Thursday, April 23, 2015

TripREvisor....Cooking in Cortona

Recently several friends have asked me about cooking classes in Tuscany ......
this blog is for you! You can Google Alessandra Federici's Cucina Cooking School
 and read all her praises on TripAdvisor, Slow Travel, and even You Tube!

Or follow me through a day of cooking with Alessandra....
First you must understand that this is a "real life" cooking class in Alessandra's family kitchen, in her home in the foothills of Cortona, Italy.  

She will meet your group in the main square in Cortona 
(a special Tuscan hillside village you will need another day to explore!) 
for a quick coffee and a look at your menu for the day. 
Alessandra is a big personality, with an engaging laugh, hilarious stories,
high energy and she is the most genuine host. 
You will feel like you have known her your whole life!
Did I mention - she is a fabulous, authentic, Italian cook!   

From there you will visit the butcher, the farmers market, maybe the 
wine store!
Your cars stay parked in Cortona and Alessandra drives you 
down the winding paths/roads to her farmhouse below.  
Usually this includes a side trip to her brother's for olive oil 
and the neighbor's chicken house 
for fresh eggs and herbs - 
ask her about the "bunnies" and make sure "rabbit" is not on the menu! 

Everyone gets an apron and everyone cooks....
When we were there in June the Electric Company was working on some lines and cut the power!
No lights, no oven!
Alessandra is big on making due with what you have. 
She stresses cooking with what is in season, what looks good in the market that day.
The roast she was planning was scratched from the menu
but our meal was fantastic! 
Don't forget to bring your appetite.....
This was my antipasto plate......

Tagliatelle alragu di Fungi can be cooked on a gas range! 



I really hope you will give her a call the next time you 
plan a trip to Italy.  It will be the highlight of your holiday! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

TripREvisor - Camogli was a mistake!

                    But it was the best 'Travel' mistake we have ever made!

Planning a trip can always be a challenge, especially in another country.
  I always start on-line, checking out travel sites and travel blogs, 
then I reach out to friends who may have vacationed in that spot for hotel and 
restaurant recommendations.  
Our trip.....Cinque Terre, the five villages on the upper Western shore of Italy!

With our friends Tim and Sandra, we planned to hike, explore, take the train, eat fresh seafood, 
and of course, sample the local wine.
This Hotel came highly recommended from friends and the reviews sounded perfect! 


(Which could, TO SOMEONE NOT PAYING ATTENTION, be confused with the middle village in the Cinque Terre known as Corniglia)
Que Sera Sera! Whatever will be, will be!
As it turned out Camogli was the perfect spot for us to explore the Cinque Terre by train, 
out of the busy touristy towns,
and return every afternoon for a refresher in one of the family friendly piazzas .
We witnessed the most incredible sunsets
before enjoying the catch of the day at a different restaurant every night 
and strolling down the boardwalk back to our hotel for a nightcap! 

Buona sera Tim and Sandra!
***More on the Cinque Terre to come!