Taking a cooking course is an excellent way to delve into the past, meet a local and get something delicious to eat. That’s a trifecta! So when we were in Nuremberg we learned how to make traditional German gingerbread, also known as lebkuchen.

The Location

Germany isn’t exactly known for its cooking—that brand belongs to Italy and France—so we had a little trouble finding a course that focused on German-specific food. If you are having a similar problem, I would strongly suggest you check out Cookinista in Nuremberg. They have two locations, including one that is a five-minute walk from Nuremberg’s famous castle. This makes it incredibly easy to tack an afternoon course onto a morning of sightseeing.

Two Seasoned Traveler Tip: If you love Renaissance art, the Dürer House is on the way from the castle to the Cookinista. It’s a wonderful little museum.

The Cookinista Kitchen is in a converted home, and has sleek light wood working surfaces and floor-to-ceiling windows that provide great light. In addition, I loved the little indoor herb garden they were growing. It’s an ingenious use of a stairwell. The space made me feel as if I were in a modern German kitchen.

The Course

The appeal of making traditional German gingerbread, in Nuremberg, in the winter, was too strong to pass up. As we drifted through the Christmas market in the day before our class, we saw these little (and sometimes quite large!) lebkuchen cookies for sale and were excited to see how ours turned out.

We shared our course with one British family, so it was a very personal setting. In many courses you end up with 20-30 people, and very little time to talk and joke with course leaders. Speaking of whom, our class was led by the very knowledgeable Fritz.

Fritz and the Cookinista team had all the ingredients ready for us, along with a little recipe book. I prefer courses where you are hands-on the whole time, and every step of the lebkuchen was ours to complete. This is significantly more fun than watching someone else complete most of the course while explaining it or bringing in a mostly finished product that we just put a few touches on. Additionally, it puts a little muscle memory into the recipe, which makes it easier to remember when you get home and want to make it again.

In between steps we chatted with Fritz and learned of his favorite place to eat in town and what he enjoyed doing in the winter. It can be hard to strike up a conversation with just anybody on the street, but a cooking course creates a natural conversation with a local. Did you like making this when you grew up? What other treats should we try? What’s a great place to hang out? These kind of chats always drift and veer in unpredictable and fun ways.

We made two batches of cookies with slightly different ingredients. The first batch baked while we worked on the second so we had nice warm treat for us as soon as we finished. Speaking of which…

The Product

Ohh, yeah. It’s time for the good stuff. Just looking at these pictures I can smell the cinnamon and spices mixing with the dried and candied lemon and lime.

I loved the little packages of cookies that were the result of our work and carried them on trains over the coming days for whenever I needed a little snack. But if you make time for a cooking class on your next trip, I bet you’ll come away with better understanding of the local people, it’s history and a tasty snack.

Do you have any cooking courses that you’ve absolutely loved? Lets us know in the comments.

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