Shaun and I took a cooking class in Barcelona with Cook And Taste and it was great! The place where they have the actual class is in the Gothic Quarter, which is the old town part of Barcelona. The streets are all very narrow with beautiful stone buildings around every corner. At night, the whole area is lit up and just beautiful.
Once we got there, there was a little mix up. The class was full already! And, we were only 5 minutes late. Why was everyone there already? They were definitely not running on Egyptian time. It turned out that one group of people showed up without actually ever getting confirmation of their booking. Apparently the place is very popular and they sell out for every class (of which there are two a day), and they often have people on a waiting list. Once we figured out who showed up sans-invite (and the chef gave them a little public shaming), the chef just added a few more chairs and we were set to go!
The menu for the evening was gazpacho (basically cold tomato soup) with hazelnut pesto and shaved Parmesan, tomato bread, potato omelets, seafood paella and Catalonia creme. All very Spanish. All very delicious! The way it worked was each course was prepared by 2-4 volunteers, and everyone volunteered at least once. Shaun and I made the tomato bread and potato omelets. The chef gave us a TON of tips about cooking. He taught us how to chop veggies in half the time it normally takes me (I am still practicing that one) and he taught us about how to peel tomatoes by dropping them in boiling water for a few seconds then moving them over to ice water.
For the tomato bread, we used special tomatoes called hanging tomatoes. The reasons why they are special is because a. you can hang them (still on the vine) in a dark room and they stay fresh all winter long and b. you can cut a tomato in half and press the flesh of the tomato on to the bread until only the skin remains in your hand. It makes paste that easily! I was, and still am, very impressed by these tomatoes. I must find out where I can purchase them. They are only native in Spain, but I am sure they are grown elsewhere.
Once I was done volunteering, I helped myself to one of the many bottles of red wine open on the table. I was happy to drink and watch for the remainder of the class. Shaun did the flipping of the massive omelets, and he did such a great job on the first one that everyone cheered! The second omelet flip was not as impressive, but still turned out great in the end.
By the time it was time to cook the Paella, I was a couple glasses of wine deep and it all seemed very complicated. There were lots of rules about what goes in when, when to stop stirring, when to add the saffron, when to turn up the heat and turn it back down etc. Add to that the fact that you need a special pan and heating device, and I don’t think I’ll be attempting paella on my own any time soon. But, it did taste VERY good! I will definitely make the tomato bread again and the potato omelets. They were both very simple and very tasty. I might even attempt the Catalonia creme if I can get my hands on a blow torch!
After all was said and done, the class took about 5 hours, and we came out the other end a lot more knowledge, a little buzz and a full belly. Definitely worth the 60 euros! I highly recommend it to any one visiting Barcelona!