The Italian Foodie Adventure
As those who have read my past blogs will know my passion is food…and of course Italy...and the olive oil...but above all food! Seasonal, local and with a sense of cultural heritage. What I love is the fact that when something is seasonal it is plentiful - and exquisite - and then it is gone. As the seasons change it is replaced by something else. We have lost any sense of this in our global supply chain: our supermarkets will cater for the 'anything you like' all year around. Always okay but never exceptional, and nothing has any real connection to the land.
In this sense I feel connected to the movement around Slow Food, which aims to promote a better way to eat by protecting the production of regional food - and the enjoyment of it - against the globalisation of agricultural products. What is now a worldwide initiative has its origin in Italy, and it is this link that is particularly relevant here…
For I am launching something exciting…a new venture for food lovers who want a luxury holiday that is food-centric and explores this connection between a region and its food.
I am delighted to introduce…the Italian Foodie Adventure.
“An unforgettable journey into the heart of Italian food culture. What we were treated to by Stephen blew us away. The learning to make ravioli pasta, firing up the wood fired oven to cook chicken from the back yard was just a small part of a conviviality and generosity of culture we will never forget. We came back with such warm hearts and I now really do use my pasta maker where as before it used to sit in the cupboard getting dusty."
Phil Haughton, Founder of Better Food
The Italian Foodie Adventure is an all-inclusive, fully-catered and carefully curated introduction to the food and culture that defines the Abruzzo region of Italy. You will be thoroughly satisfied with the collection of unique and exclusive food-related experiences…
making pizza with the local pizzaiolo in our wood fired oven
making proper Italian ice cream at the local gelateria
visit to the stunning beauty of Campo Imperatore to barbeque arrosticini
making filled pasta with the mother of my good friend Elio
a bike tour...for those who have the energy
When I was out doing the olive harvest in October 2016 I did a trial day. Four friends: Katie, Ed, Phil and Gerry were the guinea pigs. Cooking with my two favourite Italian grandmothers. The idea should have been limited to a lesson from the grannies in how to make filled pasta, but in true Italian style it grew and grew to a veritable feast. Phil counted 10 courses. It was so successful that I plan to keep the same format for the Foodie Adventure when it starts in May.
If you come you will not be disappointed.
The day started at the outside kitchen for the farm. Filimina and Teresa the two grannies, co-laws (the fact that Italians have this word to describe this relationship between a parent and parent-in-law says it all) were the teachers. Whilst the group worked with factory style efficiency in production of the pasta the grannies provided guidance and at the same time worked on a whole cornucopia of dishes to support the ravioli. The family all turned up at lunch and we all sat down to eat in true Italian style – and stayed eating for the next 3 hours.
The pasta was, as expected, excellent. But I wanted to mention one of the other dishes, typical for this time of year: fracchiatta. A bit like polenta – but made with a mixture of maize flour and chick pea flour – a hearty porridge, brought alive by the addition of sweet red peppers, dried that then fried in olive oil. Sweet, a little bitter and crunchy. Spooned over the top of the fracchiatta – so unusual, very typical of this region and truly magnificent.
Please visit the webpage to find out more on the Italian Foodie Adventure - where you can sign up to our newsletter to receive a very occasional email with interesting receipes and information about the next Italian Foodie Adventure dates.
Thanks for reading.