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 in 2019 are 7th-12th March and 29th April for the shorter 4 night stay, just before the Seville Feria. The fair will be running a bit later than usual, starting on the fourth of May, for a week. 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!
For more information about our food see HERE
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 Winter and Spring 2019
Spring Cookery Holiday: 7th-12th March (five nights)
Our pre-Feria course is run from Monday 29th April for four nights. After the four night course is over, check in to a hotel or apartment in Seville, have a day's sightseeing, and then stay up on Saturday evening (4th) to see the lights being switched on at midnight and witness the start of the fair.)
For more information on the fair click HERE
Cooking At Finca Buenvino
March and 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 last April cookery course, to enjoy the famous April Fair (Feria de Abril) which starts at midnight on the night of the 4th-5th May, 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.
A typical course
Day 1. We will meet up in Sevilla with our cooks at 12.30 am on the first morning. You will be told where when you book. 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.
Day 2. On our first morning 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 8.30pm.
Day 3. Breakfast at 9am and cooking will start at 10- 10.30. We will be preparing ingredients for a traditional paella and then take them out to the country to cook them at a local beauty spot by the lake, or on a neighbours remote farm. Afternoon walking and exploring, we return to the finca in time to change, share a glass of wine before heading out to dinner in town.
Day 4. Breakfast at 9am, and cooking starts at 10- 10.30 We will prepare lunch and sit down together around 14.00 after an Olive oil workshop with Alex Kerner. Afternoon free for walking or resting. Sam will take you out to explore the local villages or shop for last minute wants, since some shops may be closed on Sunday. We return too the farm in time to prepare dinner. Dine at 8.30
Day 5. Our last day together in the kitchen. Similar to day 4. Cook in the morning, Sherry talk and tasting before lunch. Afternoon, time off and in the afternoon join Sam for a walk to the village, or put your feet up!
Coffee and tea back at the finca, and then we go to the kitchen to work and prepare dinner and tapas, which we will share at 8, before dinner.
Morning of Day 6
After breakfast, at 10 am we leave for Seville, where you will be dropped in the town centre near the bus station. Alternatively we will run you to the airport.
N.B. 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.
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.
Winter Courses 2019-2020
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota and Fresh Iberian Pork.
How Jamon is made and how to serve it.
How to cook using cuts of fresh Iberian Pork.
Our four day workshops are run in the cold months, as that is when the Iberian pigs are living free-range in the beautiful dehesa landscape and we shall be going out to see them.
Our autumn and winter dates this year for our 3 courses are
20th-24th November, 4th-8th December 2019
& 5th-9th February 2020
(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 €950 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.
Our prices for these course include all food, excursions, drinks and tuition, 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 and a visit to the dehesa to see the animals in the wild.
Visit to Cinco Jotas
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
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.
In the winter months it’s cool enough for us to be preparing some hearty Spanish winter dishes.
We will learn how to use Jamón in traditional dishes, snd how to prepare Iberian pork fillet which is a red meat, and eaten underdone.
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. Serve it with a Chestnut and Potato mash.
But we will also stray from pork :-
Clams with butter beans, onions and tomatoes is a delicious winter spoon food.
Papas en Amarillo, which is a dish of potatoes and cod with turmeric is simple and satisfying.
Rabbit with dried fruit (apricots or prunes)
And we shall prepare 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 €950 per person