I seem to be going to cooking classes a lot lately. I don’t know if that’s because I need lessons or not but they are a lot of fun.
Swedish cooking seems to be on a lot of radars these days and having recently visited Malmo, Sweden myself recently, I was very much looking forward to cooking at Aveqia. They call themselves a “new restaurant concept”. So, if you want to do more than just sit there and wait for your food, this is certainly for you.
All kidding aside, it really is a great evening out. We started off with glasses of sparkling wine, so it can’t be that arduous. The venue of Aveqia is, while not exactly hidden, there is no outside signage to let you know you’ve arrived – only a red velvet rope. Hmmm, maybe that does mean you’ve arrived…
They primarily focus on cooking classes as a corporate activity but Saturday nights are turned over to private parties. The evening I attended, there were mixed groups of people, from singles to groups of 3 to 4 friends. After welcome drinks, we were ushered into the dining area/kitchen space and given a tour and health and safety brief by the 3 chefs who would be supervising our cooking experience.
Aveqia has been running in Sweden for the past 3 years and has proven very successful, with 2 sites in Sweden and now their third site here in London, in Farringdon. It was founded by entrepreneur Johan Kadar and Chef David Berggren, who has experience in both Michelin starred restaurants and 5 star hotels. Our chefs for the evening,Peter Hencz, Celine Fauvelle and Daniel Johanssen (you can read up on the chef bios here) all have been based in the flagship restaurant in Stockholm but have now relocated to work here in London.
We paired off in groups, my friend Jeanne had come along with me, and we volunteered to make the starter of foie gras with winter apples, brioche and almond toffee. We had Chef Celine to help us out but really, as the directions were very straight-forward and the recipes not overtly complex, she was there more to advise us then actually cook the dish, which was great. The entire menu was not difficult but the meal produced was top notch.
Besides the foie gras, other groups made Blackened reindeer with flamed pork belly, chanterelles and a brown butter and lingonberry vinaigrette
Crispy breast of duck with celeriac cream, Waldorf salad and mulled wine sauce
Chocolate cream with bergamot, fresh and dried meringue and sea-buckthorn sorbet
The meal was also paired with some great wine matches. We had a surprisingly good Brazilian riesling, yes, riesling(!) the 2010 Alisios from Seival Estates. It was slightly off dry but with good acidity and was a good match to the fatty foie gras. I would have never picked that wine – I’m don’t even like Brazilian wine that much, but that one definitely made me consider giving Brazilian wine another chance.
The Loredona 2009 pinot noir from California was another tasty wine with the blackened reindeer, toasty with lots of ripe strawberry flavours. A full bodied malbec the 2009 Catena Alta had loads of cassis and blackpepper on the palate with good structure and round tannins. Dessert can be hard to pair but we were served a 2010 light and sprite Moscato d’Asti from Vietti Cascinetta – grapey but light and succeeding in not being overshadowed by the chocolate or the meringue.
After all that cooking, we had to vote on which dish was the best and – surprise! our foie gras dish was voted the tastiest. We celebrated our win with drinks at the in-house bar afterwards 🙂 I really enjoyed the cooking classes and Aveqia organises the classes so well, it’s like a well oiled machine. The whole evening is a great way to share an evening with friends – and tasty too!
I was invited by Aveqia for the evenings event but classes are available for both individuals and groups, starting at £140 per person for the Saturday night classes and includes food, drinks and an Aveqia apron to take away.