The first stop on my upcoming trip to Italy will be Assisi, a gorgeous town, and my first full day there will actually be spent in the hills above Assisi in a cooking class Alla Madonna del Piatto.
I can't wait! I took a similar class from Letizia last year at her agriturismo, Alla Madonna del Piatto, and it was a perfect mix of fun and fact (with some food, wine, and limoncello added for good measure!)
I borrowed the photos above from Letizia's website, the second shows the fantastic view from her patio where we ate under the afternoon sun last year. It's the perfect setting, and I think I enjoyed just relaxing at her beautiful place almost as much as I savoured the food.
We began last year's class by all meeting at a fantastic food shop where Letizia carefully explained to the group how to differentiate between various grades of olive oil and balsamic vinegar; discussed different types of cheese and meat specific to Umbria; and allowed us to pick out some that we'd like to try with lunch. (We did not shop on this particular street, shown above, but I saw the photo on Bella Umbria and thought it looked cool.)
It was an interesting group that I met last year: a wonderful young woman from Australia who, with her boyfriend, was staying at Letizia's agriturismo and a couple from Washington with triplets, 10-year-old girls. Once they got over their shyness, they had a fabulous time!
We learned to make pasta and prepared ravioli with swiss chard (it was so good!!) followed by pana cotta. The latter has become my speciality; it's a wonderful dessert which can be changed with different toppings. I don't make my own pasta as much as I'd like, but it was so interesting to try.
This year, I believe we'll be meeting in a different shop and discussing specialty coffees and sweets before returning to cook lasagne from Letizia's family recipe. I'm hungry already!
That'll be my first day in Assisi. The day after, I hope to devote to the wonderful Basilica di San Francesco and fantastic frescos such as this one: Giotto's allegory of the mystic marriage between St. Francis and poverty. Better him than me!