Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mamma Agata's Cooking Heaven

We booked our trip to Italy like a year before we actually went.  This was partly because we thought we'd get better prices on airfare (IS there such a thing as a good price on airfare?  Not really), and partly because it was easier to convince my husband that the trip was a bargain.  See, if you buy the tickets a year in advance, then by the time you actually GO, the cost of the plane tickets is a sunk cost and therefore doesn't count towards the total bill.  See how I did that? 

Anyway, after I bought the plane tickets (suck cost), I started doing research on things to do in Italy and came across Mamma Agata's Cooking School in Ravello, Amalfi Coast.  It was basically rated the best thing to do in all of Italy by TripAdvisor.  The more I read, the more obsessed I came with going, despite the fact that it was logistically damn near impossible to get to, and that it was a bit pricey.  Oh, and that my husband may not think a day of cooking is the most amount of fun one can have in Italy.  But if you know me at all, you'd know that once I have my mind made up about something, there is no stopping me.  I worked with a travel agent to find a private driver to take us to class, an hour away from where we were staying (on narrow, winding roads with hairpin turns, 200 feet above the sea with no guardrails).  I ignored the crappy exchange rate and paid the entrance fee in Euros and told my husband that there was unlimited food, wine, and limoncello at the cooking class (all true), and that I was sure there would be other dudes there with their irrational wives that he could hang out with.

Let me tell was worth every penny, every hairpin turn, and the 5 pounds we each gained that day.  Chiara (Mamma Agata's daughter and English-speaking translator) was the most gracious host in the world...she was so sweet and funny and I never wanted to leave.

The class is held at Mamma Agata's home, where she lives with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.  The house is built high on the hillside of Ravello, a small down on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, and overlooks the sea.  All of the ingredients they use, from the sausage to the basil, to the lemons, to the grapes and the wine, are all grown on their property and made at their home.  The view is breathtaking, and the food is downright amazing.  It exceeded even my wildest was my favorite day in Italy.

You arrive at this amazing house, and come down these steps:

And then you see this straight ahead of you:

And this to your right:

And inside the house was this lady:

The class was 6 hours long....we ate the most amazing lemon cake I've ever had....we learned how to make the perfect homemade tomato sauce...we were told how to make eggplant sweet and perfectly textured instead of watery and bitter.  We sampled olives and hot pepper sauce and organic wine and homemade limoncello.  We learned how to make the perfect eggplant parmesan and how to properly fry something.  I was fascinated by the whole thing...Mamma Agata cooked and her daughter Chiara narrated.  And then we all sat down (there were 10 of us there....a few young couples and then one old couple who didn't seem to like each other very much) to the best meal ever.  It looked a bit like this:

I'm going to post the recipes as I make them here at home.  And believe me, I will.  Those who get invited over to dinner on these nights will know we like them better than our other friends.  Just sayin'.


  1. Oh my God that lady is like the definition of Italy! I'm so jealous! What an amazing one in a life time experience. So cool!!! I can't wait for you to post the recipes.

  2. I better be on the invite list for one of these meals:)