Beware, a love of food and drink is more than simply cooking, eating and drinking. It is a highly addictive activity. Almost without warning the compulsion takes over as the TV remote clicks to the latest celebrity-food-porn cooking programme, cookery books slowly form vertiginous piles on the bedside table, travel brochures are replaced by food and wine tours, and the gym membership thrown over in favour of cookery school courses.
Whether you can spare just an evening or several weeks, there is always something on offer to feed the addiction.
If you can only spare an evening, Jeroboams in London (sorry) hosts informal whisky tasting events in the cellar below Milroy’s of Soho. Tutors guide you through the juicy details of the whisky makers’ craft, and some of the tasting events are hosted by the producers themselves, giving you a real insight into the distillery. Tastings are accompanied by hand-matured cheeses from Jeroboams Affineur in Holland Park Avenue and charcuterie, terrine and breads from artisan producers. Visit Jeroboams: Whisky Tasting London.
If you have a day to spare, consider an entomophagy course (if, like me, you don’t know what that means, it is bug and insect eating – shock, horror). The Wild Food School at Lostwithiel, Cornwall, runs introductory day courses to some of the many edible bugs that are used as human food around the world. The course involves looking at basic insect physiology, how people in other cultures harvest and prepare insects as food, and information on nutritional values. There are also edible insects available for you to try. Good luck. Visit Wild Food School, Cornwall.
Fancy making artisan bread? The School of Artisan Foods in Nottinghamshire runs three-, four- and five-day courses on exactly that. In three days, under the expert guidance of Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, you can learn all about ingredients, kneading, proofing, shaping, baking and much more as well as creating a range of hand-crafted loaves.
If you have less time, you can take a one-day course in charcuterie, cider making, chocolate… the list is endless. Visit The School of Artisan Food.
Got a week spare and a lot of dosh? Then this is the supremo of wine-tasting trips, aboard an authentic square-rigger built in 1931. It is simply the world’s most luxurious sailing ship. If the luxury is not enough to tempt you, you can also enjoy wine tastings of the regional wines at each of the ports along the way, from Rome to St Tropez. Visit Arbaster & Clarke’s Sea Cloud Wine Cruise.
In nine lovely, long days (and for less money than the cruise) go beyond the humble spud and discover the delights of the food, drink and unsurpassed hospitality of the Irish on a unique and fascinating tour of Ireland. The tour starts in my favourite Irish town of Dingle in the south-west and ends in Dublin. Along the way you can meet the characters at Dingle Farmer’s market, go fishing in Dingle Bay and have your catch cooked in a local pub, go dolphin spotting, visit breweries, distilleries, cheese makers and so much more. Great fun. Visit Trip Feast: Beyond the Humble Spud.
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