Cooking with Locals: the Best Hands-on Culinary Tours around the Globe

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Sampling foreign food while on the road is one of the great joys of travel. These days many people have access to excellent Indian, Lebanese, Thai, Greek, Italian – you name it! – restaurants in their own cities, but while the food is often superb, there’s no substitute to enjoying it at its full strength, with fresh local ingredients, at its place of origin.

Now imagine not only being able to dine on fresh regional dishes while traveling, but to learn how to prepare them yourself! Some of our guides have realised that showing a traveler how to cook a local meal is a great way to immerse them in the local culture, by helping them learn firsthand about the social rituals that go into the preparing and sharing of a meal.

Below are a few of the culturally-immersive cooking tours offered by ToursByLocals guides around the world. As with all our tours, these are private experiences – just you, your travel companions, and your guide/chef.

Tuscan Cooking Class
Massimo lives “under the Tuscan sun”, and was born in Peccioli, a country village in Italy, and home to some of the world’s most mouth-watering cuisine. Head with him to his small family-run olive farm, where the resident “Mamma” can teach you how to make traditional Tuscan dishes. Then sit down and enjoy your family-style meal with a selection of local wines.
Learn more: Tuscany Cooking Classes.

Santorini Cooking Class
Santorini is legendary for its whitewashed villages and celadon sky. But if you really want to get under the skin of this volcanic island, take a local cooking class with guide Dimitris. After walking through some of Santorini’s volcanic vineyards, you can sample traditional Greek aperitifs such as Raki and Ouzo, and learn how to cook like a Greek under the guidance of a local chef at a traditional restaurant.
Learn more: Cook like a Greek with Dimitris.

Seville Cooking Class
One of Andalusia's draws is its richly flavourful tapas-style dining. Local guide Francesco is ready to take you on a tour of a traditional marketplace in Sevilla, then on to your cooking class, where you'll learn como guisamos en Sevilla - how to cook like a Sevillan! He'll make sure to have local aperitifs on hand to enjoy with your meal.
Learn more: Cooking in Seville with Francesco.

Kyoto Cooking Class
With your guide Chizuko (a local chef) at your side, you can browse the stalls at a market the locals have nicknamed “the kitchen of Kyoto.” You’re guaranteed to see items you’ve never encountered at home! Your guide will teach you about what you’re looking at, then bring the fresh ingredients back to her home to make a traditional Japanese lunch.
Learn more: Cook a traditional Japanese lunch with Chizuko.

Mexico City Cooking Class
Get an in-depth look at a traditional neighbourhood, while also getting a hands-on introduction to authentic Mexican cooking on this cultural tour with anthropologist-cum-chef, Jonas. His cooking class takes place in the kitchen of a restaurant in Tlalpan, a bustling neighbourhood with a 120-year-old market that sits in a lively and off-the-beaten-track part of Mexico City.
Learn more: Cook in Mexico City with Jonas.

Oman Cooking Class
Learn about the culture and heritage of the Sultanate of Oman while you cook Middle-Eastern delicacies with your local guide Christin. Prepare chicken kabuli and okra mara, accompanied by raita and rokhal. For dessert, feast on the tiny and delicious honeyed lokhaimat.
Learn more: Oman Cooking Class with Christin.

Balinese Cooking Class
Balinese meals rely on a unique mixture of Indonesian spices to achieve their unique flavours. On this tour with your local guide Agung, you’ll get a chance few tourists do: to go inside a traditional Balinese family compound and spend time cooking with the family who have lived there for generations. Go inside a traditional Balinese kitchen and learn how to grind, mix and prepare the herbs and spices that create the texture and flavor unique to Balinese dishes.
Learn more: Family cooking class in Bali, Indonesia.

Now imagine also being able to come back home and prepare a unique meal for your friends and family – that’s a souvenir to cherish.
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