“Delizioso!” was all I could think of as I sat down around the large dining room table with my new friends and took my first bite of a pasta that I actually made. I have heard others say they enjoyed taking a cooking class while they were in Italy, so I thought I should look into it.
And I’m so glad I did.
Here’s why you should take a cooking class on your next trip to Rome.
My experience with Walks of Italy was the best part of my trip, hands down! We had two professional chefs teaching us not only how to make two types of pasta and two sauces, but a lot of the history behind classic Italian dishes.
Fun Fact: There are over 1,200 types of pasta noodles!
We met in Campo de Fiori, a charming square in Rome, and then walked five minutes to the company-owned apartment where we would be cooking. The class was taught on the rooftop which was so unique! Because it was chilly there were heaters and we were all comfortable.
While we cooked we enjoyed Prosecco, a bubbly Italian white wine, as well as appetizers. We had two types of pizzas, a mozzarella and tomato starter, and my personal favorite, salami with olives.
We started by creating the dough for our noodles. We took flour and created a “Colosseum” with it, dropping eggs into the center. Then we began to mix it all together and knead the dough. Then the fun part began!
There is a dough flattening machine we used to spread it thin enough for the noodles. It was great fun to make boomerangs for Instagram rolling out the dough.
Once the dough was prepared, we stamped out ravioli squares and filled them. The fettuccini noodles were even more fun because we used a pasta-guitar and pressed the dough into the strings. To cut the noodles we gave it a once-over like you would strum a guitar, and the noodles popped off!
Next step is to prepare sauce for the noodles. We made a meat sauce and a vegetarian sauce. This was a little less interactive because one person could volunteer to man the station while the rest of us watched and learned about each ingredient.
Fun Fact: Because tomatoes originated in South America, traditional Italian sauces did not include them until the late 1700’s! Instead they were usually an Alfredo sauce, but it did not include milk or cream. Instead it’s cheese melted down to top your pasta.
Even still, both of our sauces were delicious.
Once everything cooked we sat down to enjoy dinner. This time we had Chianti wine to enjoy with our food.
Doesn’t that look amazing? I was so proud of myself! However, while making the pasta was fun and something I had never done before, it was the people in the class with us who made the experience so enjoyable. We met people living all around the world!
Of course our chefs were from Italy, but there were other people from America including California, North Dakota and North Carolina, but there was a couple from Scotland, a couple from Saudi Arabia and an American family living in Dubai. Everyone at the dinner had lived such different lives, so we were able to swap stories and share experiences. We even discussed politics in an open environment, with everyone coming from a place of wanting to learn about other cultures rather than debate political views.
I took the class to celebrate my last night in Rome, but after this experience I’d suggest taking it earlier in the trip. Everyone was giving suggestions on things to do, places to go and food and drinks to try. I wasn’t able to explore all of their suggestions because I had to board a plane the next day, although now I have ideas for the next time I find myself in Rome!
Between the good food, incredible chefs and unique people you meet, this is easily the best four hours you could spend in Italy. I couldn’t believe it when we were laughing and enjoying dinner and all of a sudden in was 10:30. While I may never cross paths with these friends again, I will always remember the experience and the things I learned along the way.