While New York is home to some of the world’s most amazing restaurants, there’s something about working for your meal through cooking classes and culinary experiences that makes it taste even better. Luckily, NYC is also home to a number of experiential dining affairs that put more than just a fork in your hand.
La Scuola di Eataly
Picture seamlessly transporting to Italy without ever actually leaving the Big Apple. Fresh ingredients like Tuscan olives and Pecorino, Sicilian oranges, and Piedmont hazelnuts envelope the senses and come together on your plate –– with your help, of course. Join 20 friends (or friends to be) at La Scuola di Eataly where experienced chefs dice and chop during Italian cooking classes, filling the room with aromas of mushroom-laced risotto and sounds of sizzling calamari. Every delicious bite confirms the perfection of the technique.
Astor Wines & Spirits
Of course, no meal would be complete without wine, which is where Astor Wines & Spirits, the largest of its kind in New York City, comes into play. While the 50,000+ shelves may overwhelm at first, labels depicting libation type and region, including New York, help make decisions easier, as do the almost-daily tastings and the always-open bitters-smelling bar, where creative cocktail recipes pop into the mind with little effort. Put this inspiration into practice at the adjoining Astor Center, where you’ll use your own hands to craft dizzying delights, taste your way to an understanding of food and wine pairing, and gain a better knowledge (and buzz) of the Irish whiskey revival.
A sweet coating on the palate makes your senses feel satiated. Take a seat on one of the counter-side swings at Molly’s Cupcakes and play a game of Jenga –– their shelves are lined with old school board games –– while biting into a DIY cupcake you designed yourself. Some suggested combinations include red velvet cake gowned in gooey chocolate frosting and chocolate chip cookie chunks, or a vanilla cake topped with French buttercream and drizzled in caramel.
Tache Artisan Chocolate
Another sugar-laced option: chocolate-making cooking classes at Tache Artisan Chocolate. As soon as you walk through the doors of their Lower East Side locale you’ll be enveloped in a warm chocolate hug. The highlight of this trip, though, is undoubtedly making your own bars, pops, and pastries, from scratch to wrapping.
Make sure you give yourself a day to go beyond the city limits of New York for an expansive farm experience with RootedNY, offering themed excursions. Picture slurping pleasantly salty Blue Point Oysters (followed by the tasty bitterness of a local craft beer), picking sweet sun-ripened cherries, and savoring stinky cheeses among adorable goats and cows (a Do Re Mi goat cheese will literally make you sing with delight), all behind the scenes to see first-hand how these local products are cultivated in the Empire State.