Italian food & cuisine is world renowned but did you know Italian food varies by region? An Italian cooking masterclass in Maccagno, Lake Maggiore gave me insight about how Italian dishes vary from the North to South. Find out how to cook some simple authentic dishes commonly cooked in the Italian Riviera in my latest post.
An Italian Cooking Masterclass in Maccagno with a Professional Chef
It’s not every day you have a professional chef knock at the door with armfuls of ingredients ready to cook some well-known Italian dishes.
But, during my stay at the Golfo Gabella Lake Resort, I experienced just that and, it wasn’t the first time this has happened either. Italian food masterclasses are just one of the many bespoke experiences offered by Italian Villa Specialists Bookings For You and it’s such experiences that set them apart from other villa companies. #NotJustAVilla is a not just a hashtag used by the brand, it’s part and parcel of the way Bookings For You immerse themselves in Italian culture with a passion to truly give their guests a sense of authentic Italy.
Such experiences have enabled me to learn about Orecchiette ‘little ears’ pasta, visit local masserias (working farms) in Puglia and taste the difference between authentic Italian olive oil and the not-so-authentic oil commonly sold in the U.K.
I was feeling tired on my arrival to Lake Maggiore, following a late night and early arrival at the airport. In light of this, a hearty Italian meal couldn’t come soon enough. After a quick forty winks, Adam and I got our glad-rags on to meet Charl & Violet (the other bloggers staying at the resort).
We were joined by Alessio who owns Osteria D’Alberto, an intimate restaurant located in the mountains nearby. Alessio enthused as he talked us through the ingredients he had brought with him and the dishes he planned to cook. With wide hungry eyes, I couldn’t help but be swept up in Alessio’s excitement.
When you think of Italian food, typical Italian dishes such as pizza and pasta spring to mind, but there’s much more to it than meets the eye. Food in Italy varies by region and can actually be quite diverse, particularly in the South compared to the North.
In Southern Italy, you can expect to see lighter pasta dishes which include seafood and lashings of olive oil from the thousands of olive trees that grow in the Southern regions. Antipasti dishes with an assortment of local cheeses and tomato-topped bruschetta are firm favourites.
In Northern Italy, you can expect to try heartwarming Italian dishes, influenced by the colder climate and European Countries on the border such as Switzerland, France and Austria. Braised meats cooked in stew dishes and rich cheeses such as Grana Padano and Gorgonzola are popular thanks to the vast landscape creating an excellent breeding and grazing area for cattle. I just wish Adam loved Gorgonzola cheese as much as I do…
When it comes to Northern Italy, the food is heavier, richer and fulfilling – the kind of food types I crave as soon as the colder autumn nights draw in. Before you ask, recipes will be included on this post!
The gnocci ragu was my favourite of the evening and is a really heartwarming autumn/winter dish.
It just so happens today (the day of posting) is #WorldPastaDay and just like Sophia Loren “I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0.”
The work of a chef is never done. After cooking our delightful meal, Alessio was stopping by his restaurant Osteria D’Alberto to check in with his team. One of the main things that shine through for me is the togetherness element of Italian cooking; from the team spirit to the importance it has on family life.
Alessio not only attributes his commitment and dedication to the love of the job but also the benefits it will have for his family. His wife is expecting his first child (a baby girl) in the next couple weeks.
I only wish Adam has picked up enough tips from Alessio in his Sous-Chef duties; having dinner cooked by a professional chef is a luxury I could get accustomed to!
Thanks again to Bookings For You for arranging this Italian cooking experience and to Alessio for all his wisdom and cooking us such a wonderful meal. I hope your daughter enjoys your culinary creations (in due course) as much as we do!
Ready to cook up some Italian Cuisines – click here for recipes gnocchi al ragu and Italian tiramisu
What are your Italian foodie favourites? Let me know below!
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*Bookings For You kindly arranged our Italian Cooking Class as part of a press trip to Lake Maggiore. All thoughts, photos and love for Italian food are my own.*