2020 certainly hasn’t been the year any of us planned. From weddings and birthday parties to trips down the pub and holidays abroad — fun has well and truly been cancelled.

But what if we told you that you could experience all the flavours of France and the taste of Italy without stepping foot on a plane or even leaving the country?

For many, food is a key factor in the overall holiday experience. You spend hours drooling over restaurant reviews and compiling a list of places to visit — months before you’re even due to go.

Once there, you immerse yourself in the culture by ‘eating like the locals’ and winding down narrow streets off the beaten path in search of hidden gastronomic gems. You explore the Sunday markets, scurrying back to your rented apartment with your mouth-watering finds to cook up a storm.

And when you arrive back home, you long for that dish which was so good that you had to go back and have it a second time — despite a lengthy list of other places to try.

Whilst you might not be able to go on the trip you had planned this year, you can recreate the flavor of your holiday at home with The Abinger Cookery School — your very own culinary haven in the heart of the stunning Surrey Hills.

Italy

Who doesn’t love a sizzling summer holiday in Italy, where produce and simple Mediterranean flavours are key? From Tuscany to Puglia, Italy’s diverse food regions have an abundance of culinary delights and local delicacies to offer.

If you want to feel like you’re on an Italian holiday, the Taste of Italy Course will give you the skills you need to impress your friends and family with authentic Italian food such as creamy arancini with a sweet red pepper sauce, beautifully traditional focaccia bread and velvety herb risotto.

The Italian Masterclass Course will take you on a journey around Italy and Sicily, where chef Jake has travelled extensively, as you create and tuck into a delightfully fresh Panzanella salad and rich tiramisu, washed down with a punchy affogato.

Of course, a trip to Italy wouldn’t be complete without a bowl of freshly made, perfectly al dente pasta. With the hands-on Pasta Making Course, you will learn the basic skills before applying them to more adventurous dishes such as pumpkin ravioli with a puttanesca sauce.

France

No one conjures up relaxed, romantic dining quite like the French. If you were due to escape on a couples getaway to France, why not try the Flavours of France Course, where you’ll learn to cook classic bistro recipes form the different regions of the country and whip up some mouth-watering dishes like succulent coq au vin and oh-so moreish madeleines.

India

With its exotic dishes flavoured with a long list of wonderful herbs and alluring spices, India is a diverse and colourful country with much more to offer than just ‘curries’.

On the Indian Cookery Course, well-renowned chef Hari Ghotra will take you on a tasting tour around the country, showing you how different people in different areas — influenced by their own cultures, customs, climate and religions — cook. Expect to dive into delectable dishes like red lentil dhal, thari wala chicken and Indian rice pudding.

Mexico

Sun, tequila, tacos and guacamole — Mexico and its taste sensations have all the makings of a fantastic summer holiday. Although sun isn’t guaranteed, you can learn how to make tasty cod tacos, homemade corn tortillas, tangy salsa, fresh guacamole and sweet churros with a gorgeously rich chocolate dipping sauce at home through the Mexican Cookery Course. Just remember to go easy on the tequila…

Spain

From succulent spicy meatballs to hearty tortilla and crispy patatas bravas, Spain is known for its bold, colourful tapas dishes. Everyone knows the best part of a Spanish holiday is sitting at the bar with friends as you share these wonderful little dishes, chatting away all night and gulping down gigantic goblets of gin and tonic.

On the Tapas Cookery Course you will use fresh ingredients as you learn how to recreate these bold flavours ready to show off to family and friends.

Thailand

Aromatic, lightly prepared dishes are the signatures of Thai cuisine. If your Asian gap year was cut short or cancelled, you can still enjoy these wonderful flavours at home. On the Thai Cookery Course, you’ll work with traditional Thai ingredients to create popular dishes like green and red curry pastes, as well as fish cakes and an authentic pad Thai.

Bring some fun back into 2020

For a getaway a little closer to home, the Surrey Hills provides the perfect backdrop. If you’d like to turn your one-day cookery course into a much-needed weekend retreat, we’d be happy to provide recommendations for places to stay and things to do on days out in Surrey.

We’ll keep our fingers crossed for some sun, too! If you close your eyes, it’ll almost be like you’re sat eating tagliolini vongole and drinking Aperol spritz at the Piazza San Marco in Venice…

We’re ready for take-off when you are. Book a cookery course today and get ready to immerse yourself in the world of cooking as Lizzie, Jake and David take you on a culinary adventure around the globe.