This post is from Guest blogger Joe (@backpack_Joe) who shares thoughts on Cooking in Italy from his Virtual Pin Map on uencounter.me:

If you’re planning a holiday in Italy, it’s well worth considering having a go at a cooking class while you’re there. After all, the nation’s famous for its amazing cuisine, and this way you get to taste it at its best and learn how to make it yourself back home at the same time!

Before you jump in and start planning the finer details of your trip, read our guide to find out about the best courses, as well as practical things to consider before booking your place.

Things to think about before signing up

There are a few things you should give some thought to before you start checking out the various courses on offer. The first is how much of your break you want to spend in classes. If you have visions of enjoying lazy days in the sun or trekking around as many art galleries as possible, for example, a long course is unlikely to work well with your wider travel plans.

Fortunately, courses really vary in terms of duration, so it’s pretty easy to find something that suits you. That said, it’s worth bearing in mind that in many of the best cooking schools, classes will be limited to fairly low numbers, so make sure you book as early as you can.

Another key thing to think about is where you’d like to learn. If you’ve got the cookery bug, you may well be willing to jet off to just about anywhere to spend time with professional chefs, but if you only want cookery classes to be a small part of your holiday, pick your destination first and then see what’s available nearby.

How to choose your course

Italy is full of cooking classes catering to holidaymakers, which means there’s a huge amount of choice out there. Of course, this also means finding the top courses can be somewhat difficult. So, if you’re happy to pick out your destination first, it’s worth doing. This way, you’ll have a smaller pool of options to choose from!

Sorrento is a particularly good place to choose, since it’s home to some great cuisine and has been a favourite destination among British holidaymakers for years and years. What’s nice about learning here is that you can opt to get an introduction to Italian cooking in a broad sense, or learn about specific dishes.

For example, the one-day Italian cookery course will show you how to create a classic Italian menu through demonstration, hands-on practice and tasting the food. Plus, you’ll get an insight into things like dressing plates and how to pick out the best fresh produce, which is good for those of us who need a few pointers to make their food a bit more polished!

If you’ve got a particular love for pizza, however – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t? – you can take a course that’ll show you everything you need to know about making traditional Neapolitan pizzas. This one lasts for five days, so it’s a bit more serious. If you want to learn about pizza without committing yourself to a kitchen for so long, consider combination courses, like two-day options giving you the lowdown on pizza, pasta and gelato.

Florence is another excellent place to learn – particularly if you’re a keen fan of Tuscan cuisine. There are some great classes on offer on the outskirts of the city, like the Italian immersion courses, which show you how to make at least five courses each day! What’s especially nice about these is that you can opt to learn for one to three days, so there’s a little bit of flexibility in terms of duration.

Joe is looking forward to honing his cooking skills when he stays in Rome hotels on his tour of Italy later this year.

What our lovely readers have said about it:

  1. Michael says:

    I’m traveling to italy for the first time, and on my own to boot! This is really great advice. I’ve been looking around but I keep running into the same issue. Everywhere seems to be so far removed from the cities that I won’t be able to access them. I’ve been living in a city for years and have gotten pretty rusty behind the wheel of a car. For this reason I’m trying to make my way around Italy (starting in rome and heading north for 2 weeks towards my final destination, Milan) by trains and taxis. Do you have any suggestions for cooking schools that are easily train or taxi accessible from Florence? I’m young and on a bit of a budget so $90 taxis are a bit out of my reach. Help!

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