Hotel cooking classes let you savor travel memories at home

You know what they say…”take only pictures, leave only memories.” But what if you want to take it home with you? That searing pad ka prow that leaves a film of sweat on your brow, a fragrant bouillabaisse, schnitzel so thin and crisp it practically floats?

What you need is a cooking class, from one of the many resorts, hotels, or cruises offering full or half-day demonstration and hands-on programs that let you recreate regional specialties. Depending upon the class, you might find yourself shopping at the local market for ingredients, visiting wineries, or truffle hunting.

In the Southwest, Inn on the Alameda joins up with the Santa Fe School of Cooking for “Muy Sabrosa,” a package demo class/lunch, and two nights stay, including breakfast, daily wine and cheese reception, and $40 gift certificate to Mucho Gusto cafe. Rates start $376 for two and dates are available throughout the year.

In Jamaica, Jake’s Island Outpost offers private lunch classes utilizing local ingredients, and featuring traditional dishes like “run down,” for just $20 a pop. Farmers often visit Jake’s to sell their produce, while fisherman pull up onto the beach each day, so guests can cook with with freshly-caught seafood. Crystal Cruises has hands-on classes on all Wine & Food sailings, which feature guest celebrity and award-winning chefs, winemakers, and mixologists. Each trip has a theme, such as sushi or Latin American food.

In Europe, Park Hyatt Hamburg has classes focused on seasonal ingredients such as spring asparagus, or cooking a Christmas goose. An October 16 class features quinces, apples, and pears from the “Old Land,” Europe’s largest fruit orchard, just outside of the city. Students will use the fruit to make braised venison with porcini. At Hotel Crillon le Brave, a charming boutique property in the Provence countryside, class participants this fall can immerse themselves in five, half-day intensives, including excursions to local markets, and the aforementioned truffle hunting. In Switzerland, La Réserve Genève’s chef lets guests in on his professional secrets during his Chef Workshops, each based on a different dish or theme, such as fresh pasta, or chocolate.

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, in Northern Thailand, are famed for their cooking schools and classes. Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa lets students choose from one of four set menus in their half-day program, which includes a guided tour/shopping expedition of the Chiang Saen food market. Over in Abu Dhabi, Desert Islands Resort & Spa, on verdant Sir Bani Yas Island, offers the unusual experience of Arabic cooking classes, where students learn to prepare dishes like moutabel, and prawns haram.