Italian Cooking Classes in Venice
Learn how to cook your favorite Italian dishes with an Italian chef
private cooking classes 2 persons / 250 euros total
10.00 – 14.30 or 17.30 – 21.30
fish/meat/veg menu with Italian wine
Private cooking classes in Venice: I invite you at my Venice apartment. I organize cooking lessons in Venice for anyone interested in learning the basics of Italian cousine. My classes will be in English and a practical cooking experience. By the end of the course, you will be able to cook dishes like fresh home made pasta, lasagne, potato gnocchi, risotto, tiramisu. Previous experience is not required. My cooking classes will be held in my home, a typical Venetian house, which is mainly geared towards hospitality. The classes start at 10.00 a.m. or at 17.00 p.m. I explain the day’s menu and tell the history and tradition of the Italian dishes we will be making. Then we cook lunch and eat together. Good Italian wine is an essential item on my table.
What shall we cook?
During my cooking course in Venice, I’ll show you how to make classic Italian food using fresh, locally sourced ingredients bought from the Rialto market. We’ll prepare fish, meat or vegetarian menus, or special dishes for religious or dietary reasons. In each lesson, two recipes are prepared from a list of suggested dishes.
Lunch and dinner with some good Italian wine.
Italy has an incredible variety of wine. You’ll get the chance to try some typical local varieties such as Prosecco, Valpolicella, Recioto, Sauvignon, Tocai, Garganega, Moscato and Lugana as an accompaniment to the food we’ll cook. Learning to cook also means knowing how to choose the right wine. In Venice, for example, a “fish risotto” is accompanied by a Prosecco and “parmigiana” with the red Valpolicella.
The Mediterranean diet
My recipes use ingredients typical of the Mediterranean diet: extra virgin olive oil, fish rather than meat, seasonal vegetables bought at the local market, fresh homemade pasta, Italian rice and fresh or dried legumes ̶ nothing frozen! The eggs I buy are from shops supplied by small farms, the cheeses local varieties made from milk produced in the Italian Alps and the meat always ‘made in Italy’. I use salt sparingly and create flavour with a range of fresh herbs and spices. And I know the best places to buy wine.
Anyone interested in local cuisine can try out some traditional fish- or meat-based recipes. Many Venetian staples are low cost: risi e bisi (risotto with peas), sarde in saor (sardines marinated in onions and vinegar), seafood risotto (with mussels and scallops), baccalà mantecato (salted codfish cooked in milk), seppie con il nero (cuttlefish cooked in their ink), pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans), fegato alla veneziana (veal liver cooked with onions and served with polenta), artichoke hearts, bigoi in salsa (spaghetti with an anchovy and onion sauce). All these dishes are both delicious and easy to prepare but quite difficult to find in restaurants, where the focus is more international. Then there are sweet Venetian specialities: tiramisu, made with creamy mascarpone and cocoa; frittelle and galani (treats eaten during Carnevale); and zaeti – biscuits made with polenta flour. During my cooking classes in Venice I always offer to my guests some Venetian biscuits or pastries or cakes.
My kitchen is 12 m2 and is equipped with a large worktable, a gas oven and stovetop and basic utensils. None of my recipes requires special appliances or utensils (I do have a food processor but I never use it! I prefer to prepare everything by hand). I have a machine (manual Italian pasta machine by Imperia) for rolling pasta dough – a simple model you can buy anywhere, as well as a pasta cutter, a ravioli mould, a blender, stainless steel saucepans with thick bases and good kitchen knives.
We are lucky enough to have excellent fish all year round in Venice, fresh from the Venetian lagoon and the Adriatic Sea. Local clams and mussels are used to make risottos or spaghetti sauces all over Italy. Cuttlefish are typical of the Adriatic and are caught in the lagoon during the summer. Gilthead bream and seabass are so flavoursome, they can be cooked in the oven and served with just a drizzle of olive oil. In Venice, squid are deep fried with shrimp or baked in the oven with potatoes; mackerel – a highly nutritious blue fish – is cooked with garlic and vinegar (it’s impossible to describe the flavour ̶ you just have to try it!); tonno rosso is tuna stewed with tomatoes and peppers and eaten with fresh pasta; and sardines, caught in great quantities, are fried or baked in an onion and garlic marinade. During my cooking classes in Venice I always suggest to my guests to try fish risotto with Venetian clams and muscles.
Venice is not famous for its meat-based cuisine, but there is one recipe you must try: meatballs. Venetian meatballs, unlike those from other parts of Italy, are fried in oil. Made from minced beef and potatoes and with a distinctive squashed shape, they are so delicious you can never stop at one (especially when you’re in a bar with a group of friends drinking a glass of good wine). Another Venetian speciality is liver and onions, or fegato alla veneziana. This was once peasant food (offal was snubbed by the rich), but today it is extremely expensive. Served with polenta, it is easy to prepare and its distinctive flavour will appeal to people who like simple, traditional fare.
Seasonal vegetables from the island of Sant’Erasmo
Sant’Erasmo, an island located in the north of the Venetian Lagoon, is completely given over to agriculture: small family-run farms grow fruit and vegetables of the highest quality. The asparagus, artichokes, peas, aubergines, chicory and pumpkin grown on the island are sought after throughout Italy. The farmers of Sant’Erasmo (just over 30 families) sell their produce at the Rialto market. Venice offers something that’s impossible to find elsewhere in Italy and which any visitor to the city should try – fondi di carciofo (artichoke bases). After removing the artichoke head and stalk, and trimming all the leaves, what is left is a disc-shaped base. Artichoke bases are stored in water and lemon, and then stewed in a pan with garlic, olive oil and fresh parsley. They make an excellent risotto, too.
Cooking classes in Venice can start at Rialto market ( with an additional cost)
The Rialto is the heart of the city, and the Rialto market is a favourite place for locals. From Tuesday to Saturday (7.30 ̶ 12.00) there are stalls selling fish, fruit and vegetables. A vaporetto (waterbus) will drop you off at the Rialto Mercato stop, or you can take a gondola traghetto (the large gondolas used to ferry people across the Grand Canal) from Santa Sofia for €2. It’s not a large market, but in the same area you can find the best shops for cheese, meat and wine. The prices are good and the quality is always excellent. I know this area very well; it’s where I know shopkeepers who are always happy to give good advice. The Rialto area is also known for its wine bars, and is where Venetians meet for a spritz and a cicchetto (Venetian tapas). On Saturdays the market gets crowded, but it is calmer on other days. It’s always best to get there early. Rialto Market is my fovorite place where to buy all the ingredients for my cooking classes in Venice.
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