Visit Essex suggests where to go to treat yourself to a foodie weekend
Thinking about a weekend away, but not sure where to go or what to do? Why not try a foodie weekend where you can brush up on your culinary skills? It’s currently ‘the thing to do’, where you can meet-up with like-minded people and become a top chef too. Here are our picks of the best cookery schools across Essex.
EXPERIENCE A WORLD OF FOOD
Sign-up to the cookery school in the stunning grounds of Braxted Park and, under the supervision of a top chef, you’ll soon be able to create an Asian feast. On the menu are pork and vegetable dumplings, salmon red curry with crispy skin, chicken green curry, Asian style meatballs, Thai spicy salad and Thai Jasmine rice. The day begins at 9.30am and the chef will take keen students step-by-step through how to make these tasty authentic dishes. The learning style is relaxed, fun and easy-to-follow and at the end of the day everyone joins together for a well-earned sit-down meal and a glass of wine. The Asian cookery course takes place on 19 March and is priced £145 per person.
The Mistley Kitchen, set alongside the river Stour near Manningtree, also offers one-day cookery workshops for up to six participants and has courses taking place throughout the year.
Fish lovers will be wowed by their ‘Fish Basics’ class, which promises to take the ‘daunting’ out of cooking with fish. On the course you’ll learn easy tips for buying, storing and preparing fresh fish. You’ll also become a master at boning, steaking, scaling and filleting, as well as different cooking techniques for cooking each fish. Delegates will be treated to the best catch of fresh fish on the day, such as sea bass, monkfish, skate, mackerel, or hake. The workshop will finish with a fishy lunch with a glass or two of wine. The ‘Fish Basics’ course takes place on 7 March and costs £135 per person.
Get smart in the kitchen with past BBC Masterchef contestant, Ann Hood, who set-up the Ann’s Smart School of Cookery. Hood’s school has a raft of different courses on offer and, if you have a sweet tooth, you should opt for the macaroon class. French macaroons have become uber trendy in recent years, and on this course you’ll learn to avoid all the pitfalls to ensure you cook to perfection every time. The course is based at Hood’s well-equipped kitchens in Danbury and is priced £99 per person and runs on the 2, 14 and 28 March between 11am-1pm.
WHERE TO STAY?
Prested Hall (pictured top of the page) is a beautiful Grade II listed manor house nestled in 75 acres of tranquil Essex parkland, situated just a few miles from Braxted Park. The hotel offers comfortable beds, fine Egyptian cotton bed linen, fresh flowers as well as lots of personal touches to ensure a relaxing break. Rooms start from £150 for two adults and include breakfast.
The Mistley Thorn is located in the centre of the historic coastal village of Mistley and is a short stroll from The Mistley Kitchen. Built as a coaching inn circa 1723, The Mistley Thorn offers award-winning dining and accommodation in tastefully designed surroundings opposite the River Stour. Rooms are priced from £135 for two adults and include a full breakfast.
Pontlands Park is a short drive from the Ann’s Smart School of Cookery, and is a family run hotel providing a unique combination of homely comfort and exceptional service. Built in 1879, Pontlands Park features Victorian period architecture perfectly balanced with luxurious and contemporary design. Rooms are priced from £103.50 for two adults sharing an executive double room.