Nothing about Costa Rica is run of the mill, so you’d expect that any cooking class you’d come across in this country of flourishing wilderness, fertility and delightful produce, would be quite something. And it is! Fancy taking home more than just fantastic memories from your next adventure vacation in Costa Rica? Then add one of the following inspiring and totally unique cooking classes to your itinerary, and you can recreate your Costa Rica holiday vibe at home for many years to come.
From learning to make cheese and chocolate to discovering real farm life and exploring the health benefits of an organic diet with superb ingredients, the most unique cooking classes in Costa Rica are sure to be an unforgettable highlight.
Cooking Classes in Costa Rica:
Cheese-Making Class – Queso Canaan
Queso Canaan is one of Costa Rica’s true hidden treasures. This cheese factory, located in the Chirripo Valley merely 80 miles south-east of the capital, San Jose, is run by a family whose love for milk, and newfound passion for making cheese, is something to behold. With skills learnt in Switzerland merely 15 years ago, the Mata-Hernandez family have literally changed their lives, and have turned their 40-year old milk farm into the country’s most revered artisanal cheese farm. The family create a Swiss-like cheese that’s immensely tasty, rich and milky, and spending a few hours learning and practicing the art of cheese making here just feels like an absolute privilege.
On a day-tour (something you can organize through your hotel) you’ll be part of the process right from the start: from the milking of the cow, to the boiling of the milk, the adding of the salt and the final curing. The cheese wheel you create will have to age a few months, but you’ll still have the chance to take home a tasty morsel of this unique cheese at the day’s end. For a country that isn’t particularly renowned for its tasty matured cheeses, the Queso Canaan produce has been a huge hit, especially with expats and tourists. As a consequence, Queso Canaan is now found served and for sale in many hotels, restaurants and resorts (even as far north as San Jose) but visiting the original farm is highly recommended. The family is still keeping its boutique production small, creating merely a few pounds of cheese a day. Visits by tourists are highly cherished.
Chocolate Workshop – Samaritan Xocolata
Right next door to Queso Canaan is where you’ll find Samaritan Xocolata, yet another of Costa Rica’s hidden gems. This artisanal chocolate factory uses only the best organic cacao beans, and is committed to sustainable and socially-conscious farming.
They run hands-on workshops that allow you to learn all about the history of chocolate, the modern cultivation practices and the process needed to create divine bonbons and chocolate bars. Unlike many other chocolate making tours, at Samaritan you will actually make your own chocolate bar (and yes, take it home!) as well as sample the vast array of sweet treats they produce. If you’re not a chocoholic by the time you visit Costa Rica, then add this workshop to your list of must-dos and we can guarantee you will be by the time you leave!
Farm experience – Granja Eco Turistica Victoria
A tour of Granja farm in La Fortuna gifts a fantastic insight into the life of a working Costa Rica farm and is a wonderful experience for the whole family. Aside from the delightfully charming family, who’ll welcome you with open arms (and moonshine in shot glass!) you’ll meet a plethora of animals that you can milk, herd and feed. A visit to this farm culminates in a delicious home-cooked meal, but if you prefer to be more hand-on you can include a cooking class and make a day-long excursion out of your visit of it. Absolutely recommended, especially if traveling with children.
Cooking Classes in Costa Rica – The Healing Cuisine
Workshops with The Healing Cuisine, in Santa Teresa, are less about traditional Costa Rican cooking than about the health benefits gained from utilizing the exceptional organic ingredients grown in the region. Cooking class menus take advantage of the freshest of produce to make exceptionally yummy dishes like fish tacos, coconut shrimps and tangy ceviche. The Healing Cuisine’s emphasis is very much on healthy eating and utilizing organic ingredients to cleanse and revitalize the body while satisfying the taste buds. Healthy eating has never tasted this good! Considering the fact that Costa Rica’s fast becoming a mecca for health retreats, the Healing Cuisine is right on the money with its healthy take on delectable cooking. There are various styles of cooking to choose from, including tropical, gluten free and raw. The Healing Cuisine offers casual cooking classes and more intensive 10-day workshops.