With the publication of my new book, Making Artisan Pasta (Quarry Books, January 2012), I will be traveling to the mysterious and wild Maremma in coastal Tuscany and to Italy’s “green heart”–Umbria with a group of 15 pasta lover’s this October. We’ll be learning to make our own fresh pasta and watching artisan pastai hand-stretch pasta for the ultimate in chewy but tender texture and rough surface that perfectly absorbs the sauce as well as touring top wineries, learning chocolate artistry, eating in some of the best regional restaurants and meeting chefs and producers, visiting markets, picking olives, and going on a wild mushroom hunt.
That tour is now sold out but I am starting to take names and contact information for those interested in joining me on my next culinary tour in fall 2012. Our tentative itinerary starts with a stay at a beautiful agriturismo (farm-inn) in the heart of the Maremma surrounded by medieval walled towns, geothermal springs, abundant game and wild mushrooms, and some of the most famous “Super-Tuscan” vineyards.
From there, we’ll travel to Genoa–a marvelous multi-faceted seaport that is not visited by many tourists and home to superb fresh-herb pasta and fillings. Genoa is a center for artisanal food production and well worth a visit to wander the narrow streets of its walking quarter, home to Pietro Romanengo, which has been making superb candied fruits, bonbons and preserves in Genoa since the 18th century at the oldest candy factory in the world. We’ll be tasting and learning to make authentic Pesto alla Genovese, Pansotti al Sugo di Noce (triangular ravioli stuffed with white cheese and fresh herbs including borage), Farinata (crispy, thin chickpea flour torte baked in a wood-burning oven) at l’Antica Schiamadda, and Torta Pasqualina (layered Easter pie filled with greens, hard-cooked eggs, and cheese).
We’ll also visit the small, charming city of Lucca, home of top-quality olive oil, and famed for its intact Renaissance-era city walls as well as the delicious traditional Tuscan fare at its fine restaurants, considered by many to be the best in Tuscany. Tortelli Lucchese, fresh ravioli made from bright golden yellow egg-rich dough, stuffed with ricotta, and topped with a rich meat ragu is a typical dish. Also farro (ancient wheat grain), local heirloom beans, rabbit, and baccalà (salt cod). And, we wouldn’t want to miss exploring Tuscany’s Chocolate Valley nearby along the Via Cioccolato.
If you’d like to know more, please send an email message to me on the Ask Aliza tab and I’ll be sure to send you more details.