Just a few short weeks to go until you have to cook what’s officially known as the Most Complicated Meal of the Year – Christmas Dinner, a multifaceted feat of culinary engineering that can reduce even the most kitchen-confident among us to weeping over arid turkey and soggy sprouts. And that’s before you even get to the festive canapés, Boxing Day buffets, and all the other gastronomic tidbits of the ‘party’ season.
But don’t despair – it’s not too late to equip yourself with the skills you need to delight family and friends this December – we’ve rounded up a shortlist of the best Christmas classes running at our featured cookery schools up and down the country. From foolproof roasties and sensational sauces to seasonal cooking for kids, these winter workshops have Christmas dinner covered and then some.…
THE COOKERY SCHOOL AT DAYLESFORD – Gloucestershire
Family Cooking at Christmas
Sunday 2, 9 & 16 December
Daylesford is devoting Sundays in the run-up to Christmas to a series of fun, family cookery half-days in which parents and children aged four and up can learn to master festive flavours side by side – and sample plenty of seasonal treats along the way. (Grown-ups seeking Xmas dinner assistance should checkout the Effortless Entertaining evening series, which covers the whole caboodle from canapés to pudding and runs on Wednesdays from 29 November.)
SWINTON COOKERY SCHOOL – North Yorkshire
Ultimate Christmas Lunch
Sunday 16 December
Swinton Estate’s master chef Kevin Hughes gives a festive pin to his ever-popular Sunday-lunch class, arming students with everything the need to turn out a showstopper on the 25th.
RIVER COTTAGE – Devon
Wednesday 28 November
The River Cottage crew always take a wholehearted and open-armed approach to Christmas, and this year’s calendar of festive classes doesn’t disappoint. Options include Christmas baking, game cookery, curing with seasonal spices, wreath-making and many more, but we’re signing up for Christmas Hampers, when RC stalwart Lucy Brazier shows you how to create edible gifts such as chocolate, hazelnut and sour cherry salami, herby crackers, Christmas ketchup, and homemade clementine booze.
LEITHS SCHOOL OF FOOD AND WINE – London
How to Cook – The Perfect Christmas Dinner
Saturday 1 December
If you want to learn how to knock out a classic Christmas lunch, there’s no better school turn to than Leiths. The team will arm you with all the tips and techniques needed to deliver a flawless turkey and trimmings, and master the timings to boot. Be warned: places on this hands-on Xmas-essentials half-dayer are going fast – if you don’t make it in time, there’s also Christmas Entertaining on the 8th.
SEASONED COOKERY SCHOOL – Derbyshire
Get Ahead Christmas Sauces and Sides
This one’s not locked in the calendar yet, but it’s definitely worth putting on the radar. Sauces and side dishes can make or break a Christmas dinner – the one-day course teaches you everything you need to know to ensure your trimmings are the tastiest in town. It covers the heroes of the festive table – gravy from scratch, cranberry sauce and stuffing – as well as other essentials such as perfect potatoes and cooking and carving turkey.
DIVERTIMENTI – London
Christmas Side Dishes with Ed Smith
Wednesday 28 November
Ed Smith, author of recipe book On the Side, calls by the Divertimenti kitchen to present a morning demonstration class designed to help cooks up their side-dish game when it comes to Christmas dinner.