Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Taste of Tuscany: Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina - Gaiole in Chianti, Italy

Setting the Table for Dinner at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

This is the sixth post in my Taste of Tuscany series.

When Stephen and I were planning our honeymoon in Tuscany, one of the things I lobbied for the hardest was a hands-on cooking class. I wanted the opportunity to cook in a real Italian kitchen and to learn about local dishes and techniques. Turns out, I didn't have to work as hard as I thought I did -- Stephen was completely on board. Conveniently for us, Elena Nappa, our hostess at Borgo Argenina, offers a group class for her guests ($40 USD per person) that allows them to prepare and then enjoy a multi-course meal complete with plenty of complimentary wine.

I thought about narrating through all of the photos in this post, but I think you'll get a better taste of our experience through the photos themselves. Enjoy!


The Work

Cutting Onions during Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Grating Cheese during Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Grating Cheese during Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Fresh Green Beans - Photo by Taste As You Go

Making Chicken Cacciatore at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Making Chicken Cacciatore at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Making the Ragu Bolognese at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Making Chicken Cacciatore at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Simmering Dinner at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Cooking Class at Borgo Argenina with Elena Nappa - Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Baking the Lasagne Bolognesi at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Making Dessert at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Elena Nappa - Photo by Taste As You Go

Making Dessert at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Making Dessert at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Making Dessert at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Making Dessert at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste

Making Dessert with Elena Nappa at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Chopping Chocolate for Dessert at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

The Reward

Dinner Table at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Black Rooster Design - Photo by Taste As You Go

Lasagne Bolognesi at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Lasagne Bolognesi at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Dinner at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Green Beans at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Chicken Cacciatore - Photo by Taste As You Go

Chicken Cacciatore, Green Beans, and Salad at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Coppa Bagnocavallo at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Limoncello with Star-Shaped Ice - Photo by Taste As You Go

Limoncello at Borgo Argenina in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Cooking Class Menu at Borgo Argenina

Lasagne Bolognesi - We followed Elena's grandmother's recipe for the Bolognese sauce. The lasagne was layered with both the Bolognese sauce and freshly made Bechamel sauce. Seriously, the best lasagne I've ever had.

Chicken Cacciatore - Elena put me in charge of browning all of the chicken pieces (legs and thighs, bone-in) for the Cacciatore. She taught me that the pieces are traditionally turned with two wooden spoons rather than with a fork or a pair of tongs. This way, there's no chance of piercing the chicken skin.

Mixed Green Salad and Fresh Green Beans

Coppa Bagnocavallo - Another recipe from Elena's grandmother's, this dessert was inspired by the traditional tiramisu. Rather than using coffee-soaked biscuits, though, we used Amaretti cookies dipped in rum. Nonna Attilia was a smart lady -- what a treat this was!

Borgo Argenina
53013 Gaiole in Chianti, Italy

For more from my Taste of Tuscany series, see:


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