Cook & Taste Workshops, Barcelona
Repeat visits to a city afford you the time and luxury to step off the beaten tourist path and explore a different avenue. This time round, food and food adventures was my goal, from markets to local bars and the best restaurants (many of which I’m still to write about).
If I loved Barcelona before, I loved her ever so much more after we visited in May this year. Tucked in a narrow street in the Barri Gotic, with many old bakeries, sweet shops and the odd football souvenir outlet in a neat little square, the Cook & Taste school hosts cooking workshops all year round.
We attended a morning workshop with the dashing Chef Candido, where along with nine other participants (including an American family with two children under the age of 12) we cooked a meal consisting of:
- Chupito de Sopa de Tomate al Aroma de Idiazabal (shot of tomato soup flavoured with idiazabal smoked cheese
- Tortilla de Patatas y Pan con Tomate (Potato omelette with tomato bread)
- Paella Valencian style
- Crema Catalan (Catalan cream)
The class, as you will note, accommodates all levels and this particular one was perfect to relax in. If you’re an advanced cook and want to learn at a faster pace, this may not be the right class for you.
In our case, I wanted my husband to feel comfortable and our focus was vacation and delectable food- we enjoyed this and I picked up some valuable tips too.
Paella is not a typical Catalan dish, but Chef Candido explained that it’s requested so often that they’ve incorporated it into the menu. We did pick up indispensible tips on using quality stock, bomba rice being the paella rice of choice and the sofrito- the flavour base. It is customary that smoked paprika is used with chicken and saffron with seafood. There is also a point towards the middle of cooking at which the rice may not be touched, only the pan rotated or swirled.
Hanging tomatoes (tomatoes strung on a thin rope) are the very best quality and honestly make the difference between a tomato stained bread that you find at some of the restaurants along the Ramblas and a delectable, fully flavoured one.
Chef Candido mentioned his very senior grandfather who’s breakfast to this day, consists of a slice of tomato bread and wait for it…a schnapps.
Crema Catalan is an uncooked creme caramel, flavoured subtly with lemon with a caramelised sugar top. The kids in the group practically leaped up to be assigned the task, much to their mother’s horror! Chef Candido was as patient with the children as he was the the 19 year old who-never-cooks. I bet he has a problem with a lot of woman watching him in action and falling madly in love- a Spanish man, with gentle manners who can cook well…no need for further elaboration.
For more details on Cook & Taste Barcelona and their classes and prices, visit them here
*They do a cooking class with market tour as well, which I highly recommend. I went on a market tour with a private guide and La Boqueria Market (post to follow soon) is also best seen through the eyes of an expert guide *