On my last evening in Spain, my friend Gina and I headed to AIL Madrid near Retiro park for a Gazpacho Cooking Class. Little did I know that the class was about to be held in Spanish! Well, that would be quite obvious since it was at a language school. In fact, AIL offers unique classroom Spanish lessons integrated with cultural and social activities that teach you about the customs of Spain. It is a great way to learn the language, as well as experience Madrid.
So here we were, with a friendly Spanish speaking instructor at the language center learning how to make Gazpacho Andaluz style. Gazpacho, if you don’t know, is a cold tomato based soup made with fresh vegetables. It is had as an appetizer or a snack, and is especially refreshing in the summer. Andalusia is a Spanish autonomous community known for authentic cultural traditions, such as bull fighting and flamenco dancing.
During the class, we learned what the main ingredients for Gazpacho are called in Spanish: tomates (tomatoes), pimiento verde (green bell pepper), pepino (cucumber), cebolla (onion), ajo (garlic). All of us students peeled and chopped the veggies before combining them in a blender with some aceite (olive oil), vinagre (vinegar) and sal (salt). The beauty of Gazpacho is that it doesn’t require any cooking. It is basically a healthy concoction of raw pureed vegetables that in perfect harmony, can be quite flavorful to the palate.
While my Spanish was rather rustic, I was able to pick up most of the instructions given and added a few new words to my vocabulary. In fact, if I was staying in Madrid longer, I would go back to take more of lessons like these, that teach you practical language skills, in a fun environment.
AIL Madrid is an Instituto Cervantes accredited Spanish language school. They provide high quality, affordable Spanish language courses to tourists and foreign residents in Madrid.