If you get to Siena, Italy, you really must take time to visit celebrity chef Gina Stipo at Ecco La Cucina cooking school! Gina is an absolutely delightful person who has a passion for good, authentic Italian cuisine, and the 900 year-old mill where she holds her classes is lovely. I was there on business with QueensLander Tours Small Group Tours to Italy, but anyone can enjoy this experience!
Whether you’re with a group or just on your own, Gina will make your cooking lesson an experience to remember. First, you do the shopping with her at one of the local markets, then she’ll take you through all the steps to making authentic Italian pasta by hand, or whatever you personally want to learn to prepare. But be assured, the food and the methods used will be authentic to the cuisine of Tuscany! Once you’re done with the preparation, you set the table together and enjoy your handiwork by a centuries-old fireplace with a great selection of wines to accompany your meal.
Take a little time as well to walk around the grounds of the old mill and appreciate the surrounding countryside. Soak up the bucolic feel of this beautiful spot.
Also, Gina has a lot of connections in the area with local artisans who use authentic methods to make goat cheese, olive oil, and proscuitto. With any luck, you may be able to get her to take you to visit some of these other locals, especially if their artisan products factor heavily in the recipes you'll be making.
Of course, there is a fee for taking these classes, so you'll want to arrange your visit well in advance. See the Ecco La Cucina website for details: http://www.eccolacucina.com/
All I can tell you is you have to experience a visit with Gina yourself! It’s definitely something to experience with a best friend or a group of friends, and you won’t be disappointed, I assure.
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