An Experiential Foodie Class Is Just the Ticket for Your Next Atlanta Trip
Learn how to make perfect Neapolitan pizza, meatballs, cocktails or even feta cheese at these Atlanta spots where you can perfect a cooking skill or just grab a bite to eat.
Photo By: Andrew Thomas
Photo By: Visit Sandy Springs
Photo By: Il Giallo
Photo By: Jonathan Wade
Photo By: Andrew Thomas
Photo By: Bella Cucina
Photo By: Sugo
Photo By: Heidi Geldhauser
Photo By: Visit Sandy Springs
Photo By: Discovery Dunwoody
Neapolitan Pizza Perfection
Chef and owner Luca Varuni of Atlanta's Varuni Napoli Pizza really cares about ingredients — authentic, imported San Marzano tomatoes, heritage Italian olive oil, specially imported Mozzarella di Bufala — and he sources them in shipping containers that ferry a taste of Italy right to Atlanta's door. But if you want to go really deep and find out just what goes into perfect Italian pizza, you'll want to take a hand's-on class at the restaurant. I can attest to upping my own personal pan game with a class that taught the basics of oven temperature, dough handling and, of course, the necessity of authentic, time-tested ingredients. I don't have Chef Luca's gorgeous blue-tiled pizza ovens or his years of experience, but his class did give me the skills to turn mediocre homemade pizza into a mid-week meal to get excited about. Chef Luca’s brother and lead pizzaioulo, Benedetto Varuni, leads classes at Varuni Napoli's Morningside-Lenox Park location (they also have a restaurant at the lively Krog Street Market food hall) every Wednesday and Thursday from 3-4 p.m. and on Saturday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Chef Benedetto shares the secrets and art of authentic Neapolitan pizza making with groups of six. Call 404-709-2690 to reserve a spot.
Atlanta is a food-centric town and a number of shops have sprung up to satisfy curious foodies looking for the best selection and for ideas, whether at the bespoke liquor store Holeman and Finch Bottle Shop or hand-crafted, small batch chocolate destination Xocolatl. The Sandy Springs shop CalyRoad Creamery is a micro-creamery specializing in artisan cheese founded by two sisters. The dairy-centric sisters not only make cheese, they also offer an array of locally and regionally produced goods in their cozy Atlanta shop that will inspired you to fill your suitcase with Southern goodies. Fellow cheese nuts can learn how to make a variety of cheeses at classes — which include a wine and cheese tasting — held on the third Saturday of every month at CalyRoad. Better still, you get to take home the cheese you make.
Il Giallo Osteria & Bar
This beloved Atlanta Italian spot in the Sandy Springs neighborhood is a local favorite for personality plus chef Jamie Adams (he overcame quadruple bypass surgery! His pasta is delicious!). Chef Jamie of Il Gallio is something of a cult hero and so is his pasta-making class where fans get up close and personal with this personable foodie celeb. The class is held the first Saturday of every month and fills up quickly. One participant has even attended every class since they began in 2016. A fun weekend activity for foodie types, the class gives you some insider-y tips on pasta-making from a pro (get there early before the sublime biscotti runs out) but also offers the mind candy delights of watching Jamie feed dough endlessly into a pasta-maker. Can you say "hypnotic"? Part banter-centric cooking show, part class, Jamie and crew end with a feast where you can get to know your classmates even better, featuring the restaurant's incredible pastas — good enough to have been spotlighted on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
East Pole Coffee Company
Want to perfect a better cuppa? It all starts with knowing what you like and don't like in coffee and the essential features that make up a great cup. Hit up Atlanta's East Pole Coffee Company's weekly drop-in cupping classes held every Saturday at the coffee spot to enhance your java knowledge. The classes are free and there are new themes and coffees to taste each week but the essence of the classes is learning about the quality, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, balance and sweetness of various coffees by sampling a variety of brews. It's like wine tasting, but you can still drive home afterwards!
Root Baking Company
A serene, delicious-smelling treasure worth seeking out in Atlanta's bustling, occasionally overwhelming Ponce City Market food hall, Root Baking Company serves up homemade bread and pastries to take away. And this charm-filled foodie destination also offers cool baking classes with an indie edge on topics like porridges, breads of the world, baking pastry with alt-grains and a super-informative class on making sourdough bread. Instructors are hip, fun and make the instruction as wise-crackingly entertaining as any Food Network show. There are snacks and wine along the way and the participants tend to be social, brainy, interesting fellow foodies eager to learn and meet new people in the process.
Located in the posh Buckhead Atlanta shopping complex, Bella Cucina is local epicurean Alisa Barry's emporium for all things foodie. You can pick up a foodie souvenir (pestos, citrus spreads, olive oils and crackers are some of the offerings) from your travels or even take a pasta-making class. Check-in with Bella Cucina to find out what is on offer and come back from your trip with the skills to make some delicious filled or extruded pastas to impress your friends. You'll learn to make different styles of pasta from scratch alongside other attendees. Participants start the class with a complimentary cocktail or glass of prosecco and light bites and get to take home some of their homemade pasta.
All things to all people, this Johns Creek Italian spot offers an array of comfort food cooking classes from a meatball class to a hanger steak class, a braciole cooking class and even a vegetarian cooking class. Food Network has called Sugo's meatballs some of the best in the country, so you might want to see about honing your rolling skills in the next class. Check out Sugo's Facebook page to see what's on offer each month.
Double Zero Pizza
Often singled out by the local — and national — press for its Italian food and pizza, Double Zero is close to Emory University's campus (so it's a great choice for visiting parents from out-of-town) and offers gnocchi-making classes, a fun pizza class so you can perfect your Neapolitan pizza skills and even cocktail classes. Track these and other creative class offerings on Double Zero's Facebook page.
A sushi tutorial followed by a sushi dinner? Yes, please. District M flies the freshest fish possible in daily from Japan and Spain for the sushi at its brand new Sandy Springs restaurant which opened in February 2019. And the restaurant also offers a low-impact, sort-of class featuring sushi chef Jackie Chang demonstrating his sushi-making skills in his Bluefin Tuna Demonstration. Customers pay $125 to watch the master at work, followed by a full sushi dinner at the restaurant's sushi bar. The demo happens once a month, so there are plenty of opportunities to get in on the action.
This Dunwoody restaurant features (as you might guess from the name), an extensive wine list as well as tasty bites. It also boasts a full-on, state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen where guests can choose from an array of classes from wine appreciation to steak, Korean fare, Indian food and even classes on Southern staples like chicken and waffles. Learn to make pasta or get the whole gang involved at one of Vino Venue's family pizza parties. You can find a full rundown of their class offerings here.