Cooking class at La Chiusa Agriturismo in Umbertide, in the region of Umbria, Italy.
For the first time, I scheduled a cooking class in 2016 for my Italy Retreat For Women. We had so much fun making everything organic–hand-rolled tortellini (belly-button shaped filled pasta), pan-roasted chicken and veggies, chard, chick pea, cuppa di ceci, and fig cake torta di fichi. Some of this was organically grown on the property, and some we purchased that morning in the open-air market.
As you probably know, Italy is known for its exquisite and simple cuisine. Walking through the city streets or small villages, the air is often filled with the delicious fragrances of tomatoes and garlic, and pizza. The country is rich with fine art, and there always seems to be surprises in every corner of Italy–from festivals celebrating the wine harvest to anchovy and chestnut sagras.
In the quiet countryside outside Umbertide, we spent a joyful day, chopping and mixing ingredients for our lunch, and picking figs outside the kitchen window with Masha Rener at her organic La Chiusa Agriturismo. She has been running the restaurant and agriturismo for eight years, allowing her parents to retire. Her mother, Dada Rener, was a cooking master for four years on the Italian TV-show, La Prova Del Cuoco, so she is well-trained.
In this video, Masha rolls the tortellini dough that is green from spinach, making it look so easy, while explaining how to cook the chicken, with very little oil in a hot frying pan. (If you are unable to open the video, please view on my youtube channel.
After a morning in the kitchen, we walk outside to pick vine-ripened figs for our fig cake. Even now in the middle of an Iowa winter, I can still smell their sweetness.
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