Making, baking & more
Often the best way to take the pulse of a region’s cuisine, is to get hands-on in a workshop or cooking class. And some of NSW’s most talented chefs, makers, bakers and purveyors have lined up opportunities for you to do just that. Develop a greater appreciation for how food makes it onto your plate, and hone your kitchen skills in the process.
Hunter Valley cooking classes
Australia’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley has its fair share of impressive cellar doors. And what goes better with great wine than great food? Skip the restaurants (for now) and sign up for a class at Majors Lane Cooking School in Lovedale, where topics range from smoking meats and seafood to preparing vibrant Thai street food. Take your culinary knowledge to the next level at Margan in Broke, where seasonal masterclasses such as butchery and making pasta revolve around the restaurant’s sustainable ethos – you get a tour of the kitchen gardens before you start cooking.
Oenophiles can also brush up on their knowledge. Pull up a seat at the Hunter Valley Wine School within the Hunter Valley Resort for an informal tutorial that covers everything from the history of wine making to grape varieties and blending.
Cooking classes on the coast
The Byron Bay hinterland is a dreamy union of rainforest and bucolic pastures. It’s here you’ll find Bhavana Organic Farm + Cooking School, which offers a holistic approach to cooking and food preparation. Think, learning how to prepare gut-friendly dishes and drinks or discovering the joy of slow cooking, followed by an epic sit-down lunch in the paddock overlooking rolling green hills.
Further south in Gosford on the Central Coast, the first winner of MasterChef Australia, Julie Goodwin, conducts a wide range of cooking classes at Julie’s Place. Enrol the kids to make a Mexican feast, or sign up to learn the secrets behind preparing meals that are gluten and dairy free.
Country cooking classes
There’s something about the bucolic countryside of the Southern Highlands that makes you hungry. It’s a good thing there are plenty of places to refuel at. First stop: an artisan cooking class at Moonacres School. Learn how to select flavourful organically grown produce, then bake breads, roll gnocchi, and whip up a batch of scones.
The Little Cooking School in Mudgee runs fun, informal classes – preparing gnocchi, gyoza, cannoli are all skills perfected – that culminate in a three-course lunch matched with local wines.
Head to Food I Am in Wagga Wagga for chef demonstrations, workshops and cooking classes that run the gamut from everyday recipes like risotto to preparing Middle Eastern banquet, all using fresh produce from the garden.
During school holidays, children can don an apron for a chocolate workshop at the Treat Factory in Berry, while at the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory in the Riverina giant chocolate freckles and rocky road are also on the making menu.
Then perfect your baking skills with a cherry pie-making class during season (November through December) at Ballinaclash Orchard and Cellar Door in Young, known as the cherry capital of Australia.