I am very excited to share you this post called Cooking Italy. This was submitted by one of the bloggers I have met on Facebook. So let’s get started, shall we?
When I travel, I like to “live like a local” and immerse myself in whatever culture I am visiting. One of the best ways to do this is through food and sampling a locations’ customary cuisine. On a recent trip to Northern Italy, I was offered the chance to take a private cooking class. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to be immersed in Italian culture than by making your own gnocchi and pasta?
The agents from Exclusively Italy booked The Art of Cooking with Daniela and Alessandro for my sister, two aunts, uncle and I. Daniela and Alessandro hold their intimate classes in a studio apartment up in the hills of Mezzegra. The flat is overlooking Lake Como, the views alone are worth the trip!
Daniela and Alessandro are seasoned chefs who both told me they prefer teaching classes overworking a traditional restaurant job. It is clear they both have a knack for teaching (they were very patient with us!) and for entertaining.
When we arrived, we received aprons and a glass of prosecco. Alessandro showed us how to put together the dough for tagliatelle, the pasta we would be making. He demonstrated, explaining all of the steps. Both instructors were very good English speakers, but with enough of an accent to remind you this was an authentic experience.
Next up we all tried to make our own ball of dough. Daniela and Alessandro guided us through the steps until our dough was perfect. While that dough rested for the required 20 minutes, we began making our second type of pasta – potato gnocchi.
Daniela had pre-boiled the potatoes so we got right to ricing them. We all took turns with the ricer, and then slowly added the only other ingredient, flour, to form a dough. From here we rolled the dough out into long snakes – even kids would love this experience – and cut little pillows. We then used a gnocchi board to roll them, creating perfect little ridges that better hold the sauce. And they looked really professional!
After finishing the gnocchi, the tagliatelle dough was ready to be cut into actual tagliatelle. Alessandro showed us how to roll out the dough flat like a pancake and fold it onto itself in order to cut the flat, wide noodles. They made it so easy for us to follow the steps and it was awesome to see the dough transform into a big pile of pasta!
Now all the pasta we made didn’t just look good, it tasted good!
After we completed making the tagliatelle and gnocchi, we all took off our aprons and transformed into Alessandro and Daniela’s lunch guests. We enjoyed prosecco, bread, and delicious appetizers while they cooked the pasta and prepared the sauces.
The tagliatelle was served with a meat ragu. Since I am vegetarian they prepared mine with a mushroom sauce. Needless to say, it was delicious!
The gnocchi was served second, prepared in a traditional Northern Italian way – baked with a good amount of butter and cheese. The dish was topped with fresh chives from their garden. This was probably the most delicious thing I ate on the entire trip and I was thankful my sister was too full to finish hers. I got to snag some extra!
We finished the meal with a cake made by Daniela’s sister and a traditional post-meal espresso. When it was time to leave we were each given a book of all the recipes (and more) that we made. We all purchased little gnocchi boards (5 Euro) to bring home when we try to recreate these dishes in our own kitchen.
This cooking experience was one of the highlights of our entire North Italy trip and I highly recommend The Art of Cooking with Alessandro and Daniela if you find yourself in this area!
Harmony Skillman is the author of the family travel site, Momma To Go. She is a math tutor and aspiring travel writer. She lives in Long Island, New York with her husband, 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. Together with her family, she is always up for her next adventure, preferably to a warm climate with delicious food and cocktails!
This is such a great post and I hope one day I will have a chance to attend this session.
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