Dolly Goes to an Italian Cooking School

Author: , October 13th, 2014

Italian Cooking Class - Dolly GoolsbyGood morning,

I am so enjoying this southern Italy city of Sorrento. The food is so fresh and wonderful. I decided it would be a good thing for me to learn to cook like the people do here. There are many schools, and deciding which one to attend was not an easy task. I finally went to the information center in town, and they found a place for me for the following day.

As with many things in Italy, I came out of the information center with just a promise that someone would pick me up at my hotel the next morning and take me to the class. I did not even know the name of the school, but is did know how much it was cost, and the price was reasonable.

Sure enough, Friday morning, almost on time, this young man drove up to the hotel to get me. He had 2 others people in the car already, so we set off for the class. (Actually, the drive there was so entertaining, that it is worth a blog post on its own.)

Twenty minutes later we arrived at Villa Pane. This is a lovely villa up in the hills above Sorrento. Two other students were already there, ready to go to work. They got a head start on prep work, as they were staying at the villa, which is also a B&B.

We were greeted by Anna Marie, owner of the villa and a wonderful cook. She told us she is not a professional chef, but she grew up in the area, and is still using recipes that were used by her mother, mother-in-law, grandmother. She is also the mother of the two young men who were helping her. One of them had been our driver. I am so sorry I did not get their names. We were told by Anna Marie what dishes we would be preparing that day. Then we started.

I was so impressed with her kitchen. I was envious. She told us it took years and years to finally get the kitchen she wanted, as she could only do some of the remodel. Then wait to have more money to do more. I love the copper pots and bakeware. Most of them were very old, but she uses them all the time.

The family has a garden area, or two or three, I suppose. The basil came from the herb garden, there was another area where the tomatoes grew..in fact, all the fresh vegetables we used came from their organic garden, even the potatoes for the gnocchi and croquettes.

Kevin, starting the bread making process. The flour is weighed, not measured with a cup. We used semolina flour for the bread and the gnocchi. The semolina was very finely ground, much like “00” wheat flour, but Anna Marie told us that semolina, although technically a wheat product, is ground from a very hard type of wheat. She also said many people with gluten intolerance can have semolina without having any problems.

I was in heaven, as I got to mix the potatoes, eggs, salt into the semolina with my hands until it was the right consistency. I hadn’t got to cook anything all week, so I was ready for some hands-on cooking experiences.

Everyone had made their own rolls, so it was interesting to see the difference in shapes. The bread has olives and sun dried tomatoes inside.

Finally, all was finished, and we sat at a long table on the terrace to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

What a lovely day. We finished our meal with the chocolate cake and coffee. By the time I got back to the hotel, I was stuffed and needed a nap, but the espresso had me wired, so I just relaxed.

I received my Italian culinary diploma. So now I am “authorized” to cook typical Campania type food. When would you like to come over for dinner?

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Campania Gay Travel Resources