From an estate in the heart of Marrakesh's palm grove to something a little closer to home in Aldeburgh, Jenni Muir discovers cooking courses to suit every taste and budget



Aldeburgh Cookery School

Okay, so walking along Aldeburgh's pebbled beach is not quite the same as looking out over the dreamy waters at Ölüdeniz, but for a true taste of Turkish and Moroccan cuisine, the Suffolk town's cookery school is a first-class destination.

Teachers Thane Prince and Sara Cox have travelled and worked extensively in the Mediterranean, and their sessions on Turkish and Greek cooking showcase dishes from domestic kitchens as well as more familiar restaurant favourites such as kleftiko and imam byaldi.

Persian influences on the cuisine are also highlighted. A typical one-day class covers breads, sweet and savoury pastries, mezze made from seasonal vegetables, several main courses, Turkish delight, apple tea and Turkish coffee.

Recipes for the Flavours of Moroccan class are derived from the time Thane Prince, also a well-known food writer, spent working with the local chefs at Marrakesh's elegant five-star hotel La Mamounia.

From £115, not including accommodation. Aldeburgh Cookery School, 84 High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, tel: 01728 454 039,


Tastes of Morocco at Dar Liqama

Chinese, French, Indian, Spanish and Persian influences have combined to make Moroccan cooking one of the most fascinating and fragrant. Unravel the cuisine's complexities with eight cooking sessions in this week-long course at Dar Liqama villa guesthouse.

Set in a grove of more than 150,000 palm trees, the atmospheric villa has modern conveniences, but has been designed to reflect traditional Moroccan architecture. Also included in the package are a shopping tour of the souk in the Medina, and an easy hike in the Atlas Mountains. Relax - you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the Turkish steam bath, swimming pool, tennis, games, spa facilities and expansive views as well.

From £1,145, including accommodation. Flights extra. Gourmet on Tour, tel: 020 7396 5550,


A Feast for the Senses at Jnane Tamsna

Based at chic Jnane Tamsna, a boutique guesthouse set on a six-acre organic estate in the heart of Marrakesh's palm grove, the course includes cooking classes, as well as traditional breadmaking and ras el hanout workshops. You will join a foraging tour of the Medina, visit Sidi Kaouki beach on the Atlantic Coast, journey through the Ouirgane Valley and take a trip to the Argania woodlands.

From £2,088, including accommodation. Flights extra. Peggy Markel's Culinary Adventures, tel:001 800 988 2851.


Come to the Kasbah

Experience Moroccan home-style cuisine, by touring the country with Casablanca-raised cooking teacher Kitty Morse, the daughter of a French mother and British father.

Based in America, Kitty has written several books on Moroccan cuisine. This will be her 18th annual gastronomic tour home to Morocco. The family home, Dar Zitoun, is a restored pasha's residence south of Casablanca. Here you will enjoy cooking demonstrations. The 14-day tour which includes sight-seeing, meals at first-class restaurants, three nights at La Mamounia, and three at Fez's Palais Jamais hotel.

From £2,610, including accommodation. Flights extra. Carefree Vacations, tel: 001 800 683 1556,

London and Altrincham

Cordon Vert Cookery School

With their prolific use of vegetables, fruits, pulses and grains, the cuisines of the Middle East are a rich source of inspiration for anyone avoiding meat.

The Cordon Vert school is based at the Vegetarian Society's Cheshire headquarters. Sessions include Watch and Lunch day classes, one-day hands-on workshops, weekend workshops and diploma courses. In addition, some sessions are offered at a venue in West Hampstead.

From £83, not including accommodation. Cordon Vert Cookery School, The Vegetarian Society, Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham, Cheshire, tel: 0161 925 2014.


Tastes of North Africa: Mouthwatering Recipes from Morocco and the Mediterranean

Sarah Woodward, Kyle Cathie, £14.99

Well laid out, with excellent photography by Gus Filgate, Sarah Woodward's cookbook, re-published in February would be a good addition to your Middle Eastern food library. The dishes are straight forward and her ingredients are widely available.

Moro: The Cookbook

Sam and Sam Clark, Random House, £15

Chef-restaurateurs Samuel and Samantha Clark's first publishing venture, Moro, is the best introduction to their exciting mix of Spanish, North African and Middle Eastern cooking. From mezze dishes to the more complicated quail baked in flatbread with pistachio sauce - it's all delicious.

The Momo Cookbook: A Gastronomic Journey Through North Africa

Mourad Mazouz, Simon & Schuster, £14.99

This is one of the most delicious books around on North African food. It looks beautiful, reads well and the recipes are tempting. It's sometimes more of a travel book, but you will be driven to cook from it.

Moroccan Cuisine

Paula Wolfert, Grub Street, £10.99

Published in paperback last year (a hardback edition has been around since 1998), this authoritative collection of traditional recipes from the American food writer was compiled after two years of travelling to Fez, Marrakesh, Casablanca and Rabat. It's not for the beginner though; Wolfert revels in authenticity.