Get Ready for Holiday Cooking with These Classes and Events

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Who wouldn’t want a cheese platter this pretty at their party? Learn the tricks at The Cheese School of San Francisco. Photo via Facebook.

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Chocolate and cheese, ready for a tasting at Dandelion. Photo courtesy Dandelion.

By Dana Eastland. Ready, set, cook! And bake. The holidays are here, and that means there’s a lot of cooking to do, if that’s your thing. Here are some great holiday cooking classes to try, and be sure to get your tickets soon, because they do sell out.

On Sunday December 21st, Viola Buitoni returns to ~18 REASONS~ with her Paste di Natale class. She’ll show you how to prepare classic Italian holiday classics, including spaghetti alla spoletina in black truffles and anchovy sauce, tortilla di magro made with spinach and chard, and a Neapolitan pasta pie (yes, timballo!). The class goes from 4pm-8:30pm and includes all instruction plus a dinner with food and wine. Tickets are $95 per person or $85 for 18 Reasons members, and there are only two left, so snatch them up!

For another take on an Italian-style holiday, check out Maria Capdevielle’s Italian Holiday Cookies and Confections class in Berkeley on Saturday December 13th from 3pm-6pm. She’ll demonstrate how to make five different cookies and candies from different regions of Italy, all of them ideal for gifting to friends, family, and as host gifts for all those parties. Tickets are $75. Playing Life Academy/Footfire Soccer, 1645 4th St. at Virginia, Berkeley.

Join Reem Assil for a class on sweet Arabic treats, or helou, for the holiday season, or really any season. There are actually two parts to the class: the first on Saturday December 13th and the second on Saturday December 20th, both from 11am-2pm. On the 13th, learn all about baklava, including how to get the phyllo sheets just right and experimenting with some different fillings. For the second class, learn about ma’amoul, semolina cookies with nuts and dried fruit. Both classes take place at the ~ARAB CULTURAL AND COMMUNITY CENTER~ and cost $33 each for the general public or $30 for center members. 2 Plaza St. at Laguna Honda, 415-664-2200.

Always wanted to offer a beautiful cheese plate to your guests or host? The San Francisco Cheese School has just the class for you. Taught by owner Kiri Fisher, Bounty & Beauty: How to Build a Dazzling Cheese Platter will teach you everything you need to know about cheese, accompaniments, and plating to make sure your holiday platters are gorgeous and delicious. Plus, you get to take the platter you make home with you, and the class includes wine. Hic. Tickets are $75 per person. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-346-7530.

To learn how to make cookies like a pro, check out the Holiday Cookie Swap class at ~THE SAN FRANCISCO COOKING SCHOOL~ on Saturday December 13th from 10am-2pm. Not only will you make lots of cookies, including sugar cookies with icing, English toffee shortbread, and peppermint pinwheels, but you’ll also learn some great techniques for making sure your cookies turn out just right every time. The class includes a light lunch, wine, and a cookie swap at the end—plus you get to take lots of cookies home! Tickets are $160 per person. 690 Van Ness Ave. at Turk, 415-346-2665.

Master some of the dishes for the Jewish holiday table at Not Your Grandma’s Latkes at the ~JCCSF~ on Monday December 8th from 6:30pm-9pm. In addition to latkes, instructor Michele Pfeifer will teach you how to prepare other dishes for Hanukkah, including brisket and applesauce. Tickets are $95 per person or $85 for JCCSF members. 3200 California St. at Presidio, 415-292-1200.

This isn’t exactly a class, but it is a good guide for those vegans out there, or those who are cooking for a vegan. Jerry James Stone of Cooking Stoned is offering his book, A Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays, for free. It includes lots of recipes, and all you have to do is sign up for the Cooking Stoned newsletter here to receive a digital copy of the book.

There are also lots of great events to help celebrate the season, including the 12 Nights of Chocolate at ~DANDELION CHOCOLATE~. Starting tonight, Tuesday December 2nd, you can check out a different chocolate-themed event with lots of different guest chefs and restaurants participating. The full schedule of events can be found here, but highlights include an event with Marla Bakery and Sean Ehland on Wednesday December 3rd from 7pm-9pm, with a buffet of sweet and savory chocolate treats and bubbly from Chris Deegan. Tickets are $50 per person. On Saturday December 6th, learn all about pairing cheese and chocolate with Alex Ourieuf of Vagabond Cheese and Jenna Nicolas of Dandelion from 7pm-9pm; tickets are $45 per person. Check out a full list of collaborations and details right here. Ticket prices vary, and all proceeds benefit the SF-Marin Food Bank, which needs as much support as possible this time of year. 740 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-349-0942.