Taste of Italy: How to Have the Best Cooking Class Experience

Taylor Cox

Attending a cooking class in Italy is definitely one of the best experiences you can have. You will learn everything there is to know about preparing an Italian cuisine. While taking a cooking class is an amazing experience; finding the right one to take can be hard. But these tips should help finding one a little bit easier!

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Tips on finding and attending cooking classes:

  • Location: When searching online, cooking classes mostly came up in Tuscany and UmbriaSome other good places to take a class include Rome, Venice, and Bologna. I think it would be a great idea to sign up for a cooking class near other attractions/tourist areas so you can see other things when you’re not in the kitchen.
  • Prices: Be sure to check the different prices of the cooking classes. Some range from as little as 85 euros and some can go up to 3000 euros depending how long the class is and if you will be lodging with them for a while.
  • Type of class: Some classes last for just one day and some up to a week or more; it just depends on how much time you have. Think about it; do you want a more intimate, one-on-one class, or a fun group class with friends or family? You can sign up for either a private class or a group class.
  • Make sure to look up if the teacher speaks english or not; from my experience, the teacher did not speak english. So, make sure you know a little bit of Italian or have a translator with you to help you out if your teacher does not know english!

Whats included:

Be sure to look into these things before booking a class to best accommodate your experience!

  • Some classes may have you run to the market to pick up fresh ingredients for that days recipe.
  • Some classes include lodging and meals for you if you would like.
  • Some locations of classes also include field trips to vineyards for wine and olive oil tasting that you could sign up for.
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Examples of Popular Cooking Classes:

When searching for cooking classes online these are the most popular classes to use:

  1. Florence: Cucina con Vista with Chef Elena Mattei. Hands-on classes of up to four students focus on classic Tuscan dishes. Wine tours through Chianti; trips to Sant’Ambrogio market to try Florentine specialties. One to four-day classes year-round, by request. From $270 to $1,025; cucinaconvista.it
  2. Montepulciano: Italian Food Artisans with Pamela Sheldon Johns. Students stay at villa apartments overlooking the tiny hill town of Cortona. Lessons for groups of up to 12. Classes year-round. From $237 to $3,600, including accommodations; foodartisans.com.
  3. Assisi: Alla Madonna del Piatto with Letizia Mattiacci. Classes start off with a tasting trip to the nearby village of Santa Maria degli Angeli, where students can sample local foods like wild boar sausages. Classes twice a week on weekdays, from mid-March through December. From $149 per class; incampagna.com.

My experience:

The Italian woman that taught us this amazing dish cooks for places all around town. Trust me- she knows what she is doing! She was the funniest woman ever with always a funny comment coming out of her mouth. She even told one of the boys “You don’t touch dough like you touch a woman, put some muscle into it!”. Taking a cooking class was easily one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. As a bonus: you get to eat AMAZING food! Here is an overview from start to finish of the cooking class that I attended:

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1. Making the pasta:

First, you will need to take the flour and make it into a little pool (or a wide volcano looking thing). This is because you will need to crack the two eggs into it so they don’t poor out. Take a fork and stir the eggs gradually into flour until it turns into dough. Here comes the hard part: folding and palming the dough into a perfect ball. If your dough is too sticky be sure to add some more flour but not too much at the same time.

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Next, you will need to use a dough roller to roll out the dough into a flat 2 millimeter circle by spinning the dough each time you roll it out. Then, you take the dough and gently fold over the edges from top and bottom together. (Make sure to be as gentle as possible – no pressing down!) Depending which type of pasta you would like depends on the thickness you cut the noodles. 

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2. Preparing the Ingredients (garlic sauce):

I thought I was a pretty good cook until I learned that I actually didn’t know much at all in this area. There is a certain way to cut the tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Don’t fret, you’ll get the hang of it! To make the tomatoes sun dried, you have to cut in the shape of an X that only cuts the skin. Then, you place all of the tomatoes into boiling water for 3 minutes and then place them into a bowl of cold water. This is so you can easily peal off the skin off and throw them away. When you’re done, cut the tomatoes up into little slivers and set aside.

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For the garlic, you just need to peel the skin off and cut them into tiny slivers as well. But for the basil it’s a different story. You will need to take a bunch of the basil leaves and wrap all of them into one leaf to hold them together. Then you just cut away! This makes cutting up the basil so much easier.

3. Putting it all together:

Almost finished! Put the breadcrumbs and olive oil into a sauce pan and heat until it starts popping; thats how you know its ready. All thats left for the noodles is boiling them for a couple minutes until they float. Lastly, throw all of the sauce ingredients into a sauce pan for a couple minutes with some spices like red pepper and salt. Make sure to taste it before serving- all Italian cooks know this! Toss the noodles into the sauce. Add the breadcrumbs and some parmesan if you prefer and there you have it. A traditional delizioso Italian meal!

This is the recipe for tagliatelle with garlic sauce and crunchy crumbs that we were taught to make at our cooking class. It was amazing and I definitely recommend trying it!

Recipe:

500 gr. flour

5 eggs

2 kilos of red tomatoes

6 cloves of garlic

100 cl. olive oil

salt, pepper, and chilli pepper

200 gr of bread crumbs + 50 cl of olive oil

 So much fun and skill is awaiting you by taking a cooking class in Italy! Taking a cooking class definitely made me appreciate all of the restaurants I attend because I now realize how much hard work homemade food takes to make. There are cooking classes all over the country and I hope this helped finding the right one a little bit easier!

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