For a holiday recipe to remember...
From Tuscan cuisine to Thai cookery classes, these far-flung foodie hangouts let you and your family test skills in the kitchen while travelling the world.
ROSEWOOD CASTIGLION DEL BOSCO
Food underpins every aspect of Italian life, especially when it comes to family occasions, so where better to indulge in a cookery class? Tuscan fare tops the menu at Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco’s cookery school, set within Osteria La Canonica – a traditional trattoria that serves up hearty dishes and views of the surrounding countryside.
Students begin by picking ingredients from the chef’s kitchen-garden – designed by the same landscape architect who created the Vatican Gardens in Rome – before embarking on a range of cookery courses, from making fresh pasta to a hands-on class that’s designed especially for families.
All classes are open to children of 12 and older, provided they’re accompanied by an adult. Parents can toast the end to a successful session with a large glass of Brunello di Montalcino. Elsewhere, there’s a kids’ club, with treasure hunts, painting, crafting and (yet more) cookery classes to keep children occupied.
Truffle hunting is also available if the season season permits, and you can spend hours rambling around the olive groves and orchards of this 4,000-acre Tuscan estate.
Smith Extra: A wine-tasting tour for two
ANANTARA MAI KHAO PHUKET
For a truly immersive Thai experience, enrol in a Spice Spoons cooking school at this exclusive Anantara address, which stands on the shores of Phuket’s longest beach. You can choose to start in the morning, with a chef-guided tour of the local markets, learning how to pick out fresh ingredients.
Or, you can simply join in the afternoon for the step-by-step cookery class, held in the open kitchen of the hotel’s La Sala restaurant, to concoct a menu of local dishes, such as tod man pla (Thai fishcakes) or tom kha gai (coconut chicken soup). For the more aesthetically-obsessed chef, there’s also a fruit and vegetable carving class, where you can create intricate garnishes to impress at your next dinner party.
Once you’ve had your fill of Thai cuisine, you can organise a trip to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, explore the surrounding jungle, take a cruise through peacock-hued waters or master the waves with a private surf lesson. After all that excitement, crash out in one of the hotel’s private pool villas, including Two-Bedroom Family Pool Villas, which are perfect for family groups.
Smith Extra: An hour’s unlimited Anantara signature cocktails for two
INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT
Da Nang, Vietnam
To get to grips with Vietnam’s rich culinary heritage, join Pierre Gagnaire – a world-acclaimed French chef who teaches cookery courses at this secluded spot on the Son Tra peninsula.
Classes take place at La Maison 1888 – a restaurant that’s been built to resemble a French colonial mansion and is the first place in Vietnam to employ a Michelin-starred chef: first, with Michel Roux, and now with monsieur Gagnaire.
Once you’ve unearthed the chef’s secrets, the resort provides the perfect base to delve into Vietnam’s culture, with the the Unesco World Heritage sites of Hoi An and Hue both within easy reach. The resort itself has a playful feel which marries well with families: activities range from hikes through the surrounding nature reserve tobasket-boat lessons and lantern-making classes.
There’s also a children’s pool and a Planet Trekkers kids’ club, complete with a slide, toys and activities.
Smith Extra: Afternoon tea for two at Citron (plus free babysitting throughout your stay, if needed)
Hampshire, United Kingdom
This classic country-house hotel in the heart of Hampshire is renowned for its gourmet happenings. The talented duo behind its centrepiece restaurant, Hartnett Holder & Co, are TV mastro and Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett and internationally-acclaimed Luke Holder, who together offer guests the opportunity to take part in a class at HH & Co Backstage: the onsite cookery school.
A range of courses are on offer, suiting both beginners and more experienced chefs, from risotto and pasta making, to cocktail mixing and biscotti crafting. Also keep an eye out for the regular pop-up evenings, where famous chefs such Rick Stein and Tom Kerridge take over the kitchen for a night of fine dining.
Despite its high-end style and setting, Lime Wood is extremely welcoming to children, offering a special kids’ menu, as well as bikes and scooters to borrow and family-friendly swimming hours in the indoor heated pool.
Smith Extra: A bottle of champagne
CHÂTEAU LES MERLES
Gourmet-inclined travellers will love this chic French getaway. As well family-friendly offerings, including a tennis court, playground and lawn-side swimming pool, its impressive restaurant Les Merles serves up New Périgordine cuisine in a grand old dining hall with a dramatic fireplace and high-beamed ceilings.
Helmed by chef Bas Holten, dishes put the emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. Guests have the opportunity to create items off the menu through cooking and wine sessions, with visits to French markets and local producers, wine seminars and tastings, and a repertoire of recipes to take home.
Smith Extra: A free glass of champagne, regional amuse-bouches and a bottle of wine from the vineyards of Château les Merles
With Mr & Mrs Smith, you get a best-price guarantee and free Smith Extras on arrival at every hotel. To book, call 800 905 326 or visit mrandmrssmith.com