Cookery Courses | Cookery course in Spain | Spanish cookery course | Andalucia | Spain
Find out more about the popular cookery courses at our Bed & Breakfast near Aracena, Seville, Andalucia, Spain in the Sierra de Aracena National Park. Set amongst a chestnut and cork-oak forest we operate as a family B&B and self-catering holiday cottages. We run cookery courses, photography courses, creative writing retreats and fitness retreats. Hiking trails and stunning views.
Cookery Courses with Jeannie and Charlie Chesterton
Our renowned cookery courses in Aracena, Andalucia, Spain, are an eye-opening introduction to southern Spanish cooking, with plenty of eating, drinking, and good fun!
Our special Iberian pork and Jamón courses are only run in the late autumn and winter.
Our spring cookery holiday dates are in April 10th - 14th - Just before the Feria de Sevilla April fair. Scroll down for more information.
We run several cookery courses per year, for small groups of 4–8 persons. It’s a fun way to spend time with friends, and learn about Andalucian and Catalan dishes, try out some local restaurants, and perhaps• visit a sherry bodega. The finca lies at the heart of the Jabugo D.O. area, which produces the finest Iberian acorn-fed ham, and the village of Jabugo itself is only 8Kms from the finca. There, we will visit the impressive curing cellars of the famous 5 J's brand of fine jamón and learn about this delicacy and its production. Afterwards we will have a5 J's jamón-tasting, accompanied by Osborne sherries.
Mediterranean cooking goes beyond the well-known French and Italian influences and at Finca Buenvino we often use traditional Southern Spanish recipes, which are a legacy of the Caliphate of Cordoba. North African Mahgrebi influences can also be felt in the use of spices and nuts and the interplay between sweet and savoury.
We will be preparing dishes from our own cook book, and students can decide which recipes they would like to attempt. Other recipes, such as those for bread-making, will be on loose sheets which you can add to your folder as you go along.
We learn to cook with pulses and nuts, with recipes such as ‘Spinach and Chickpeas with Cumin’, ‘Butter Beans and Clams with Tomato”, ‘Iced Garlic and Almond Soup’.
We learn to cook the hearty roasts, cocidos and game dishes of winter, and the light cold soups of summer. We learn how to use a picada of ground and roast nuts, spices and bread fried in olive oil for thickening stews. Fruit is used in savoury meat dishes such as 'Rabbit with Apricots and Spinach and Pinenuts' or 'Quails with Quinces'.
We cook the traditional 'Paella' and the less well known 'Black Rice', made with Squid Ink. We put a new twist on the refreshing Mediterranean desserts such as 'Panna Cotta with Saffron', 'Rosemary Sorbet', or 'Cardamom and Honey Ice cream'. Come and share the fun!
Charlie Chesterton has returned to Finca Buenvino after 6 years of cooking in Scotland and on the South Bank in London. He will be working with his mother Jeannie, in the kitchens of the finca, (where he was raised, before attending The Ballymaloe Cookery School at Shanagarry, in East Cork). It's great to have him back!
His brother Jago is currently working in the PR and visitors' department of Cinco Jotas jamónes (5J's), taking English speaking visitors around the curing cellars, tasting rooms, and at certain times of year into the dehesa to see the animals roaming free range under the oaks.
For more information on our Jamón oriented experiences, see below.
Courses for Spring 2018 and Autumn 2018
Jamón Iberico de Bellota and Fresh Iberian Pork
6th November and 20th November.
(Four nights. )
We only run these courses when the Iberian pigs are out in the forest, during the season when acorns are available for foraging.
Price is €1200 per person
From early November through to March, when the acorns are falling from the cork oaks and holm oaks (encinas, in Spanish), the pure Iberian pigs are set free into that wonderful countryside which is the dehesa. It is a beautiful park-like landscape, where venerable oaks are spaced out among green grass and wild flowers, resembling some pastoral idyll, perhaps painted by Claude Lorrain.
Finca Buenvino lies at the heart of this Iberian pig country. Although our chestnut forest is not the typical dehesa, we are surround by it a few kilometres away. (The village of Jabugo itself, which is where some of the finest hams are cured, is only 20 minutes distant from our B&B.)
We will learn about the unique landscape of the dehesa, created over the centuries through the symbiotic relationship between farmers, holm-oaks, wild grasses, the Mediterranean scrub and fungi and of course the Iberian pig and the Retinto cattle farmed for so long in this corner of Spain.
We will visit a local farm for lunch, and see the pigs wandering free. We will visit the 5 J's top-class jamón producer and learn about the Iberian pig and it's free-range life in the dehesa. We will taste different types of jamón and other Iberian pork products. We will also cook with fresh Iberian pork, and learn about the different cuts of meat.
As you may know, the Iberian pig is unique in that it metabolises its body fat in the muscle tissue; which makes for more succulent meat. The animals live out in the wild and beautiful landscape and gorge on the sweet acorns of the holm oaks.
Carne de Membrillo , or quince paste, made in the autumn from quinces grown in our own orchards can be mixed with a light home-made garlic mayonnaise, and it's salty sweetness is excellent served with loin of pork. Iberian pig's cheeks cooked gently and slowly in wine with herbs and vegetables, is melt-in-the-mouth delicious.
Our prices for these courses include all food, excursions, drinks and tuition as well as lodging in own private room with bathroom at Finca Buenvino, as well as our pick-up and drop-off service from Sevilla.
We will have two important learning and tasting experiences during your stay:
A visit to Cinco Jotas, 5J's jamón cellars in Jabugo
An olive oil workshop with Alexis Kerner
Visit to Cinco JotasWe will be going out to visit the dehesa and the curing cellars of Cinco Jotas Jamón (5J's). We will see the Iberian pigs in their natural environment and we will be learning about the making of the hams, and we shall taste them accompanied by Fino Sherry.You will learn:-
- About the unique qualities of the Iberian pig. What makes it so special and highly prized?
- How the animal is raised free-range in the dehesa. (We shall be going out into the countryside to witness first hand how the pigs are raised and fed during the montanera.)
- What is the dehesa? What is the montanera?
- You will see for yourself the special environment created over centuries of the symbiotic relationship between farmer, animals and vegetation. (Portugal, Extremadura and Andalusia are seeking for the dehesa to be declared a Unesco heritage protected environment.)
- How the ham is salted.
- How the ham is cured, and what takes place during the curing process.
- How to distinguish between the flavours of different cuts from the same leg.
- How to interpret the labeling of Spanish hams
- How to use jamón in the kitchen
Olive Oil Workshop
We will have a mid-day olive oil workshop with expert taster Alexis Kerner, (Associate of the Register of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes).
You might know that Spain is the World´s largest producer of olive oil and that most of this liquid gold is extracted right here in Andalusia.
In the workshop with Alexis,you will learn:-
- How olive oil is extracted
- To differentiate between oils
- Where and how to use them in the kitchen
- Important tips on purchasing olive oil
- The health benefits associated with this amazing ingredient
It is Alexis´ philosophy that only through sensorial activities can we fully appreciate this incredible Mediterranean ingredient that has maintained its people healthy and happy for thousands of years.
Since November is a time when the seasons are changing, we shall be preparing some hearty winter dishes. Iberian Pig’s cheeks in wine, for example or clams with butter beans, onions and tomatoes. Papas en Amarillo, which is a dish of potatoes and cod with turmeric; and of course rabbit with dried fruit (apricots or prunes) and various stews using pulses which can be served as tapas or as a main dish; spinach and chickpeas, or lentils with Pimientón de la Vera and sweet onion, cooled with the addition of a little yoghurtPrice is €1200 per person
Spring Cookery Holiday: 10th -14th April (4 nights)
Cooking at Finca Buenvino
April is the time of year for early wildflowers. Weather is of course mixed, with blue skies and sunny days alternating with spring showers.
We would advise guests who are interested in the gaiety of Andalusian life, to stay on in Sevilla for a few days after the cookery course, to enjoy the famous April Fair (Feria de Abril) which starts at midnight on the night of the 14th-15th, with the switching on of the spectacular lighting in the fairground and on the principal entry arch.
You will need to be smartly turned out for the feria, as the Sevillanos are dressed to kill. In the afternoon between 3pm and 6pm magnificent equipages, fine horses and beautifully dressed grooms, and gleaming carriages give an elegant display along the streets lined with marquees, and flamenco dresses are worn by the ladies. Although a jacket and tie may not be your thing, it's worth bringing them with you as it will make it more likely that you are invited into one of the casetas to enjoy an ice cold rebujito and watch some sevillanas being danced.
Day 1. We will meet up in Sevilla with our cooks at 12.30 am on the first morning (10th April) at the Triana Market, just across the Isabel II bridge. It’s a good place to meet as if we are a little late you can have coffee or beer and tapas there! It's an easy place to get to by taxicab. It's advisable to arrive in Seville the night before, and stay at a hotel in the centre of the town.
We will head for the hills, to arrive at the finca in time for lunch. Then, perhaps a walk on the property or just have a rest after your journey. Cooking supper begins at 7pm with a glass of wine to hand and we will sit down to eat at around 8.30pm.
On our first morning, the 11th, we will be leaving the finca late morning to visit the 5J jamón curing cellars, have a tasting and return to the finca around 14.00 for lunch. Cooking supper begins at 7pm with a glass of wine to hand and we will sit down to eat at around 8-8.30pm.
Most days will start with breakfast at 9am and cooking will start at 10- 10.30. and finish in time for a glass of wine before lunch. In the afternoon around 4pm there will be a chance to visit some of the local villages. If we get back early enough from our tour, there is time to relax with tea or coffee before we start cooking again at 7pm.
We will be visited one morning by Alexis Kerner who will be giving us an olive oil workshop. Details are on the cookery course page above.
We will eat out at a restaurant in Aracena, famed for its Iberian pork dishes.
We will be cooking daily from the Buenvino Cookbook by Jeannie Chesterton.
In the afternoons between lunch and the evening, students can make a choice of their preferred afternoon activities; touring the villages of the area, shopping or taking a walk.
On the last morning guests are driven to Seville at 10.am, after breakfast. Drop-off is at the Triana Market once more, unless you want to be run straight to the airport or train station.
If for any reason you are not able to come with us at that time - perhaps you have a pre-booked train or ‘plane that requires you to leave early in the morning -then please let us know in advance and we will book you a cab. *This is not included in the cost of your stay.
We advise at least a day and night in the city to see the Reales Alcázares and the cathedral, as well as to have a feel of the city.
Rates €950 per head
Rates for the four night Spanish cookery holiday are €950 per person. Non cooking partners €450 if sharing a room.
All prices for cooks include:
- Transport from Seville to Finca Buenvino and back.( *Unless you require separate transport)
- All food and wines consumed at the finca during the stay.
- Lunch at a restaurant in the mountains
- Tour of a local ham factory.
- Olive oil workshop with Alexis Kerner
- A "Cooking at Buenvino" apron, folder pen and notebook.
- A signed copy of “The Buenvino Cookbook, recipes from a farmhouse in Spain.”
- Supper in Aracena on the last night.
We will be preparing dishes from the book itself and students can decide which recipes they would like to attempt. Any recipes not in the book, such as those for bread-making, will be on loose sheets which you can add to your folder as you go along.
(Days will vary in small ways; you may already have prepared a dessert the day before if there was time....much depends on weather, on how many cooks are on the course and so forth)
- This is only a sample schedule and is liable to change depending on flight times, weather/restaurant/ham cellars opening times etc. It is possible that some of the days will be changed around.