Cook & Taste: Barcelona cooking class (5/2013)
I took a half-day cooking class earlier this month at Cook & Taste in Barcelona, whose kitchens are located in El Barri Gótic not too far from the Jaume I Metro stop. My package included a walking tour of La Boqueria market, where we purchased the items we needed to prepare our meal.
I was in a group of 12 people, almost all American tourists (save one Australian couple), and as such the class was conducted in English by a chef/graduate of ESHOB. Cost for both the tour & the class was €78, payable with a credit card (I also tipped in cash).
The day started at 9:45am, when we met at the kitchens to deposit bags and walk to La Boqueria. By 10am the market is already teeming with tourists and regulars alike. Though touring with groups bigger than three is really, really not my thing at all, our chef supplied enough useful/interesting information about the origin and traditions behind the food we saw to make it worthwhile.
We returned to the kitchen to produce:
Romesco with asparagus
Sopa de pimiento rojo al aroma de azafrán tostado con bacalao
Paella de marisco
The recipes were given to each of us in a printed packet. We also snacked on mixed olives and jamón pata negra y pata blanca with seasoned toast while we cooked. Red and white wines were also poured throughout the cooking & eating process (I'm terribly sorry that I have no record of what we drank to share with you!)
Each participant volunteered to cook one segment of the meal, with the chef instructing and interjecting when needed. For me, watching and participating in the preparation of the paella, which was done with the aid of a special gas burner, was actually quite interesting. (I'm ambivalent about paella and this was in fact the only one I ate during 2 weeks of traveling in Spain... what can I say; I guess I just prefer all the other Spanish treats!) The food was prepared in such a manner that we sat to eat all the courses in sequence, and though nothing was gonna blow yer mind, everything was quite good. We didn't eat until about 245pm.
Overall, I really valued and enjoyed this experience: I love learning to cook "in person" by watching others; I gleaned a lot of useful info about both food and vendors from the market tour; and as a solo traveler, this is the kind of group experience I want to splurge on/be a part of.
The one variable bummer, I think, would be your group. Mine wasn't particularly spirited or knowledgeable, really (when I cheerfully asked if anyone from the States had experience smuggling jamón through customs, I got a lot of blank stares, and then one voice piped up "isn't that *illegal*?" I did hit it off with an awesome lady from Bali, though.)
I wager that the tour, instruction, and food (and bottomless glasses of wine) are a decent deal for the price and a fine way to spend half of your day in Barcelona. Recommended!
Paradís 3 08002 Barcelona
T. +34 93 302 13 20
We did the same class last October, and had a great time. I think you're right about how the group can affect your enjoyment. Our group was excellent! There were 4 other Canadians (we're from Toronto and coincidentally the other 4 were women who live in a suburb outside of Toronto), an Australian couple and 6 Americans (newlyweds, gay couple and 2 single women), with a good mix of ages and experiences . Everyone participated and we all had a great time with lots of laughs. I thought that the food was great - we really enjoyed learning how to make proper paella and in fact, we bought a paella pan when we came home to Toronto and have made it a couple of times since then.
I also appreciated the tour of the market.
It wasn't something that was on my radar when I started the planning the trip and in fact, we only made the reservation a few days before we went. I'm so glad we did.