Top Foodie Destinations: 4 Best International Cooking Tours for Foodies

Cooking trip shows and celebrity chefs have sparked a growing fascination with cuisines from around the world.

International cooking tours have become a popular avenue for food lovers looking to truly immerse themselves in global flavors and cooking techniques.

These tours allow participants to dive into regional cuisines first-hand, with guided market trips, professional cooking lessons, and cultural experiences that provide an authentic taste of a destination. From Italy and Spain to Thailand and Mexico, cooking vacations are a delicious way to mix travel and food.

4 Best International Cooking Tour Destinations

There are so many foodie destinations around the world that are worth visiting, especially if you want to go out there and learn the local delicacy by signing up for a cooking class like the one I attended in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

In this section, we'll dive into some of the best international cooking tours for foodies that you should include in your round-the-world trip!

best cooking tours around the world
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Cooking Tours in Italy

One excellent cooking tour for novices and experts alike is in Italy.

Participants can discover the secrets behind pasta making, pizza tossing, and more during hands-on cooking classes at local farms, vineyards, and restaurants.

Some of the best cooking tours in Italy include visiting Tuscany to make fresh ravioli and Tuscan soups. You can also learn to craft pasta dough and fillings from scratch under the guidance of Italian chefs.

Alternatively, head over to Sicily to master traditional arancini, rolling up balls of saffron risotto and frying them to crispy golden perfection. Other Sicilian specialties like cannoli can be learned during private lessons in local kitchens, allowing tourists to recreate favorites when back home.

Cooking tours in Italy aren't complete without pairing it with wine tastings or visiting the local cheese and olive oil producers. One of the best areas to go for this is the Alba region, which you can visit as a day trip from Turin. But whichever region you visit in Italy, cooking classes bring the flavors of each region alive.

Whether you plan to make wood-fired Neapolitan pizza in southern Italy or handcraft torrone nougat in Piedmont, Italian cooking tours can be an immersive experience that introduces you to genuine Italian cooking, wine, culture, and beyond!

ingredients for Italian food.
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Cooking Tours in Thailand

For those seeking exotic cuisine, Thailand is a top choice. Thai cooking tours will take you to bustling markets in Bangkok or Chiang Mai to taste and select fresh, local ingredients.

Using their finds, participants then head to a kitchen to recreate favorites like pad thai, tom yum soup, and green papaya salad with instruction from expert chefs.

The key is learning about essential Thai ingredients, from galangal and lemongrass to chilies and coconut milk. These tours also typically shed light on regional differences in Thai cuisine and how dishes reflect cultural traditions.

For instance, during the cooking class I participated in North Thailand, the chef who taught the class mentioned that in the northern part of the country, people tend to use buffalo meat instead of pork or beef for their local delicacies.

Thai food platter
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Cooking Tours in Mexico

Mexican cooking tours offer immersive hands-on lessons in classics like tacos, tamales, tortillas, and complex mole sauces.

Many tours are based in Oaxaca, as the region is considered Mexico's culinary capital and the birthplace of moles. These cooking classes usually teach you how to learn home cooking techniques, including soaking and grinding corn with lime to make the masa dough to make some top-notch tamales or tortillas.

When joining this tour, you'll also get a chance to visit the trip to the lively local markets bursting with dried chiles, cacao for chocolate, vanilla beans, and more.

Mexico also offers a chance to cook regional specialty dishes from around the country, whether you prefer learning how to make complex moles from Puebla or making some fresh seafood ceviches from Veracruz.

These tours provide a delicious overview of how Mexican cuisine is intensely tied to regional history and local customs. Through immersive cooking experiences, one gains deep respect for the diversity and complexity of authentic Mexican cooking.

Mexican food
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Cooking Tours in Spain

Spain is a dream destination for foodies, with each region boasting unique culinary traditions. Spanish cooking tours allow visitors to discover the country's diverse cuisine first-hand.

In Barcelona, food tours may take you tapas bar hopping to sample classic bites like patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo, and croquetas. Heading north, the Basque Country lures visitors with pintxos tours in cities like San Sebastian. Cod, idiazabal cheese, and txakoli wine are local specialties.

In central Spain, Madrid food tours could include learning about jamón ibérico production or tasting sherry in Jerez. Mallorca culinary tours showcase Mediterranean dishes with island influence.

With so much delicious regional diversity, a Spain food tour promises a true immersion into the country's authentic flavors and food culture.

Tips for Choosing a Tour

Choosing a cooking tour can be tough, as some tour providers seem to provide similar sequences. The group size can be one of the vital considerations when picking the best cooking tour to join. More intimate cooking tours often provide more hands-on instruction and interaction with the chef to clarify everything you need to know about one's local delicacy.

Most cooking tours usually incorporate visits to local markets, farms, vineyards, and food artisans to fully immerse in the regional culinary scene. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn some in-depth information from the local's perspective, especially about the special cooking techniques that may be involved when preparing local cuisines.

Conduct some thorough research to find the best tour companies online, and read reviews from past travelers to convince you that the tours are worth your time and money. I'd recommend booking early to maximize availability, as well as potential discounts or early bird promotions for participants.

cooking tours around the world
Source: Unsplash.

Before arriving at one of these foodie destinations, you can also gain some knowledge about the destination's cuisine, culture, and food customs to maximize your on-site lessons and tastings during the cooking class.

For food lovers, cooking tours are the ultimate way to experience global cuisines and cultures authentically. As the popularity of these tours continues growing, destinations worldwide are offering opportunities to cook regional specialties and gain insider access to culinary secrets.

An international cooking tour allows travelers to indulge their passions for food, travel, and culture all in one enriching trip. Cooking tours open up a world of flavors and cultures, satisfying curiosities about how dishes are made in their place of origin.

By mastering hands-on techniques with local chefs and producers, we can enjoy the pinnacle of culinary and cultural immersion as travelers. By doing so, we can return home armed with insider tips and recipes that allow you to cook your own international dishes without paying extra to dine out in the restaurant!


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