If you are the types who love to eat and cook good food, and are a confirmed holiday addict, there is nothing more refreshing than to go on a cooking holiday.

A few years ago I took 5 weeks off to explore the food of five countries – Canada, England, Italy, Israel and Thailand. I was exhausted by the end, 5 countries in 5 weeks, and needless to say, 5 kilos heavier, but it was fantastic. I planned my countries around the cuisines I love and places I had friends who could show me around, and I plan to do another mulinational tour again soon, although I may just go exploring this time and see who I meet.

A cooking holiday is exactly what it proclaims – a chance to explore different cuisines and culinary preparations, and best of all, it is a holiday! If you Google ‘cooking holiday packages’, the Internet will likely throw up a multitude of options for you to choose from. So you can go on an exclusive Italian cooking holiday, experimenting with choicest Italian spices and indulging in quality Italian wine, or you can plan a lovely Oriental cooking holiday to satiate your spicy, tangy taste buds. Not to mention the beauty that the East has to offer in terms of places to visit! Some cooking holiday planners also offer exquisite wine tasting packages along with learning the local recipes, and this is something you may not want to miss!

A cooking holiday is largely meant for people who love cooking. It is slightly different from your regular holiday, in that you get to actually learn the local flavours and culinary skills from a trained chef or expert who also doubles up as your local cooking guide. This person not only gives you a hands-on training in mastering the local cuisine and cooking methodologies, he/she also helps acquaint you with the history and origin of the local cuisine. Furthermore, it is not also only about the local cuisines that you will get to learn to cook and sample, but a cooking holiday also offers a great insight into the country that you visit. So while you learn about the local spices and types of vegetables, fruits, and meat that are popular, you also get to learn and experience the history and cultural heritage of the place you visit.

The best part of a cooking holiday is the satisfaction of having learnt a new and different cuisine, something that you can try out on your family and friends after you get back home. Also, cooking holidays offer you a chance to stay in some of the best local hotels, bed-and-breakfast inns, and sometimes private cooking homes, to give a first-hand feel of the local life, tastes, and flavours. So if you have planned a cooking holiday to a small village in Italy or Rome, make sure you select a travel package that offers you a completely rustic feel and ambience, like mine, where I had a local guide organised by an Australian friend who lived in Italy, who took me to local producers who more often than not, only produced for thier own local town and its residents.

But one of the best ways to enjoy a cooking holiday is to head out with your family and/or close friends. There is no fun than in cooking and eating together. And of course, when you are not cooking, you get to holiday to some of the most exquisite destinations that your travel planner has lined up for you. In all, it is a double treat for food and holiday lovers. A cooking holiday is something that everyone must experience, at least once in their lifetime.