you wish and weather permits, you can also take part in a culinary themed walk in the mountains. Lunch will be at an open air ‘asador’ in the forest nearby where you will dine with local Spanish families to really get a ‘taste of the place’. Returning to the guesthouse, you will have a practical demonstration and tasting of preserving olives and other foods such as lemons and pimientos. After the preserving demonstration, the first stage of traditional local cheese making will begin and you’ll watch its progress during the week before enjoying the cheese when its ready at the end of the week. Don’t fill up too much on the olives, cheese and pimientos as you’ll be moving onto a wonderful paella cooking class where you’ll learn to cook a traditional Paella in one big pan together, which will then be served for dinner
Day five - Foraging walk and Mezze cooking
After breakfast you’ll head out for your foraging lesson as you take a morning walk around the natural park to learn about nature’s free offerings and collect ingredients for the afternoons cooking lesson. After your walk, return to the retreat for a delicious and relaxing lunch before spending the afternoon exploring the world of Mezze, a traditional style of food influenced by the eastern Mediterranean. This will be a fun improvisational cooking class creating all sorts of delights to be enjoyed and celebrated for your evening meal
Day six – Flat bread making and eating the cheese
Breakfast is followed by a bread making class where you will learn how to make a medley of flat bread dishes, combining ingredients such as spinach with walnuts and cheese as well as a variety of other stuffed flat breads, with combinations of cured meats, local vegetables and an array of spices to compliment these ingredients. As well as baking these in the oven of the beautiful wood burning stove some will be thrown into the ashes of the ‘asador’ to bake and create an amazing flavour. Lunch will be a celebration of these and extended to include the unwrapping and tasting of the cheeses made earlier in the week. In the afternoon you can either relax or take a walk in the lovely hills nearby. During your final night you will enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner where the wine will be free flowing and you’ll reflect on the week’s culinary journey
Day seven – Departure day
After breakfast, check-out of your room ready for departure taking home with you new cooking skills and an insight to Spanish culture that will stay with you long after the holiday is over
Please note this itinerary is an example only and may change slightly due to time of year and the weather conditions.
The 'carbon neutral' designer eco-guesthouse sitting within the national park is surrounded by 50 acres of land which is arable, almond and pine as well as an olive grove and orchard. Heat and light from the sun, thermal winds and wood from the land combine in a system of solar panels, wind mills and fires to cook and create energy. Rain water is harvested from the roof, waste water is managed and utilised through a system of reed beds and a grey water recovery system is used to irrigate the dry land.
However, being environmentally and socially responsible needn't compromise design and the house where you’ll stay was once five old farm houses, now converted into one very beautiful and luxurious eco-chic space all with the tiny touches from the artist owners that makes this really something special. On the one hand great homage and respect has been given in its restoration to the simple vernacular architecture of the building, and on the other hand a crisp eye for detail has been employed which makes the place seem stunningly modern.
There are six large double rooms, two of which are twins and two with disability access, all rooms have beautiful designer en suite bathrooms with large wet rooms. You may check in any-time after 2pm on your arrival day (earlier check-in’s are possible on request) and check out is by noon seven days later. The dinners you make during cooking classes will often be enjoyed by everyone in the retreat giving you the confidence to cook for a large dinner party sized group
This holiday is booked by phone. Click 'book now' to make a reservation request to our travel partner who will call you back to confirm your booking details and take payment. To speak to a representative now please call 0330 333 6737.