Experience an authentic Italian cooking workshop
The indescribable beauty of Italy
First of all, Italy is truly an amazing country and has so many things to offer. As a tourist, you can visit Italy practically every year and still explore new places, old towns and astonishing landscapes every time. To be honest, we would love to live our lives in Italy, because of the Italians, they simply have it all. Starting from enormous stone walled mountains in the Dolomites in the North, until the beautiful Southern coastlines of the Amalfi coast and Palermo. And then we even skipped about 1700 km’s of beautiful landscapes, picturesque villages and amazing sunsets.
No wonder the Italians are first in the row to travel in their own country. Above the high amount of in-land tourism, Italy is one of the most visited countries in Europe. As huge amounts of tourists come to visit this amazing country every year. The historical importance and broad history of Italy is a great trigger for lots of people to visit this amazing country. But not only the cities are worth visiting, the coastlines of Italy and the cute coastal villages are also a twinkle in the eye. Whether you visit Italy for a city trip in one of their historical loaded cities or a road trip through the booth, let yourself be dragged into the Italian lifestyle and you’ll see its beauty within minutes.
All these things considered, we can state as a fact that you won’t have enough time in one life to explore every gem Italy has to offer.
However, if there is one thing where the Italians beat the rest of the world, it will be food-wise. The Italians are masters of the best food and wine our world has to offer… Of course, that’s our opinion 😉 And to put this blogpost more into context: I’m a spaghetti-freak by the way. Their dishes have become world dishes, not only in the best restaurants but also by every home cook who takes him or herself seriously.
Last year we visited the Dolomites in the north, so this year it was time to explore Tuscany. One of the many beautiful regions which can be found central in the Italian booth. To develop ourselves to Italian food masters, we took an authentic Italian cooking class here in Tuscany. You can call it a cliché, but it’s a must-do if you’re ever visiting Italy and want to feel like a true Italian.
The cooking workshop
So, get your ass to Italy and subscribe to an authentic old school cooking class. Preferably with an old grandma who teaches you to cook Italian style following grandma’s recipe. We were visiting Tuscany in the summer of 2020 with our family and a couple of friends. Therefore we decided we wanted to learn how to cook real Italian recipes.
To clarify, in our household, I do not like to cook at all. Luckily Koen is a great chef and knows his way around in the kitchen. Therefore we switched places for once, and I dropped Koen into the workshop while I took the camera to shoot some photos. It was a good excuse for me to be pardoned for the workshop and let Koen try this at home when we got back.
The host of our house had the perfect recommendation for us as a host for the workshop: one of his employees and her daughter. Her daughter was working at a restaurant, but due to Corona, she was sadly unemployed for the moment. Therefore she had the time to explain to us the ins and outs of Italian cuisine. And both ladies were so lovely. The mother masterfully orchestrated the workshop and had the groups attention within seconds. She didn’t speak one word of English, so she did the whole workshop in Italian. Although we do not speak Italian at all, we made it happen to perfectly understand what she meant and what we had to do. This is the advantage of Italian people, they do make themselves very clear with their body language and gestures.
She let us explore the wonderful world of self-made pasta and pizza. In the first part of the workshop, we made “tagliatelle al ragù di Carne”, which is in noob terms just Tagliatelle Bolognese. The good thing about this was that we not only learned how to make the pasta. But we also learned how to cut our greeneries the Italian (read: right) way to maximize the taste of it.
In the second part of the cooking workshop, she learned us how to make delicious ravioli filled with meat. We do not want to go into detail, because we’re not here to tell you how to make the best pasta in the world. We just want to trigger you to do the same, and follow a cooking class in Italy. There is no place on earth where you will be better thought about how to cook the perfect pasta.
Although secrets should be kept secret, we do want to share one little secret with you. But sadly for us, her biggest secret about a great pasta was to let the dough rise in the Italian sun for over an hour. Well, difficult to compete with here in Belgium… But worth a try if you ever want to make your own pasta while you’re in Italy.
In the meantime, she also explained to us how to make the perfect pizza dough. Because we had our own stone-built pizza oven at the house, this was worth a try. Overall, this was a full option cooking class.
The cooking class took about 3 hours to prepare everything. After the preparation, it took the chefs still an hour to prepare the last details for the feast. To clarify; were with a group of 20 people from whom only 6 or 7 people attended the workshop. As a result, they had to cook for everybody, because luckily for us (the non-attendees) the cooking workshop ended with a great dinner for every one of us. To be honest we forgot to take pictures when the food was ready… Maybe this shows how delicious it was because we couldn’t wait to get started.
In a nutshell, it was an unforgettable experience to learn how to prepare and enjoy a typical Italian meal, using fresh products picked right out of their own fields and gardens. We can definitely recommend attending a cooking workshop in Italy.
If you’re not interested in cooking yourself while in Tuscany, we can recommend ‘Mangia Fuoco’. This is without doubt the best restaurant we’ve ever been to. It’s located in the centre of Florence, and we actually discovered it by chance. We took our dinner in this restaurant after visiting Florence for a day. Although we’re really hungry, we left the restaurant satisfied and nearly in a food coma. The pasta was homemade, and as a frequent pasta eater, I can guarantee you: I’ve never eaten better pasta in my life than here. The T-bone steaks are huge and perfectly baked, right as it should be. And no, we do not have a partnership with this restaurant to drag more visitors, it’s just that good! 🙂
For more information about our trips to Italy, read our other blog posts.