While we were in Italy we tried to find the most thoughtful, bomb-diggity presents to bring home to friends and family, but we quickly realized that we aren’t millionaires and 99.9% of stuff is pure JUNK (and even the junk is insanely expensive!). No matter what awesome place we seem to visit, the cheesy, unnecessary trinkets are just not our bag. Especially the Penis Pasta that was at every single shop in Italy strictly for tourists.
We realized what we wanted to share most with our people was the delicious food we were binging on, so we decided that when we got home we would cook a feast of authentic Italian food that we learned to make at an 8 hour cooking class we took in the hills of Positano at a restaurant called Il Ritrovo!
The cooking class was supposed to be 3 to 4 hours, but in classic Italian style, it ended up going for 8 hours. In a country where the slow food movement was born, they don’t rush the beautiful things. We cooked for 5 hours and ate for 3. Here are some snaps from our authentic lesson in homemade pasta from the wonderful miss Mary Lou (the small but wise Italian woman in the fourth photo just absolutely schooling Chris in ravioli making):
And here is the photo proof that we really did put our skills to good use back in Canada for our loved-ones, and a few Italian secrets we learned as well!
• Homemade ravioli: ITALIAN SECRET: USE SEMOLINA FLOUR (about a quarter of your total flour) so your pasta will hold it’s shape.
• Bolognese sauce: ITALIAN SECRET: PORK and WHITE WINE! A bolognese has to have pork (pancetta) and white wine in it, otherwise it’s just an old boring ragu sauce.
• Booze: We also did manage to smuggle home different kinds of booze that were all out of this world and held special meaning to us. A limoncello from a Cardinal (that is a whole other story and blog post), a special Sciacchetrà from Cinque Terre, a white wine from Cheo winery in Vernazza, and two beautiful bottles of wine from “our castle” in Tuscany: Castello di Potentino.
VERDICT: A taste of Italy was a far more memorable, appreciated present than any vespa magnet, venetian mask, or boot-shaped bottle of olive oil ever could be.