Italian cooking is hard work, unless you have the patience, dedication, and utensils of a real Italian nonna. While you'd be sorely tempted to just head over to one of Colombo's top Italian restaurants, there's immense satisfaction in making your own meal from scratch.
We tried that with Valentina's Amore Italiano cooking class last Sunday, and had a genuinely superb time.
We found out about Valentina via some dedicated Googling, and stumbled across her blog. A few short emails away, and we'd locked down a booking. She only takes classes on Sundays though, and usually not for more than about 4 people at a go. One of the best parts of the experience is the location, a stunning demo kitchen on Duplication Road courtesy the luxury Italian kitchen shop Camagni Ceylon.
Everything in the model kitchen can be purchased via the shop, and it's all in working condition. It's frankly really beautiful and the open glass views of the road make you feel like you're on a cooking show. Everything from the lighting, to the high quality of the kitchen, make for a great experience.
Her classes are now curated through Trekurious, and cost about Rs. 6000 a pop. You can book directly via the site, and pay either online or by cash at their office.
She's got a few 3 course menu options (vegetarian options included of course!), so you can pick and choose what you'd like to cook. After confirmation, turn up on your Sunday date, get cooking for a few hours as she takes you through the ingredients used, the processes, and lots of tasting.
After all your hard work, you can settle down for a cosy meal with Valentina, and have a well-deserved feast.
Since we'd booked it for a special occasion, Valentina went out of her way to accommodate all our requests. I love seafood and tiramisu, so she created a special menu for us. It consisted of a basic bruschetta that served as an appetizer.
Prawn ravioli in butter garlic sauce as the delicious main.
and a tiramisu for dessert (of course):
We got to learn about the ingredients we were using (a mix of local and internationally available produce), how to use them, and the processes at play. I've always found that Italian cooking uses a lot of very specific utensils that are difficult to find in your average Asian kitchen, unless you're as resourceful as MacGyver, so it might be difficult to replicate some of these recipes at home.
Valentina was patient with all our horsing around, and was happy to answer any and all questions. Certain items like the tiramisu and kneading the dough took a while, but we brought in speakers, kitchen jams, and plenty of wine, so it was a slow and happy labour of love.
If you're looking for a fun and interactive experience, or simply to learn more, this may be a great option for you. Valentina is happy to tailor-make classes for your needs (within budget and reason), so she even does little sessions for special occasions. We loved, and highly recommend this experience.
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