Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tuscan Cooking Class at Castello Banfi

One of my favorite parts of our mother/daughter trip this spring was our cooking class in the Montalcino region at Castello Banfi Il Borgo with Chef Domenico Francone. He oversees everything from the cuisine served at La Sala dei Grappoli, the fine dining restaurant, to the room service for the hotel guests. We had already enjoyed a multi-course dinner on our first night so we knew that he was going to be good.

We had been looking forward to learning to cook some Tuscan dishes from a genuine Italian chef ever since we started planning our trip. We met Chef Domenico out on the grounds and we rode with him to a guest house out in the vineyard. Inside a small, homey kitchen, the three of us set about creating a four course lunch to be paired with Banfi wines.

As the chief cook in my own home, I was happy to sit back, sample the wine and let him teach my next generation. I did help with everything though the video doesn't show it. My favorite part was making the pasta which, oddly, I had never attempted before this day.

Our menu:

  • Ricotta flan with zucchini and tomato concasse- I loved this first course and its not difficult to make.
  • Tagliatelle with ragout- My meat sauce has definitely improved since my afternoon with Domenico, I'm using less garlic and mincing up the veggies more.
  • Fillet of veal with Tuscan bacon and seasonal vegetables- Complete stove-top meal in this one course that every college student should be able to make in some rendition, perfect for my daughter.
  • Chocolate Souffle- Easier than I expected though I didn't actually participate in this dish. I watched them, took pictures and sipped on some more wine, but from my vantage point, it looked very doable.
Check out the video and get a glimpse of our cooking class in beautiful Tuscany, an amazing culinary experience.

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