Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are my own. This was self-sponsored and not sponsored by anyone.
Maybe it’s just me, but I noticed how oversaturated the cooking lesson business in Italy is. Too many to choose from! And the cuisine varies from region to region. Sapori e Saperi, in my opinion, was worth every nickel and dime. (Lesson was done in May 2017.)
Our chef’s name was Gabriella. She is Italian and has lived all her life in Italy.
Location: Near Viareggio in the Tuscany region
Duration: About 6 hours
Start time: 9 AM
We first met up at the pier. Spent approximately 20 minutes there. Gabrielle brought some freshly caught seafood from the vendors, showed us some of the sea creatures for sale, and we got to see a fisherman’s boat used to catch prawns.
A list of fresh seafood items purchased while at the pier:
- Mantis shrimp
- Sea snails
- Cuttle fish
- Small local fish (uncertain what the name is)
- Grey mullet fish
Besides the chef and the owner of Sapori e Saperi, there were two other ladies who registered for this lesson.
The cooking lesson was somewhat hands-on. Gabrielle did the majority of the cooking while we assisted with the preparation.
What did I learn?
- How to clean the mussels with a stainless steel sponge, which is used to scrub off as much algae (beard) from the outer shell
- How to cook sea snails
- How to use alcohol when cooking seafood
- How to cook eel
- How to fillet a fish (still can’t do it)
- Italians use dried pasta for seafood and not fresh pasta
- Ricotta is from sheep’s milk whey (tasted completely different from American ricotta cheese)
- Smell and listen while cooking
- Need to add a chef’s knife to my kitchen utensils
What we ate
Antipasti (appetizer): marinated eels, stuffed mussels, sea snails, broiled prawns, white bread
The snails were nothing special. Just something to munch on.
The stuffed mussels were good. Not amazing, but I wouldn’t mind eating it again. Just needs more flavor.
The prawns were DELICIOUS! Had a sweet taste.
Loved the eels! This is the #1 thing I enjoyed the most. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was blown away.
Primi (first course): spaghetti with mantis shrimp
Very tasty that I had a second plate.
Secondi (second course): seafood stew (mussels, cuttlefish, prawns, fish) with salad (homegrown lettuce with a pinch of salt and homemade olive oil)
This was my least favorite dish. I couldn’t stand the cuttlefish. It’s tougher to chew and taste odd. The salad needed more ingredients to conceal the bitterness. The added salt was absurd.
Dolce (dessert): strawberry sauce with ricotta and cream
Loved this! So simple and yet delicious. Not too sweet. I wish there were extras.
Beverages: homemade limoncello (see photo below), Pecorino terre di chieti
The Limoncello isn’t too sweet. It’s quite strong.
Pecorino terre di chieti is a white wine. Somewhat dry, but not too bad.
I definitely enjoyed this lesson. It was one of my top highlights to Italy. Felt welcomed even though I was the youngest and an amateur cook.
HOW TO BOOK
Interested in doing this class or signing up for a cooking class? Visit Sapori e Saperi.