After Sorrento we headed up to Rome again as we had a cooking course booked. We also still wanted to see inside the colloseum and explore Rome’s night life.
We arrived at the City Camping Rome campsite in the early evening and faced with two teenage tours which had taken over the campsite bar and restaurant we decided to head into Rome and get some steak and cocktails.
Having been to the T-Bone station for burgers a few weeks earlier we decided to head there for our steak fix. We ordered the New York strip and were pretty disappointed as it was rather tough. Conclusion: Good for burgers not so good for steak.
The next day however promised to be a whole different culinary experience because we were going to learn how to cook a four course Italian meal. This did mean getting up very very early but we found a funky little cafe around the corner from the cooking course venue where we had a quick coffee and some pastries to perk us up. This was in the heart of Trastevere an old workers district that is now host to a large number of bars and restaurants. It really comes alive at night.
We had found the cooking class on tripadvisor and with some silly amount of 5 star reviews had high hopes for it.
The venue itself is a small unit which contains a long dining room with a table down the middle for about 12 people and a kitchen at the back. The dining room is decorated with photos of people who have done the cooking course and there are quite a few postcards and letters from people around the world.
It was a nice group with some Australians, Canadians and USAians. Everyone was really friendly and we exchanged travel stories while we got stuck into Andrea’s homemade jams.
The actually cooking lesson was great. The chef Andrea and his wife Erica are the stars of the show. They are so personable and make so much effort to get to know everyone and make sure that everyone is included.
Andrea first gave us a detailed breakdown of the ingredients we were going to cook with, they were piled high on the table in the kitchen and looked as fresh as if they had just been picked that morning. Andrea only cooks with seasonal ingredients that come from around Rome so you will get a different menu depending on the time of year you go.
Our menu consisted of:
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli in a tomato sauce
Chicken Cacciatore Roman Style
Peaches and Custard.
We then proceeded to work our way through the preparation and cooking of the different dishes. Andrea made sure that everyone got involved with every element and dish at some point. We blanched tomatoes, peeled potatoes, turned artichokes and even butchered a chicken.
I won’t give you any details of how to cook the dishes as I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun. But from making our own pasta and filling it through to making our own custard we were kept busy for hours.
As we reached the end of the cooking we sat down and Andrea and Erica then served us all of the food that we had cooked. Some of us had opted for the additional wine pairing and we got a local wine with every course along with some background information from Andrea. After dinner we had a lively discussion about the state of Italian politics which was fun.
Feeling very full Bron and I stumbled out of the course at the late hour of 3 in the afternoon and decided to hit the bars of Trastevere to soak up the atmosphere and let our food digest. We settled upon a small bar called Bar Calisto where self service and extremely cheap drinks were the order of the day as well as an assortment of weird and wonderful locals and tourists.
Overall a great day in a great city.