Spain is a gastronomic paradise and its cuisine lauded throughout the world – a fact that was recently affirmed with the naming of El Celler de Can Roca as the World’s Best Restaurant in this year’s San Pelligrino Top 50 . So even the briefest of visits to the sun-soaked southern cost, Costa del Sole, will have a lasting impression on one’s culinary knowledge.
In particular, the experimental cooking courses offered at Cortijo El Carligto, a private country estate in eastern Malaga Province overlooking the glorious Mediterranean Sea.
Here the private luxury villa accommodation and pristine views are topped by the estate’s impressive array of Spanish cultural and culinary courses where guests can revel with delights such as the infamous pata negra cured ham, which includes a full butchering course. This culinary adventure begins with a whole Iberian pig and ends in finger-licking treats like chorizo and sausages, all prepared and delivered to the dining table in numerous dishes throughout a weeklong stay.
El Carligto house chef David Palacios provides much of the guidance throughout the course, drawing on his lifelong experiences in Andalucia and connections with local butchers and bodegas.
A four night ‘light’ version of the package is also available, skipping the butchering and leading with educational sessions on how to prepare some of Spain’s most popular pork dishes.
Both packages feature tastings of the acorn fed pata negra and a consultation with a local sommelier where Spanish wines are matched with the pork dishes planned throughout the week. An initial orientation also includes background information explaining the cultural importance and history behind the rise of pork in the cuisine of the Iberian peninsula. Guests are then taken on a guided tour of Cordoba to explore the region’s three historic cultures – Islam, Christianity and Judaism and visit the food markets of Malaga.
Culinary packages start from €1600 per person for a full week’s experience.