My Visit to an Italian Cooking School in Umbria

by Beth Graham

The number one reason I love to travel? To experience new foods, cooking techniques, and have a culinary adventure. When I travel, I look forward to eating in the restaurants, shopping at the local street markets, and I always try to schedule at least one cooking class. I recently visited an Italian cooking school at a winery in Umbria.

Usually, after being away for a week, I’m ready to get back to the comfort of my own home and my own bed. But at the end of our week in Umbria, it was one of the first times I was not ready to leave. We had rented a villa in the country near Deruta, the ceramics capital of Italy, and hired a private chef to prepare our dinners after long days of exploring and wine tasting.

I was most excited to visit the Goretti winery and meet Sara Goretti, who hosted our tastings and spends most of her time traveling in the states to market the family’s wines with Terlato Wines. We arrived to beautiful grounds where eight generations of the family have lived and we were fortunate to meet three of those generations.

Our day started sitting outdoors overlooking the helicopter pad, which brings guests in from other cities, mainly Rome, for special events. Sara explained that she had recently hosted a wedding vow renewal ceremony for a couple flown in from Lake Trasimeno.

Then the tastings then moved indoors to Il Moggio, a beautiful 12th century tower, where Nonna Marcella had prepared a feast of local foods to pair with our wines. When she learned that my daughter was a vegetarian, she went back into the kitchen and prepared a dish, especially for my daughter. That’s authentic Italian hospitality.

Nonna Marcella also opens up her cucina for Italian cooking classes, which Sara pairs with the wines. It’s the ultimate Umbrian experience including:

  • Grechetto DOC Colli Perugini with toasted bread and Goretti’s extra virgin olive oil
  • Il Moggio Grechetto with a selected of aged cheeses and the Goretti’s local honey
  • L’Arringatore DOC Colli Perugini services a typical Umbrian cake, Torta al Testo with salami and ham
  • Sagrantino di Montefalco Fattoira Le Mura Saracene with Torta al Formaggio (cheese pie) and salami
  • Il Santo, the Goretti dessert wine, with Tozzetti della Nonna Marcella, Nonna Marcella’s special biscotti with almonds.

Nonna Marcella has also written a cookbook, “Le ricette della Nonna Marcella – Dal cuore verde dell’Umbria espressione di tipicità e tradizione”, which includes recipes in multiple languages. The cookbook is available on the Goretti wines website.

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