Top 10 UK Foodie Breaks
Foraging and wild pizza in Dorset
|Foraging tour with Fore Adventure. Photo: Fore Adventure|
This seaside foraging tour with Fore Adventure is perfect if you're searching for a sustainable, eco-friendly gourmet present. The half-day lesson, set against the stunning background of Studland Bay, begins with a beach search for seaweeds, sea veggies, cockles, and crabs, followed by the preparation of a "wild pizza" in a woodfired oven.
|Foraging tour with Fore Adventure. Photo: Fore Adventure|
The Pig on the Beach, a magnificent yellow-stone country home with wonderful beach views and elegant, chintz-free accommodations (doubles from £215), is just a stone's throw away. £50 per person for a half-day foraging and wild pizza-making course.
Wine tasting tour in Kent
|Gusbourne, Kent, offers a variety of tour-and-taste opportunities. Photo: The Guardian|
Gusbourne produces world-class white and rosé bubbles, as well as pinot noir and chardonnay, and is becoming a serious competitor to French champagne. The estate offers a variety of tour and tasting options; for the ultimate Christmas treat, book the estate tour, which includes welcome drinks, a longer vineyard tour, and the opportunity to sample some rare-release and limited-edition wines before an opulent three-course lunch. The Woolpack, a charming 16th-century inn in the lovely village of Warehorne, is a great place to stay. £95 per person.
Blend your own gin in Cambridge
|‘The chance to taste, blend or simply learn about gin'. Photo: the Cambridge Distillery|
Gin has been a national fascination in recent years, and the Cambridge Distillery's Gin Laboratory offers the opportunity to taste, blend, or simply learn about gin. The hour-long Make It session delves into distillates and botanicals, allowing attendees to create their own gin blend, while Mix It delves into the best gin drinks (mixology boffins should book the two-hour Molecular Class).
|The Varsity Hotel|
The Varsity Hotel, which is close by and has a rooftop bar and restaurant called Six, which serves more than 30 gins.
Learn baking skills in Abergavenny
|‘There’s no better place to come to polish up your baking skills'. Photo: the Abergavenny Baker|
Abergavenny is a gastronomist's delight, known for its yearly food festival and surrounded by specialty producers. The Abergavenny Baker provides lessons in everything from Italian and Nordic breads to Christmas and coeliac-friendly loaves, as well as gift vouchers if you're undecided. The Angel in Abergavenny (doubles from £175) is known for its massive afternoon tea and is located directly across the street from the Angel Bakery, which produces the greatest breads and cakes in town. £160 for a day's baking class.
Pork pies, piccalilli in Derbyshire
|‘Make the perfect pork pie’: Hartington’s of Bakewell. Photograph: Alamy|
This four-hour lesson at Hartington's of Bakewell, focusing on producing the ideal pork pie, from hot-water-crust dough to herbs and flavorings, will delight traditional British culinary fans. The second half of the class focuses on producing classic piccalilli after a ploughman's lunch. The training is held in a converted mill just outside of Bakewell, which is famous for its bakewell pudding (never a tart!). Stay at the H Boutique Hotel (doubles from £14) and visit the Bakewell Pudding Shop. Hartingtons has classes starting at £145 per person.
Seafood Safari in Ullapool
|‘There’s no better place for seafood’. Photo: the west coast of Scotland|
The west coast of Scotland is the best place in the world for seafood, and this day-long safari includes a visit to an oyster farm, lunch at a seafood shack, and a tour of Ullapool's smokehouses, as well as time on a fishing boat and dinner at the Salt Kitchen, which has spectacular views of the Summer Isles. Make a weekend of it by staying at the Ceilidh Place, a unique combination of art gallery, bookshop, hotel, and bunkhouse, which is offering two-night vacations for £300 per room with dinner and breakfast this winter.
Mountain tours Scotland offers the Ultimate Seafood Safari for £249 per person.
Cheese-making day in London
|Cheese-making at Wildes cheesemaker.|
Wildes provides a variety of half-day and full-day courses that provide an overview of the ingredients and processes required to make a superb cheese. The popular Morning in the Dairy session walks participants through every stage of the cheese-making process, from adding cultures and rennet to breaking curds and whey, and includes a 300g cheese to mature at home. Stay at the buzzy Rose and Crown pub in Stoke Newington, a short walk from the Tottenham Dairy.
Fish and cook in East Sussex
|‘Stay with the fishy theme…’ Brighton. Photo: Xavier D Buendia - XDB Photography|
Plan a weekend getaway to the beach around a fishing and cookery expedition on the English Channel. With the option to catch mackerel, bass, plaice, or cod and cook it in a local restaurant, Brighton Lure Boat fishing experiences are appropriate for everyone from total novices to expert anglers. Dinner at Riddle and Finns, one of Brighton's top seafood restaurants, and a stay at the Malmaison in the marina, excellent for blustery walks by the water, keep the fishy theme going.
Brightonlureboat.co.uk offers a Silver Bass package for up to four people for £230.
Chocolate masterclass in York
|‘Three-hour chocolate masterclass’: York. Photo: Holly Davies|
For almost a century, York has been the UK's chocolate-making capital, and a weekend in the city – dipping into chocolateries and tasting or preparing chocolatey goodies – is a fantastic present for chocolate lovers. York's Cocoa House offers a three-hour chocolate masterclass that covers everything from tempering chocolate to creating ganache, caramels, and fondant. After that, stay at the Lamb and Lion, a delightful tavern with 12 modern rooms, some with views of the Minster (doubles from £109), which offers 60 different varieties of handcrafted chocolates. Yorkcocoahouse.co.uk offers a Chocolate Masterclass for £55 per person.
Smoking and curing in Bath
For some foodies, a new technique rather than recipes is the best gift, and this day-long course at the Vale House Kitchen is just one of a variety of foraging, butchery, game, and fishing courses available. Learn how to smoke meat and fish both hot and cold, how to cure and brine meat, and how to make pancetta, bresaola, and chorizo. Stay at the lovely Carpenters Arms in adjacent Stanton Wick, which is known for its locally-sourced cuisine (doubles from £130)
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