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“Fantastic experience”

The New Forest Lodge Country Cooking School
Ranked #1 of 1 Food & Drink in Aljezur
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Attraction details
Owner description: The New Forest Lodge Country Cooking School is principally about having fun. We eat local food grown on our own farm. Using traditional recipes, with wild herbs, fungi and the harvests from our organic Moorish kitchen gardens. We offer an insight into the forgotten art of cooking in brick built wood ovens and ranges. Learn to select and grill fresh fish. Enjoy a day workshop and feast on the fruits of your labours.We offer both residential holiday courses and day workshops, specialising in traditional country recipes with many vegetarian and seafood dishes as well as our signature wild game pots. Our workshops are held daily starting around 10.00am, usually finishing about 4.00pm after you have enjoyed the banquet you have helped to prepare. The country cooking workshop runs simultaneously with our riding and carriage driving workshops, so this is an ideal holiday activity for families or groups with varying interests. GoLearnToCook. with Frances, her website has full details of all the courses available and a selection of many of her most famous dishes.
Reviewed 25 October 2016 via mobile

My daughter and I met up in Portugal / Spain for three weeks and I wanted to do something special with her.
We arrived mid afternoon and started off our stay with a 1 hour horse ride around the country side.
(More of that in "horses in the sun" review)
The following morning we had breakfast on the terrace before heading into Aljezur to the local market. We had an amazing day cooking, chatting, drinking local vino verde and eating.
Can highly recommend spending the day with Frances. Even better if you can combine the cooking, horse riding and staying in the beautiful cottages and experiencing a little bit of peace and tranquility in the south west of Portugal.

Date of experience: October 2016
Thank Pippa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9 - 13 of 33 reviews

Reviewed 2 March 2016

I've just spend a day joining Frances for her cooking class at her farm near Aljezur. Coming to this beautiful piece of land you'll be impressed by the lovely gardens for all kind of vegetables and herbs. Goats, chicken and pigs are here to have a good life before becoming an excellent meal.

The class itself starts with shopping some fresh ingredients like octopus or almonds at the Aljezur Local Food Market. But be careful, you'll have a tight schedule to get all the wonderful dishes done, Frances planned in perfection for you :) I was deeply impressed by the bread making (in an old outside oven like you know it from fairytales). We got a little snack out of self-made fresh cheese, bread sticks and some vine in the sun. Paradise! Later we started to prepare some octopus salad, grilled fish and octopus (I learned how to gut it both), a typical portugese bacalhau and a wonderful very easy-to-make tarte as dessert. Not to mention the taste of the bacalhau and everything around had just the best taste ever. And it was not only me, even Frances' husband asked (after 40 years) if she had done something special this day with the bacalhau :)

Frances will show you plenty of kitchen tricks and how-to-do-it-best ways in her very well equipped cooking class kitchen. She's really a professional but has retained her warm heart. She is so into cooking and teaching at the same second, you really feel in good hands. And you have to do everything by your own, really to inhale the subject matter!
At the end you'll get a complete recipes folder to take it home and re-cook everything!
It was a great pleasure to join Frances and her family this day and enjoying our super dishes together.

Thanks again for such a wonderful host!

Date of experience: March 2016
Thank Ute H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2015

Not an organic farm and could do with cleaner facilities especially towels! No recipes included with expensive cooking lesson either. Please clean cars before picking clients up..bad initial impression. Frances was a nice person who willingly shared her knowledge.

Date of experience: September 2015
Thank EMM1516
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
horsesinthesun, Manager at The New Forest Lodge Country Cooking School, responded to this reviewResponded 13 October 2015

Hi
If you have read this far please read our other reviews and have a look at our facebook page and website to get a more balanced idea of who we are and what we offer. Any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Recipes arealways available by email, and a new recipe section on our website will be available soon.
Best wishes
Ossie

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2015

Review by Randy from Arizona, USA:


“Cooking and riding haven!

We originally searched riding and cooking vacations; reversing search to cooking and riding led us to the link for New Forest Lodge. We could not believe what's offered at the price point, as the 8 days stay for 2 people was less than 4 days at a ranch in Arizona.

Frances and David are warm hosts, and with the assistance of Ossie, Milton, and Manny we were picked up at the Aljezur bus stop and settled into a 3-room accommodation. The bathroom had a very good shower with enough hot water. An electric hot pot was available for coffee or tea before facing the world. There were interesting prints and photos on the walls, and a bookshelf and desk in the bedroom. The bed was comfortable, and we enjoyed being able to sleep with the windows thrown wide open, as there were no bugs at night. The stars were spectacular, and a telescope stood in the corner for our use.

We had plenty of time to relax, nap, or read, as there is no wifi. There was cell coverage, but we did not want to get hit with international roaming rates. It was truly decompressing to be off the grid for a week. One of the dogs, Bob the Builder, was happy to go for walks on the roads with Marty, and he came to our door each morning.

Frances gears her cooking sessions to the skills and interests of her guests, and the other guest staying for the week was a chef from Sweden. He was given free rein to create, while Frances fine tuned our preparation skills and taught us concepts that can be applied to a variety of ingredients, such as how to prepare any sort of vegetable bread or vegetable soup. We came away with methods and flavor profiles we can use at home.

We had 3 meals every day: continental breakfasts, full lunches and dinners with salads, mains, sides, and desserts. We enjoyed a spectacular pork roast, traditional codfish in cream sauce, stuffed squid, Friday mackerel, grilled chicken, lemon chicken, and suckling pig. The menu depends on what's available, seasonal. Much is grown on the farm in David and Fran's gardens. We made a trip to the fish market in Lagos, and saw sea creatures that aren't in American markets. Milton manned the grill and kept the wood-fired oven going. He did most of the meal set-up and cleanup, as well as assisting Manny with the horses.

On a rainy day, David treated us to a tour of the southern shore and the Algarve, showing us where he and Fran first came to Portugal. He is full of stories and adventures, and he and Marty hit it off. Manny is a true horseman. His stock are fit and happy, and he matched us well with horses and tack. On the slower rides, he gave us lots of information on the trees and greenery we rode past. The dirt roads and trails are in excellent shape, and we did a lot of trotting and some cantering on the second ride. My last ride was with other experience riders, and he added 2 rousing gallops. I was a happy woman!

We enjoyed our stay and would recommend it to anyone looking to experience on a farm in southern Portugal. It is not a resort, and it isn't an episode of Top Chef, so do not expect that. It is about living and cooking in the Portuguese home style. We hope to be able to return, to visit our new friends, the Fry family.”

September 26, 2015. BookCulinaryVacations, edited

Date of experience: September 2015
3  Thank Randygo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 September 2015

I had a good time with Frances and her family, and in Portugal in general. It is fun to live, and cook in a place with such wonderful, and abundant, availability of ingredients for cooking. Personally, I wish the Portuguese would do more with them.
I do have a lot of experience and training as a chef, and appreciate that she let me test/contribute with a few things of my own, and hopefully they inspired her, as well.
One should be aware of that she cooks with very little salt, (she doesn't mind that you add more salt at the table), but some dishes and breads just need the salt incorporated, but if you really want to avoid salt for some reason, her cooking will be to your liking!
A whole week was, for me, a couple of days too many, but over all a good experience!

Date of experience: September 2015
1  Thank andersgeriksson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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