5Bogotá are pioneers in ‘experience tourism’ in Bogota: they offer a range of wonderful, immersive tours themed around experiencing the city through the five senses. ‘Taste’ is covered by their excellent cooking lesson experience – guests actually visit the home of a local cook and learn how to prepare traditional Colombian meals in a relaxed and friendly setting. The tour costs $35 for two hours, including the lesson and all ingredients.
Uncover Colombia offers an excellent 2-for-1 food and cooking tour. First, guests head to Paloquemao Market – the busiest food market in the city – to discover the delightful range of ingredients Colombia has to offer. Then they move on to a local cooking school where they will put their newfound knowledge of Colombian dishes to the test by preparing a typical meal under the guidance of a professional chef. And, as a bonus, the tour then finishes in a part of Bogota famous for dessert dishes (just in case you weren’t stuffed enough already!).
This next tour is another excellent one that combines a food experience tour with a cooking lesson. Destino Bogotá’s ‘Tropical Abundance’ tour does exactly what it says on the tin: shows off the remarkable range of produce on which Colombians can count in their cuisine. Starting off at the bustling 7 de Agosto food market – where you will learn about traditional ingredients and where they are grown – the tour then heads to a chef’s home in the Rosales neighbourhood, where you will prepare the ingredients purchased at the markets.
Just like people expect with wine or coffee, chocolate also has a variety of different aromas and flavours, and Colombian chocolate is fast building a reputation as some of the best in the world. Enter Suzie Hoban, a professional chocolatier and lecturer of gastronomy at the University of La Sabana in Colombia, with her fantastic Colombian Chocolate Club tastings and classes. You can either spend a couple of hours learning about Colombian cacao and tasting different regional chocolates or choose a more immersive three-hour chocolate truffle making class.
Less of a ‘cooking class’ and more of an all-around food experience, 5Bogotá’s ‘Eating with Locals’ tour is exactly how it sounds. Guests go to a local’s house for either lunch or dinner to experience two things that Colombians do extremely well: food and hospitality. It might not be a formal cooking class, but there are plenty of chances to interrogate your host (nicely, of course) about ingredients and recipes and to learn about Colombian food and culture from the real experts.
This four-hour cooking class and food tour offers guests the chance to not only taste famous Colombian ingredients but also to prepare a classic Colombian dish such as bandeja paisa or ajiaco for themselves. As with many other tours of this nature, the formula is fairly similar: visit a market, buy some ingredients and learn to prepare them with a professional chef. But this method is popular for one simple reason: it’s an excellent way to learn about Colombian cuisine and enjoy a unique experience.
For anyone without the budget for a more expensive cooking class and food tour, Masaya Hostel has an excellent alternative. This backpacker hostel in La Candelaria offers several free cultural activities every week – including dance classes, live music, and a party bus – and one of these is a one-hour cooking class on Wednesdays. You’ll learn to cook a simple and traditional Colombian meal with a local chef, and it’s free (as long as you are staying at the hostel, naturally).