“You want to take a cooking class in Madrid? Why…? You can take one here in New York City!” My partner was complaining about my choice of itinerary, but I was sticking to it. I had already begun romanticizing our first ever cooking class. What better than being in a foreign country and learning their local cuisine? Sandwiched in between all of the typical “Taste of Madrid” and “See the Sites” tours on Trip Advisor’s “Top Attractions in Madrid” was Cooking Point. Amazing reviews? Decent price? I was sold.
Arriving at 530PM on the dot, I had no time to drum up expectations. Eduardo greeted us at his immaculately clean studio. Seriously, not a single dirt spot on the all white walls! We were joined by an Aussie mother and daughter duo that had been touring Spain for a couple of weeks.
The class kicked off by prepping sangria: something I was delighted to learn. My first and only experience with making sangria left everyone, including myself, at a fourth of July BBQ hungover for days. After hearing, “this sangria doesn’t even taste like alcohol,” I dumped half a bottle of Crown into the pitcher. I shouldn’t have done that in hindsight. With my body both mentally and physically scarred, I have avoided making sangria since. Eduardo offered to let us opt out of making it, but I wasn’t going to turn down alcohol at a cooking class. With his guidance, I was confident that I would finally produce a good tasting batch.
Eduardo was patient, but more importantly, an interesting fellow. He was an engineer turned cooking instructor after receiving a buyout for a start-up company. He told us these stories as we cut fruits, mashed up cloves of garlic, and tried to create the perfect brava sauce. Amid instructions and sangria, he was conscious to weave in and out of stories, travel tidbits, and advice. It was through Eduardo that I learned the Spanish loved a glass of vermouth over ice. I would come to try my own glass a week later at Mercado de San Miguel.
The fruits of our labor were ready after two hours. Eduardo set the dinner table, and left us to devour our finished tapas. But not without teaching us how to prepare a toasted baguette rubbed with garlic and tomato pulp. WHY DON’T WE EAT THIS ALL THE TIME IN THE US?! Eating across from us, the Aussie duo shared the same bewilderment as to how garlic rubbed bread with tomato pulp could be so damn good. Once the lightbulb effect drifted away, the four of us traded travel experiences. Again, all over sangria.
I am thankful to have started off my Spanish trip with great food and company. Eduardo’s local knowledge was invaluable. He was our own personal tour guide by the end of the night. Before we parted ways, he enthusiastically highlighted and circled a map with “must see” places. His passion for Spain was undeniable. It was then that I knew I was going to love Spain and its people.
Calle de Moratin, 11 28014 Madrid
Tapas Cooking Class: 70 EUR per person