Learn to Cook Like a Local

As with all Holiday Vacations getaways, we include several meals in your tour price, typically featuring the regional flavors of the places we visit. However some of our included meals elevate the experience into an illuminative, educational adventure – from a history lesson on dining in this area of the world, to hands-on workshops in which we eat the treats we create, to impressive recipes produced live on a Holland America Line cruise ship. We invite you to read on about several cooking demonstrations on a Holiday Vacations tour that nourish your noggin as well as your stomach. If the lesson intrigues you, click the link nearby to go straight to the tour’s full itinerary.

The Market Restaurant & Cooking School in Hoi An, Vietnam

An included attraction on our Vietnam & Cambodia tour.

Savor the sights and smells at Hoi An’s food market, an ancient coastal city in Vietnam, then learn how to create traditional Vietnamese foods at the Market Restaurant & Cooking School. Capture the essence of the local market humming with activity, sample various Vietnamese spices, and learn how to use the locals’ ingenious vegetable-carving tools. Learn how ingredients are selected and assembled to create local dishes, then we’ll put on aprons and discover the easy way to roll rice paper with the help of an instructor before creating a delicious three-course meal for ourselves.

Beaten Biscuits Demonstration at My Old Kentucky Home, Kentucky

An included attraction on our Kentucky & the Smokies tour.

In the heart of the Bluegrass State of Kentucky, we arrive at Bardstown for a tour of My Old Kentucky Home, a Federal-style mansion that is one of the most famous 19th-century homes (and the inspiration to a famous ballad of the same name!) After our tour of the home, our guide, dressed in antebellum apparel, shows us how to create beaten biscuits – a delectable treat that does not crumble like its buttery cousins. After our demonstration we will taste these homemade biscuits with your choice of ham, butter, or homemade jam with refreshing blackberry lemonade.

Traditional Fish Boil in Door County, Wisconsin

An included attraction on our Lake Michigan Circle Tour.

Things heat up in Door County as we observe a traditional cooking technique that is as mouthwatering as it is thrilling to watch. Over a century ago, Door County’s Scandinavian settlers prepared Lake Michigan’s bounty of fish by boiling them in a large pot with onions, potatoes, salt, and butter. When the food is nearing completion, the layer of fish oil that rises to the top of the cauldron spills off in spectacular fashion with a dramatic “boil over,” accomplished by significantly increasing the heat from the cooking fire. What remains is a tasty feast of fish and veggies to devour. For guests that are not so fond of fish, our fish boil experience is a full-service restaurant that offers alternative entrees including chicken and ribs.

America’s Test Kitchen aboard a Holland America Line cruise ship

An included feature on Holland America Line’s ms Volendam, the cruise ship on our Alaska & Inside Passage Cruise and our Alaska & Glacier Bay Cruise, and also on Holland America Line’s ms Amsterdam,the cruise ship on our New England & St. Lawrence Seaway Cruise.

The creative minds behind the popular cooking show America’s Test Kitchen let us in on the secrets and science of cooking with delightful classes presented by trained chefs. The shipboard venues reflect the charm of the kitchens of the popular show. These demonstrations are an excellent way spend your days at sea! The demonstrations are an optional activity you may participate in on the cruise ship. The 45-minute demonstrations are free to attend, whereas 90-minute hands-on demonstrations may have an additional cost.

The New Orleans School of Cooking

An included attraction on our San Antonio & New Orleans Cuisine & Culture tour.

Discover the basics of Cajun and Creole cuisine at the New Orleans School of Cooking, where we attend a private cooking demonstration and enjoy tastings presented by a culinary educator. We’ll learn about the history of classic Creole/Cajun cuisine as an entertaining chef prepares our meal, which may feature hallmarks including gumbo and jambalaya. The school is perfectly situated in a renovated molasses warehouse in the heart of the French Quarter. According to the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards, the New Orleans School of Cooking was voted one of the top experiences in the world and the 2nd best experience in the United States.

Stroopwafel-Making Demonstration in Gouda, The Netherlands

An included attraction on our Holland in Bloom tour.

Join us for a hands-on stroopwafel making demonstration in Gouda, the Dutch city where this “syrup waffle” was first popularized. Once we’ve cooked the cookie wafer dough in an iron (like a waffle iron) until it’s golden brown, we’ll cut the wafer lengthwise, then spread a layer of warm syrup between them. When the syrup is nice and cool, we’ll taste the fruits of our labor.

Local Farm-to-Fork Tour in Sacramento, California

An included attraction on our Northern California Highlights tour.

Following an afternoon of touring California’s capitol building and other sites around Sacramento, a local guide joins us for a walking “farm-to-fork” tour with included samplings and beverages provided at a minimum of three local restaurants or cafes. Take a stroll through downtown Sacramento as our guide shares Sacramento’s history of eating local and how modern restauranteurs are making the most of their local harvests. In 2019, guests visited three cafes or restaurants each highlighting different types of food, including sweets and Mexican cuisine.

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