Growing up in an Italian family cooking and eating has always been an integral part of our culture. Sunday lunch at my parents has always been something not to be missed, a time to get together and share the weeks triumphs and challenges, eat a big meal and take a few minutes to slow down and enjoy life.
Over the years my mother has taught me to cook many Italian meals and I have grown an appreciate for Sicilian recipes and food from that area. My father has had a backyard garden which I was embarrassed by as a teen and now appreciate the organic tomatoes, eggplants, fresh herbs and lettuce that he lovingly grows and takes care of until harvest time.
Growing up with this appreciation of food, on my bucket list has always been to take a cooking class in a foreign country. So of course I had to make this happen on our most recent trip to Italy. While in Venice we took a Pasta, Pasta, Pasta cooking class at the Sapori Cooking Academy located in the JW Mariott Venice. The resident and local Chef Micki taught us the essentials to pasta and sauce making. We used fresh organic ingredients to make a trio of totelli (with ricotta cheese & spinach, avocado cream and beetroot sauce), a tomato, strawberry and basil gazpacho and of course a traditional tomato sauce. The children had an opportunity to make fresh fettuccine noodles (while enjoying a friendly flour fight with the Chef) and participate as we created a fabulous meal together. At the end of our lesson, all the newly minted chefs sat around the kitchen table and enjoyed the fruits of our labour.
Now when I ask my children about the highlights of our most recent trip, they both include this class in their top 3 memories. They enjoyed it so much that the day after our arrival back in Toronto they asked us to make “Chef Micki’s Tomato Sauce.” (shh, don’t tell Nonna Pina as she may have just been over thrown as the master tomato sauce maker).
If you also have a passion for cooking or baking and want to learn while travelling in a different country, check out my sister company Foodie-Trips.com that takes culinary adventures abroad. We currently have 2 trips scheduled for 2017, one in Paris, France and one in Italy’s Tuscany Region.
Happy Travels (and Happy Eating),