Casa Luna cooking school has charmed visitors to Ubud for over 20 years with its intimate and engaging classes. Originally one class per week, the school has expanded to offer a range of menus, six days a week, from an open air kitchen at the second Honeymoon Guesthouse. I was fortunate to attend the class as a photographer for the Ubud Writers Festival.
The class offers a sensory experience of Balinese foods from market to palate, without the dreaded washing up. Spices are ground, veggies sliced and coconut milk added to boiling curry with careful attention to stir in one direction only; a curdled curry is a fast way to lose new friends. The teacher, a jovial long time employee at Casa Luna, shares stories of ceremonial and family life over the rhythmic rocking of pestle on mortar.
We snack on lak-lak (rice pancakes with coconut and palm sugar) and hibiscus tea, as the aromas of coconut oil, garlic and shrimp paste permeate the air. The raw ingredients culminate into a feast of chicken curry, spiced eggplant, coconut sambal and urap (bean coconut salad), served on a banana leaf plate. We leave with the desire for a post-lunch snooze and a greater appreciation for authentic Balinese food.