Attention, foodies! Instead of simply sampling local flavor on your vacation, why not bring a taste of your travels home with you? Cooking vacations are a unique way to experience a country, city, or village as you learn about food traditions by cooking local dishes and exploring local markets. Whether you want cooking lessons locally or abroad, for a day, a week, or longer, there is a cooking vacation for you. Prices, which are based on location and length of stay, typically range from $150 to $4,000. &

These sites are merely two names under the umbrella of one company, each one specializing in local or international cooking vacations, respectively. offers packages in all 50 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. In some cases, the site simply provides contact information for local cooking schools that offer open classes. focuses on international-based cooking vacations. The site offers experiences for “sophisticated foodies” who are interested in a more intense experience. In addition, both sites help you customize your experience by letting you choose the type of food, location, budget, and length of your vacation.

This site offers vacations exclusively in Italy. Some tours stay in one location, and other tours take you from village to village to find what each town and local market has to offer. In addition, some tours make stops at local vineyards and cultural landmarks. also offers tours for specific groups such as “women only” or “couples only,” giving you some common ground with your fellow vacationers.

While offers traditional cooking vacations, some tours take you to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to learn more about the art of opera. The opera tours do not include cooking lessons but rather a sampling of top restaurants in the city. And for the serious foodies, also offers intensive one-week programs in Tuscany, Italy, and Provence, France, called “stages.” Throughout each weeklong stage, you learn from a professional chef how to cook over 50 dishes by day and how to become his or her assistant in the restaurant by night.


—Martha Ostergar