Learning to cook in Florence – Jane from NotInTheGuideBooksshares her experience…
At GoLearnTo, we aim to visit as many of our learning holidays worldwide personally to ensure they are as fabulous in the flesh as on our website. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it! And this summer was no exception, as we sent NotInTheGuideBooksstaff member Jane to our luxury cookery school in Florence to sample the 1 day Italian Immersion Cooking Class. Read what she had to say about her experience here…
What makes this cookery school so special?
It’s grandeur! The cookery school is set in a stunning 12th century villa surrounded by their own fragrant olive groves and vast vineyards and large swimming pool at the top of the hill with spectacular views. Our host June took us on a tour of the estate and talked about the fascinating history of the villas through the centuries, including how aristocrats such as Napoleon Bonaparte had once been guests there. The sense of grandeur was overwhelming and I was fascinated by the ornate frescos, oil paintings and wall hangings decorating the walls and ceilings, similar to a majestic palace (and of course the huge wine cellar complete with large oak barrels!)
What was the chef like?
Our chef for the day was Italian stallion Fabrizo, who made the lessons a lot of fun and his passion for Italian food with infectious. We learnt to cook a delicious 5 course Italian menu using the freshest local produce and chef Fabrizo taught us many tricks of the trade passed down through generations and tips he has learnt from working in many Italian restaurants. We spent the lesson in hysterics at Fabrizo’s jokes and English impressions!
What did you cook?
- Artichoke salad
- Ricotta and spinach ravioli with butter and sage
- Potato gnocchi with basil pesto
- Veal rolls cooked in milk
- Zucchini flan
- Pannacotta with strawberry sauce
What was your favourite dish?
I’d been most looking forward to learning to make traditional Italian pasta from scratch, and I was not disappointed! We learnt to make spinach and ricotta ravioli with a fresh basil pesto sauce and chef Fabrizo took no time at all to demonstrate how to create beautifully crafted parcels before we had a go (ours did not look quite so perfect, but tasted just as delicious!)
What was the highlight of the day?
Eating so many delicious and fresh Italian dishes. When we finished cooking, we all sat down at the large oak table to taste our delicious 5 course meal accompanied by free flowing local wines. Not only were our dishes sublime, it was also a great opportunity to get to know our fellow guests and hosts June and Elizabeth. And after 5 delicious courses washed down with a freshly made espresso, I was in desperate need of a bit of gentle exercise so we set off to explore the spectacular grounds!
Would you recommend this cookery course?
I can’t recommend my experience with June, Elizabeth and chef Fabrizo enough – not only did I learn to cook delicious Italian recipes, meet some great people and explore a beautiful secluded region of Florence, I have also been putting my Tuscan cookery book to good use and recreating the recipes for my friends back home so I don’t forget my newfound skills! A pasta making machine is first on my list this Christmas…