The best luxury cooking retreats in the world

18 May 2016 by
First published: 5 December 2015

Food is great. Holidays are great. And going away can also be a great opportunity to brush up on your cooking skills while enjoying the fruits of your labour and the local cuisine. On that note, here are five of the best luxurious cooking retreats from around the world.

Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany, Italy

For a rustic cooking retreat centred around traditional Tuscan cuisine, look no further than Castello di Vicarello, a luxurious hotel set in a 12th century hilltop castle. Cooking classes are relaxed, with the kitchen always open to guests to come and learn more about the region’s traditional cuisine from the owner Aurora – who is also an author of cookbooks. Recipes always make the most of the hotel’s very own olive grove, herb and vegetable gardens and vineyard.
Rooms from £308 per night.


Blackberry Farm, Tennessee, USA

Blackberry Farm is a luxurious, rustic hotel in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, which is renowned for its blend of haute cuisine and the rugged indigenous recipes of the local area. The chef is backed up by a team of master artisans, including a baker, cheese maker and even a chocolatier. You can learn from all of them and an array of special guests at an ever-changing programme of cooking school events and culinary experiences – past guest teachers have included Alain Ducasse and Patricia Wells.
Rooms from £605 per night.


Château de Berne, Provence, France

Surrounded by unspoilt Provencal countryside in between Nice and Marseille, Château de Berne offers classes for newbies and experienced cooks alike courtesy of head chef Jérémy Czaplicki. Having worked in a series of Michelin-starred Parisian restaurants, Czaplicki now focuses on creating modern dishes from the bountiful produce of Provence, and you can learn to whip up sophisticated gourmet dishes from the seasonal produce of the hotel’s own gardens.
Rooms from £175 per night.


Rancho La Puerta, California, USA

San Diego’s Rancho La Puerta celebrates its 75th birthday this year, having opened in 1940 as one of the world’s very first health and wellness retreats. That emphasis extends to its renowned kitchen and culinary school, which is committed to its ‘Slow Food’ concept, using regional, seasonal and sustainable produce. La Cocina Que Canta hosts regular cooking classes in healthy, delicious ‘Mediterranean/Mexican’ cuisine, which makes the most of fresh produce from the ranch’s own organic farm.

One week packages from around £1080. Visit

RIMBA Jimbaran, Bali

For an authentic Balinese cooking experience, discerning holiday makers need look no further than RIMBA Jimbaran by AYANA is a luxurious hotel in the exclusive seafront town of Jimbaran. Programmes at the cooking school include tours of the pasar, or market, where you can source your ingredients and experience a central part of life on the Island of the Gods. You’ll then pay a visit to the local temple to engage in a traditional Balinese offering ceremony, before returning to the kitchen to learn how to whip up delicious Indonesian dishes.
Rooms from around £180 per night.