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!
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 Autumn 2017
Jamón Iberico de Bellota and Fresh Iberian Pork
14th - 18th November
(Four nights. )
This course has been fully booked .
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.
As the rains have arrived in late October we may be lucky enough to have wild mushrooms to hand. They come 21 days after the rains and should make their appearance around 7th November. Normally we would hope to find Boletus Edulis and Amanita Caresaria, two of the most appreciated mushrooms. Their scarcity and the unpredictability of their arrival adds somewhat to their mystery and value, but their flavour is undeniably superb
There are a lot of quinces in the orchards right now (October) so hopefully we shall be picking quinces and preparing Carne de Membrillo as well as using them in dishes with Iberian pork or game.
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 JotasOn the morning of the 16th November we 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
On Wednesday 15th November 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 yoghurt
Price is €1200 per person