Written for Slow Living: http://www.slowlivingtoday.com/2014/culture-entertainment/perfect-holiday-gift-home-cook-let-learn/
It can be tough to find the perfect gift for a foodie friend. Try forgoing the standard gift basket and giving a unique and lasting gift such as a cooking class. Here are several excellent choices for breadbaking, cheesemaking and even homebrewing experiences that are sure to improve that foodie friend’s skills in and around the kitchen:
Breadbaking at King Arthur Flour, Norwich, VT
With a great schedule of classes, the education center of the world-renowned baking company has opportunities for the novice and professional. The diverse classes cover an international selection of baked goods: challah, flatbreads, bagels, bialys, pizza, pretzels, and breads galore. For the gluten-free eater, there are classes teaching gluten-free baking and also gluten-free yeast breads. During the holiday season, sign up early for the seasonal classes, like Christmas Breads from Around the World, Holiday Cookie Swap, Holiday Cookie Decorating, and the seasonal Bake for Good classes, where the classes are free and the baked goods are donated to local charitable organizations. The Artisan Baking at Home class, where you learn the process of creating artisan breads over several days makes an excellent gift: $475. Search for the perfect class: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/baking/
Cheesemaking at The Cheese School of San Francisco, CA
The Big Cheese Weekend at The Cheese School of San Francisco is a multi-day educational experience designed for the cheese lover who wants to learn to taste, pair, and cook with cheese. The weekend includes instruction and tastings for two full days, two breakfasts, two lunches, and one dinner: $795. For those who want to try cheesemaking, The Cheese School offers several hands-on classes, including, Cheesemaking with an Italian Grandma. Another choice allows you to work at home: The Cheesemaker is a comprehensive kit for home cheesemaking by Cheese School instructor Mary Karlin. Browse the class schedule – http://thecheeseschool.com/collections/classes – and also the gifts – http://thecheeseschool.com/collections/gifts.
Homebrewing at Bitter & Esters, Brooklyn, NY
The Brooklyn-based Bitter & Esters offers classes for the beginning or advanced home brewer. Founded in 2011, Bitter & Esters was created as a classroom space and “brew on premises” location. For the novice, Brewshop 101: Homebrewing Essentials is an introductory class for those interested in learning how to brew their own beer at home. Each class covers the basics in a casual learning environment with hands-on experience. Introductory classes start at $55 per student, with an additional cost to include the Brewing Essentials Kit or the Deluxe Brewing Essentials Kit + Ingredients. Advanced classes are offered, which explore the more complex aspects of homebrewing: like all-grain brewing, hops, and yeast lectures and tastings. The Upcoming Yeast Class Lecture & Tasting on Sunday, February 8th, starts at $70 per student or $35 for the tasting only. Bitter & Esters also sells home brew kits, ingredients, equipment, and reference materials. View their calendar for upcoming classes: http://bitterandesters.com/classes-events/