Maybe it’s just me, but I noticed how oversaturated the cooking class business in Italy is. Too many to choose from depending on what you’re looking. And the cuisine varies from region to region.
I wanted a culinary experience that was true to my stance on food. How food is produced affects its quality and it matters. We all deserve to eat good, high-quality food.
In my opinion, Sapori e Saperi was worth every nickel and dime. They believe in connecting people with artisanal food producers (farm-to-table), which I find to be better and more interesting.
Disclaimer: This was self-sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Our chef’s name was Gabriella. She is Italian and has lived all her life in Italy. She does private catering.
Class Location: Gabriella’s house (near Viareggio in the Tuscany region)
Class Date: May 2017
Price: 155 euros
Duration: Approximately 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 (not sure 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 class. They are Chinese based in Canada and had other activities planned with Sapori e Saperi outside of this cooking class.
The class was somewhat hands-on. Gabrielle did the majority of the cooking while we assisted with the preparation.
WHAT WE COOKED
Appetizer: marinated eels, stuffed mussels, sea snails, broiled prawns, and a slice of 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. Needed more flavor.
The prawns were DELICIOUS! Had a sweet taste.
Loved the eels! This was the #1 thing I enjoyed the most. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was blown away.
First course: spaghetti with mantis shrimp
This dish was so tasty that I had a second plate!
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 course. It was my first introduction to cuttlefish and I couldn’t stand it. It’s tougher to chew and taste odd.
Gabrielle grows the lettuce in her backyard. The salad needed more ingredients to conceal the bitterness. The added salt was absurd.
Dessert: strawberry sauce with ricotta and cream
Loved this! So simple and yet delicious. I could eat all 4 bowls!
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, this isn’t too sweet.
Homemade limoncello, Pecorino terre di chieti
The Limoncello isn’t too sweet, but it’s quite strong.
Pecorino terre di chieti is a white wine. Somewhat dry, but not too bad. Bear in mind that I only like sweet wine.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE COOKING CLASS
- 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
- Italians use dried pasta for seafood and not fresh pasta
- Ricotta is from sheep’s milk whey (taste completely different from American ricotta cheese)
- Smell and listen while cooking
- Will need to add a chef’s knife to my kitchen utensils
I definitely enjoyed this class. It was one of my top highlights to Italy. Felt welcomed even though I was the youngest and an amateur cook.
Sapori e Saperi will give you an apron and a copy of the recipes during class. Since the class, I’ve been able to re-make the dessert using Italian ricotta from a Italian born-and-bred producer in Houston. It was just as delicious!
An area of improvement would be for this class to be more hands-on. There was only one stovetop and one big counter. Also, Gabriella doesn’t speak English so you’ll have to depend on the owner of Sapori e Saperi, who translated for all of us.
I chose Sapori e Saperi because they partner with local, small business owners who believe in the Slow Food movement. They offer a variety of small group and private tours and classes on gelato, olive oil, salumi, italian cheese, and more. Highly recommend Sapori e Saperi!
HOW TO BOOK
Interested in doing this class in Tuscany or signing up for a different class? Click here.