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3 Days Cooking Holiday in New Zealand

Culinary Holidays in New Zealand

Indulge yourself with a weekend of luxury and discovery at Hawthorne House. Join a select group of guests for a wonderful weekend of cooking with Cathie Hamilton. These weekends are the perfect way to learn more about some of the best cuisines in the world, to expand your repertoire of recipes and to build on your cooking experience. You’ll leave with a copy of the recipes you’ve made, some great memories and new friends.


  • Hands-on cooking classes
  • Visit local wineries for tastings
  • Discover various regional cooking methods, techniques and ingredients
  • Visit local producers and sample fresh products
  • Enjot a deliciously cooked dinner
  • 2 nights accommodation


2 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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Hawthorne House is an elegant historical villa, built originally as a family home early in the 20th century, that has since been restored and converted into luxury bed and breakfast accommodation in the heart of Hawke’s Bay. The front door is adorned with original leadlight windows, and opens into the main hall of the house. Following a traditional villa layout, the bedrooms are located on the East side of the hall, whilst to the West are spacious living areas, purely for guests’ enjoyment

Hawthorne House luxury accommodation comprises four luxuriously appointed en-suite rooms, three with king-sized beds, the fourth a queen. The rooms feature soaring ceilings, period features, beautiful linens, digital TV (with DVDs available), all modern amenities, and superbly comfortable beds to sink into after a hard day’s cooking session.


Your sumptuous weekend starts on Friday afternoon with a delicious home-made afternoon tea on the deck at Hawthorne overlooking the gardens. There, you will get the chance to meet your fellow student chefs for the weekend. After a chance to relax and unwind, and maybe explore a winery or two (there are about 35 locally for you to choose from), the early evening will begin over drinks and nibbles, matching the theme of the weekend. For example, if you chose our Mexican weekend you will be greeted with a margarita made with fresh juices, freshly made tortilla chips, guacamole and tomato salsa.

Dinner on the Friday night can be arranged at a choice of local restaurants. Arrangements can be made at the time of booking.

Saturday morning begins with a full breakfast including home-made muffins, fresh baked bread, local and home-grown fruits and a delicious cooked breakfast including eggs from own free-range chickens with locally artisan-produced bacon from Holly Bacon.

After a chance to freshen up after breakfast and a brief chat from Cathie about the plan for the day, the cooking begins. Cathie will go over all of the recipes that will be presented during the remainder of the day. She will also go over any specialty items that will be used during the cooking with a few hints, tips and chef’s secrets!

This is very much a hands-on experience. Once in the kitchen, one group will start preparing lunch. The rest of the group will start on dinner with plenty of cooking and tips from Cathie. Cooking will be interrupted for a great tasting lunch, before resuming, making sure that dinner will be ready on time.

In the afternoon, you will get a chance to visit a local vineyard and/or local suppliers of some of the ingredients used to prepare the food for the weekend. There will also be time for a break to relax and get to know your fellow cooks well. Once dinner is prepared, you will sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor - a lovely 3 course dinner served with matching wines. The following morning, after a leisurely breakfast, Cathie will meet you at the local farmer’s market where you will be able to sample more great local products and meet some of the wonderful Hawke’s Bay farmers and producers.

Included excursions

  • Trip to the local market
  • Trips to local producers
  • Trips to local vineyards and wineries


Hawke’s Bay enjoys some of the longest sunshine hours in New Zealand and is a year round destination that has something for everyone.



  • Boating nearby
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing nearby
  • Golf course nearby
  • Hiking nearby
  • Sailing nearby
  • Shopping nearby
  • Swimming nearby
  • Wine tasting / tour


  • Beach nearby
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Lounge
  • Restaurant nearby


  • Bicycle rental nearby
  • Conference room
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Local market
  • Tour assistance


Hawke’s Bay produces some of New Zealand’s best wines and is home to a wide range of artisan food producers. Red wine production is centered on Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are the main white varietals; however wineries have also successfully introduced Gewürztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Semillon, and Chenin Blanc.

All the recipes you work on at Hawthorne have been developed especially for your weekend by Cathie. They have all been tested until they are perfect. You will have time to talk to Cathie about her choice of ingredients and selection of courses. Cathie will also be able to give you insights into the various regional cooking methods, techniques and ingredients along with details on how ingredients are grown, harvested and/or manufactured.

Depending on the date that you book, the cooking course will adopt a certain theme as follows:

November 25-27th - Thai cuisine

Thai food is well known for its balance of sweet, spicy, salty, sour and hot. Learn how to use the ingredients of Thai food to create your own great perfectly balanced feast of this ancient cuisine. Dishes include a classic soup and 2 different curries along with vegetables and condiments.

January 6-8th - South of the Rio Grande (Mexican)

During your stay over the Mexican weekend, you will learn how to blend the wonderful and exciting flavours of Mexican food into some great tasting dishes from fresh made salsas, soup and mole sauces. Learn to make the amazing full flavours of Mexican cooking.

March 23-25th - Mama Mia! (Italian)

During the Italian weekend, you will learn how to make pasta and pizza from scratch. You will use locally sourced ingredients to make some of the great classic dishes of Italian cuisine such as perfect risotto and antipasti platters.

Things to do (optional)

  • Attend local events
  • Book a wine or food tour
  • Clay pigeon shooting
  • Cycling
  • Go fly fishing
  • Go sailing or boating
  • Golf
  • Visit an art deco
  • Visit the local theater
  • Walking and hiking

What's included

  • 1 dinner
  • 1 lunch
  • 2 breakfasts
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • Cooking class
  • Homemade afternoon tea upon arrival
  • Sundowner and canapés served every evening of your stay
  • Visit to local producer
  • Visit to local vineyards and wineries

What's not included

  • Additional meals and beverages
  • Additional tours and excursions
  • Personal expenses
  • Transportation to and from the villa
  • Travel insurance

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airport is Hawke's Bay Airport (NPE).

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