• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

LEdlund

Cooking classes in Italy

72 posts in this topic

My husband and I are thinking about traveling to Italy in the next few months. I'd like to start the trip with a cooking/wine class/tour lasting approximately 4 - 6 days. We're planning to limit our visit to northern Italy, probably flying into Milan. We'd like to spend significant time in Genoa. Any experience with this?

I've been checking out some websites but I'd rather hear first hand experience from fellow eGulleters. Has anyone taken cooking classes while on vacation?


Practice Random Acts of Toasting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From Genova it is an easy drive to Tuscany so I would suggest taking a look at Divina Cucina (of our own eGullet member divina) or if you are thinking of very wine oriented travel in Piemonte take a look at my site listed below.

Just wondering why you are looking to spend extended time in Genova? It is a nice city, but much of it is very industrial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been on a culinary trip with Peggy Markel that was simply outstanding. While she does trips to Elba amongst other places, her base is Florence where she runs a cooking school.

Pamela Sheldon Johns also runs Food Tours/Workshops in various parts of Italy in addition to her Agriturismo in Tuscany, where she holds cooking classes.

These may be interesting options in addition to the fine ones presented above depending on your interests and the itineraries available.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wondering why you are looking to spend extended time in Genova? It is a nice city, but much of it is very industrial.

Shame on you Craig Camp! :wink:

Genova is AMAZING and very underrated. 1) The food is fabulous and cheap as chips, even compared with other major Itlalian cities which are already cheap as chips by UK, US and certainly French standards 2) the people are "real" - it's not high up on the tourist list (even though it should be) but I understand fully that people coming to Italy on their first, second, third and even fourth trip would go to Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan...in fact when I was there in October I heard nary an English word aside from present company. 3) fantastic for sightseeing, loads of tiny but opulent churches built by wealthy industrialists. 4) it doesn't wear its heart on its sleeve the same way other abovementioned Italian cities do (though I love those too) 5) European city of culture this year, shared with Lille, another underrated/undervisited city.

LEdlund - go and enjoy !!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was an interesting article on The Savvy Traveler about Genoa being an "overlooked gem".

Elizabeth Yates McNamee traveled along the Ligurian coast to Genoa, Italy, a city on the harbor many Americans only pass through on the way to Portofino. The city has had contact with different populations on the Mediterranean Sea, from Arab to Spanish to French and Flemish. Its commerce is highly developed, but not its tourism. Elizabeth checks out an overlooked gem.

The description appealed to my husband and I but I'm going to have to listen to the article again to remember why.

Thanks, Magnolia, for the vote of confidence!


Practice Random Acts of Toasting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking for an inexpensive yet worthwhile cooking class in Tuscany - any ideas? Thanks so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In expensive classes ( $50 or so???) can be had at language schools in Italy and are designed for college kids.. or just hanging aorund together.

Where will you be? and when?

Some farmhouses will give classes if you are staying there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for pointing me to Divina Cucina's classes. The one day is definitely less expensive than others we've seen. I had no idea of prices - never having taken a cooking class before.

We are not students, will be on our honeymoon, but still on a budget - will be in the Chianti Region during the second week of October.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

contact Bill Sutherland at www.tuscanwomancook.com ..... he runs a informal cooking school out of his farmhouse in montefalonnico. the school is taught by ladies (we called them local legends) from the surrounding towns. the classes are typically week or so long but we (about 8 of us) did a special one day class in his home and at a winery.

In montefalonnico there is a magnificient and well known restaurant called la chiusa, where the part owner and chef is named diana. She is reknowned in that region for her cooking. The lady (she was about 75) that cooked for us at bill sutherland's taught diana how to cook. Needless to say it was spectaular. although, i don't know how cheap it was, but i remember it being absolutely worth it. Correspond with bill sutherland as he is a nice guy and a wealth of information in that region...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend and I took a one-day class from Gina Stipo last month. She gives the classes in a beautiful villa overlooking the hills outside of Siena. Gina is American, trained in the U.S. and worked at several excellent Italian restaurants in NYC before moving to Italy 4 years ago. The class was E. 135 each, and we really enjoyed it. She is a master at pasta making. Her website address is www.eccolacucina.com or email ginastipo@yahoo.com.

I have also taken a class from Judy at Divina Cucina in Florence which was excellent!

kyleb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be in Bologna the first week of October, using it as a homebase to explore Ravenna, Parma, Modena, etc. I'd like to take a 1-day or half-day cooking class while in the area, to get the highlights. Any recommendations?


Hedonia

Eating, drinking and living the good life in San Francisco

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A Google search turns up CookItaly.comwhich advertises 1-day classes.

I did in fact Google, and came up with the same results -- I think I'll check that out.

Also, if anyone has any particular suggestions for dining in Bologna or any nearby cities (we're definitely going to Ravenna, am now deciding between the others, i.e., Ferrara, Parma, Modena), I'm all ears and taste buds.


Hedonia

Eating, drinking and living the good life in San Francisco

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'll find plenty of restaurant tips for Bologna on this thread.


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A Google search turns up CookItaly.comwhich advertises  1-day classes.

So I've just returned from my trip to Italy. I did in fact arrange a one-day class with Carmelita of CookItaly.com this past Friday, Oct 8. I would highly recommend this to anyone visiting the area. Carmelita is an absolute treasure trove of information on the food of the region; shopping with her through the mercato centrale is a phenomenal experience. Though not a native Bolognese, Carmelita knows everyone and everything in the market, and explains all of it in direct, erudite terms.

We tasted everything from straight-up lardo (herbed pork fat) to fiche carmelizzate e squaquerone romagnolo (caramelized figs with a fresh, loose cheese, kind of like cottage cheese), a popular dessert. She explained the differences between the various balsamic vingars, and we tasted several to compare.

Back at her place, a charming studio apartment in the center, just across a piazza from a lovely medieval church, we prepared panna cotta with fresh berries and raspberry coulis, polpettone bolognese (Bolognese meatloaf, spiced with cinammon and lemon zest) with caramelized onions, green beans and Roman broccoli with a cream sauce and, necessarily, handmade tagliatelle with mushroom sauce. My partner and I have made pasta by hand a number of times before, but had never achieved quite the right texture and flavor. This time, the pasta was perfect. Carmelita's techniques were simple and easy to follow, and we produced a massive meal for the three of us within a couple hours. It was all in all a delightful way to experience a different, more personal side of Bologna.

Off-topic, while in Ravenna, we had the best meal of our trip at a small place not far from the mausoleum of Galla Placida called Ristorante Osteria del Tempo Perso. We stopped for lunch, and ordered from the menu del giorno, splitting each an antipasto, first and second course. We started with thinly sliced smoked capon with pancetta lardons stewed in balsamic on a bit of rucola salad, then delicious capelleti (a type of stuffed pasta) with a faint yet always present truffle essence, and lastly strips of poached chicken tossed in a light sauce with roasted potatoes on the side. Fantastic, and very reasolably priced. Highly reccomended!


Hedonia

Eating, drinking and living the good life in San Francisco

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband and I will be travelling to Florence and Rome in the fall. I have time for a cooking class. :smile: I am a fairly good cook and love markets. I have searched egullet and other sites and the new Bon Appetit and these 3 options stand out in Florence: Divina Cucina, Faith Willinger's Market to table and Cucina del Garga (at the trattoria).

What do you think? I'm having a hard time deciding, but must do so soon.

Pros and cons:

Divina cucina: small menu, but market tour

Faith Willinger: large menu, but only shopping for produce and eggs and wine. Her assistant has a separate market tour

Garga: no market tour, but I loved this restaurant years back

Any other classes or tours I should consider?

Edited to add: divina cucina also has a separate market tour. Another decision: cooking class vs market/shopping tour?


Edited by achevres (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know of any others, but I took (and recommend) Judy's (Divina Cucina) market/cooking class last March. Prior to going to the market, we discussed what we wanted to cook. While we were shopping, we made some last minute tweaks to the menu (changed lamb to kid). It was a treat to take another class when she was at Ramekins in Sonoma earlier this year.

As mentioned in this month's Bon Appetit, her class is the "Best Cure for the No-Kitchen Blues" - it is a great way to be able to shop and then to cook what one purchases without renting an apartment with a kitchen in Florence. Don't mind cooking a wee bit while on vacation but it IS a vacation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am Diva of Divina Cucina.. and am the IACP rep for Italy.. so in Rome also know of several teachers. Maureen Fant does a walking tour and class ( 4th floor walkup)

Diane Seed sometimes has one day classes and Dana Klitzberg of Blu Abergine does market tour classes too.

Pick up this month's fabulous Bon Appetit with info on FLorence ROme and Venice, a true collectors issue!


Edited by divina (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go to Divinas course. Personally I don't know her but I have a gut feeling that she is the bomb and your best bet.


Edited by kellytree (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here is a link to a nice article on cooking schools in Florence that may help you reach a decision:  http://www.slowtrav.com/tuscantraveler/divas.htm

Good luck!

Thanks MMerrill, and everyone else, for your help. This link was just what I was looking for. I'm leaning towards divina Cucina, but still welcome any other opinions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By DianaB
      Just found out that a member of eGullet, @Cia has begun to post his short videos on Italian culinary culture on YouTube.  Only one to date but I know there are more in the pipeline.  While made by an Italian based in Italy the narrative is in English.
       
      Here's the first instalment: 
       
       
       
    • By Gunnsr42
      Hello foodies. Tell us what work of art you're cooking for your meals these days. 
    • By shain
      Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 
       
      50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
      80 g honey 
      120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 
      2 eggs
      2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 
      230 g flour 
      1 teaspoon salt 
      1 teaspoon baking powder 
      75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
      50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) 
      Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
      Optional: more olive oil for brushing
       
      Heat oven to 170 deg C.
      In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. 
      Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. 
      Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. 
      Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. 
      On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. 
      With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. 
      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
       
        
    • By JoNorvelleWalker
      Steve Sando had a nice write up in the Times:
       
      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/dining/marcella-hazan-rancho-gordo-beans.html?ref=dining
       
       
      According to FedEx tracking my Marcella beans (and others) are due to arrive tomorrow.
    • By Suzi Edwards
      i made some pesto on saturday and was wondering how long people would keep it for in the fridge. my partner is happy to scrape mould off stuff (bleurgh) and he says it will keep until saturday. i don't believe him...
      any ideas?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.