Article Italian Travel Workshop

Cooking in Italy w/ Chiara from BonAppetour

June 11, 2017

I firmly believe that food is the window to another world, to a different culture, to history and to the way communities function and live. Whenever I travel, I try to visit the local markets – it gives me an idea of the product, of the cooking tools and even the dishes that people from the culture I visit use. This time, during my brief trip to Italy, I went a step further and signed up for a local cooking class in Milan. After much research, I came across BonAppetour, a website that curates cooking classes in various European cities including Rome, Paris and Milan. Going through the options, I finally decided on joining Chiara and Gigio’s Pica Dell Isola.

Milano Centrale

 

Window to Milano

It was a bright, hot Sunday morning when I arrived at Milano Centrale Station from Bergamo – after depositing my bags at my hotel, I proceeded to check out the much talked about Duomo – the Milan Cathedral. Gothic architecture defines this cathedral – altogether awe-inspiring and horrifying. Close up, the intricate work and sculptures are simply gorgeous.  But the upcoming Cycling Tour that day ensured that the place was crowded and buzzing with activity. Nevertheless, I didnt have time to check the interiors since I had to rush for my cooking class.

Duomo Milano

Cooking with Chiara

After reaching Isola – the location that Chiara had emailed me and also mentioned on the website (your own data is such a blessing abroad!) – thanks to Google Maps, I found myself facing a woman probably my age looking for me. It was Chiara – and instantly she burst into a smile and chattered non-stop as we made our way into her Art Nouveau building and home. She introduced me to her dog Lucky and eventually after chatting about Dubai and my Italy travels, we proceeded with the class – and yes, it was a one-on-one.

What instantly struck me about Chiara was her warmth and ease with which she spoke to me about food, her passion for it. She is a chef by profession but stopped working in a professional kitchen to do workshops and cooking classes and follow her passion. She handed me a few sheets of paper in which she had painstakingly typed out recipes with cherished tips and tricks. I’ll let the photos and captions below do the talking.

We started with the Tiramisu and went on to the various other dishes according to the priority of each task. As Chiara took me through the recipes and tasks, we spoke about Italy, Milanese food, Indian food (which she loves) and her classes and workshops.

MENU

Fresh handmade Ravioli with spinach & ricotta cheese

Homemade Pesto sauce

Homemade besciamella (Beschamel) sauce

Fresh handmade lasagna

Tiramisù

 

Lemon zest for Pastry Cream for the Tiramisu

 

Whisking eggs and sugar for the pastry cream

 

The traditional Italian Espresso filter

 

Soaking lady fingers in the bittersweet espresso liquid

Preps for a classic Italian pesto – this went into the Beschamel for the lasagne!

 

Prepared pesto!

 

Chiara demonstrating pasta making

 

Mixing the eggs with the flour

 

Drawing in the flour with the yolks

 

Bechamel with pesto – a potent combination!

 

Pasta prep for lasagne and ravioli

 

Filling the pasta for ravioli – with spinach and ricotta

 

My almost square ravioli

 

What an experience rolling out the pasta and watching it transform

 

Placing the square ravioli in the flour

 

Ravioli tossed in butter and sage! Buonissimo

 

Such a pretty table setting!

 

Comfort food! Pesto Lasagna!

 

Hands down, the best Tiramisu I’ve ever had!

Overall, my experience was definitely a highlight of my trip! I didn’t enjoy Milan much, but this class was worth it all! Looking forward to my next cooking adventure!

Note: I really liked the service by Bonappetour – Jessica from the customer service division was kind enough to suggest options according to my dates and requirements and was prompt and quick in responding to me.

 

 

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3 Comments

  • Reply Shweta Ghayal June 12, 2017 at 11:43

    I LOVE THIS!!! I made tiramisu with ladyfingers from scratch before a few weeks for a friend’s party. Ended up pouring a lot more rum than needed 😛 ! I would love to learn.. looking forward to the recipe.. please do share it whenever you get a chance… beautifully narrated experience 🙂 xx!

  • Reply Fatema June 12, 2017 at 12:08

    So I finally get to see the pictures of your wonderful Italian homemade meal!! Everything looks so fabulously delectable and beautiful at the same time. I have never heard of this pesto lasagna, always one with the meat sauce. You have to make it now for me!! 😀 anyways your experience sounds enriching and fantastic!! May you have many many more!! :*

  • Reply Chiara June 12, 2017 at 13:11

    Thank you dear Shanty!your post touched me: we spent a real amazing time together! See you soon!!!

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