Couples who contact us to plan a destination wedding in Italy are always very passionate about everything Italy has to offer: this means not only the stunning locations and the works of art and architecture but also the delicious Italian food in its infinite variety.
When the bridal couple asks us to organize some extra activities for them and their guests, one of the possibilities we suggest is to arrange a cooking class to discover Italian traditional recipes.
This is one of the cooking classes we organize for our Italian weddings: this was the wedding in Florence of a couple from Russia: Yuri and Yana. The cooking teacher was the executive chef of Villa Mangiacane, a magnificent 15th-century villa located in the countryside near Florence, in the heart of the winemaking region of Chianti. We had planned this course only for ladies, but on that day also the groom and other gentlemen decided to join them. This is the bride getting ready for the lesson. The course took place in the old kitchen of the villa, near the ancient fireplace. Notice the stone walls, the ceiling with wooden beams and the wrought iron accessories. It is a privilege to have access to a place so full of history and traditions.
The first recipe was homemade ravioli filled with fresh spinach and ricotta cheese. The ingredients were already prepared on the kitchen table: flour, eggs and locally grown spinach.
The first step involves mixing flour and eggs for the dough. The dough is set aside for a while. Then the dough was is and stretched to a thin layer, obtaining a very long strip. The apprentice cooks had a lot of fun! Spoonfuls of the filling prepared with ricotta and spinach are distributed on the dough and covered with another dough layer. The ravioli are obtained by cutting the filled dough in circles and folding these circles in half. Then the chef and his helpers started cooking the delicious Tuscan dish called “pappa al pomodoro”: this thick soup is prepared with fresh tomatoes, bread, olive oil and other fresh ingredients that may vary in the different areas of Tuscany.
In the past, this was a way for poor families to recycle leftover bread, and it has kept its popularity because it is a simple and tasty dish that can be served hot, room temperature, or chilled. The hard work was followed by a well-deserved lunch, when the guests could finally taste the dishes they had prepared. This hands-on approach to Italian cuisine is a wonderful way to explore Italian culture and traditions. At the end of the course, the participants received a certificate for having successfully completed the cooking class at Villa Mangiacane. I think this was a funny way to learn how to cook the Italian way! Italian cuisine includes countless local traditions and recipes, and often the same recipe varies from town to town or even from village to village, each with its own individual personality. Also, ingredients are different for each region: did you know that Italy produces more than 300 tomato varieties and 400 types of cheese? Mozzarella, burrata, Parmigiano Reggiano, gorgonzola, pecorino are renowned worldwide, but there is a lot more to discover!
Each region of Italy has its local traditions, part of its culture and deeply rooted in history, this is why we recommend cooking classes for those guests who are eager to know something more about Italy and its cuisine. Other possibilities to explore Italian gastronomy are wine tastings or visits to local producers of olive oil, limoncello, mozzarella…
If you wish to arrange this kind of activity for you and your wedding guests get in touch today through our contact form and we will send you more information per email.
Image Credits: Gianni Di Natale ©.