As a kick off into my culinary experience in Valencia I booked a Mediterranean cooking class.
My partner and I love to eat and explore the restaurants and local food wherever we go. He also likes to cook and since it was his birthday I thought a cooking class might be a good idea and a perfect opportunity to meet new people.
Since his Spanish needs improvement, I was looking for a place giving classes in English and I found MoreThanFood.
It’s a concept of experiential education where people come together, have fun and not only cook and learn about the food & culture but also learn English vocabulary and make friends. The slogan of the academy is ‘Cocina, Inglés y Más!’ (Cooking, English & more). Its located in Carmen – Valencia’s lively bar & restaurant area where people from all over the world come to wander along the narrow streets of the old city and try all the delicacies served at the cute little squares and sunny terraces.
When walking into the academy you already have a feeling of being welcomed. People greet you by your name, give you two kisses on the cheek and put a glass of ‘tinto’ in your hand.
The location is very modern. New York Arthouse style with white bare bricks and wooden and metal elements. For me as an artist a pretty environment where the eye is pleased at the same time as the other senses is very important
The school is owned by Sarah – a lovely New Yorker lady – and her husband Juan. You cook either under the instructions of Sarah herself or Ricardo – a Galician-Valencian chef with Mexican roots.
Since this class was about local cuisine we also had Juan’s help as local food expert and Ricardo’s sous-chef.
We considered ourselves lucky since the group was very small and the atmosphere quiet intimate. Starting off with a glass of wine and an introduction of the menu, we went through the recipe and started cooking… We were divided in groups of two but since the group was so small on that day we ended up helping each other with every dish a bit.
I found it very pleasant to work with modern equipment, in a very clean kitchen accompanied by carefully selected chill out music. We cooked from 7 to 9pm and then we sat down for diner at 9pm (Spanish dinner time).
By the time we sat down around the nice set table and lifted our glasses I already had the feeling I was sitting amongst friends. The food was lovely and the atmosphere amiable. Over diner we discovered our hobbies and exchanged numbers to meet again for some (culinary) nature walks and bike rides. A memorable experience.
I currently live just across the street from the Mercado Central and have the intention to do my daily shopping at the market, but which vendor to choose from the variety of colorful stands full of fresh vegetables, meat, fish, cheese etc.? Therefore I was very happy when Sarah offered to show me the best booths at the market the following morning.
It is definitely a different experience to go to a market as a tourist where everyone looks at you with a bit of an annoyed eye because they know you will photograph their booth but probably not buy anything and it’s another thing going there as your local shop (to be). This is especially true being in the company of someone who is a regular client buying bigger quantities of food for the academy. Everyone knows and likes Sarah and so we spent a nice time chatting to the people behind the counters, being called ‚guapa’ (guapa means ‚the pretty one’ but the Spanish use it to express friendliness) and ‚cariño’ (darling). It was very enjoyable learning about their products and sharing a little laughter.
If you want to know more about MoreThanFood check out the calendar and chose from one of the numerous workshops and Foodtrippers (culinary trips around the world)
Que aproveche !