Best Cooking Class in Venice

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Piazza San Marco – Venice

Some people shy away from Venice. They say it’s too crowded…too many tourists.

There’s some truth to that.

But there’s more truth here: Venice is like NO OTHER PLACE. It’s a beautiful history captured in space and stopped in time. To go to Venice is to time travel. Back centuries. And centuries-old wonders have all been preserved.

If you want to avoid crowds, it’s easy to steer yourself off the beaten path and feel like the city is all yours. Intriguing and relaxing neighborhoods are everywhere.

 

One of my favorite experiences is cooking with Chef Marika of Acquolina on the Venetian island of Lido. Her cooking classes are hands-on with all local fresh ingredients, and her personality is buoyant and encouraging. If you take the full day class, you start by meeting her in the center of Venice at the famous Rialto market, where dozens of tables and booths are spilling over with produce, seafood, pastas, and spices.

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Chef Marika shopping with students at the Rialto Market

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Here you go shopping with Marika to choose what you will cook. She’ll listen to your requests and also make some knowing suggestions. She knows where to shop, which are the best vendors…her favorite produce, the best fish.

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Chef Marika talking about the artichoke bottoms we’re about to buy

My group from Nashville shopped with her…picking out baby scallops in the shell, small soft-shelled crabs, prawns, and baby squid. We bought fresh whole artichoke hearts (just the bottoms, which we braised and ate like steaks), cherry tomatoes, and fresh peas.

When her rolling shopping cart was completely full, we made a couple of other short stops before boarding a taxi boat to the outer island of Lido. Marika took us to the classic age-old wine bars hidden behind the market. We sipped small glasses of wine and nibbled cichetti — bite-sized appetizers.

 

Then we took the short boat ride to her home on Lido…

 

Marika’s home is just a short walk from the boat stop on Lido.

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Marika’s home on Lido

As soon as we arrived we started cooking!

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Chef Marika showing us how to clean the seafood

We learned to clean baby squid and scallops, how to make a batter for deep-frying small soft-shelled crabs called moleche. We sautéed prawns, and made a fresh tomato sauce for pasta….we prepared all of the wonderful seafood and vegetables.

 

And then sat down to a fabulous feast.

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On our boat ride back to the center of Venice, we were happy, sated, and full of wonderful recipes!

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for info about Chef Marika’s classes, contact:

Chef Marika Contaldo Seguso

Acquolina – Villa Ines
Via Lazzaro Mocenigo 10
30126 Venezia-Lido
Tel/Fax (+39) 041 526 7226
e-mail info@acquolina.com

Is it a class or a dinner party?

Well, both.

pasta-making

pasta-making

When I hold a cooking class I always feel like I’m hosting a dinner party.

A dinner party where everyone cooks.

And, of course, everyone eats.

We’re all in the kitchen.

cooking class

cooking class

Someone is chopping, someone sautéing, someone zesting, someone stirring,

someone seasoning…we’re all busy.

students whip perfect egg whites

students whip perfect egg whites

Chatting, laughing, learning about each other’s lives as we put together each dish…

in the kitchen

in the kitchen

…as we crank the handle on the pasta machine…

making fettuccine

making fettuccine

…as we teach our fingers to shape orecchiette and farfalle.

busy in the kitchen

Chef Paulette busy in the kitchen

Roll ropes of gnocchi. Roll out pliable pastry dough.

 

pastry

pastry

And any number of small and big tasks that go into making a great dinner.

And then we eat.

Yum!

Yum!

 

Just a few spots left in my Fall Cooking Classes

cooking class

cooking class

These classes listed below have a few openings left!

 

Renaissance Tastes – Wednesday October 2, 6:30 pm

Cocoa-Flavored Fresh Pasta w Spicy-Cinnamon Beef Ragu

Fennel, Frisee & Escarole Salad w Parmigiano Vinaigrette

Amaretti Cake w Spiced Almonds and Lemon Glaze

 

Lunch in Perugia – Saturday October 19, 12:30pm

Fresh-Made Orecchiette Pasta (little ears) w Savory Sausage Ragu

Fennel Parmigiano Braised in Milk

Sweet Rosemary & Grape Clafoutis (Cake)

 

Cozy Hilltown Night – Wednesday October 23, 6:30 pm

Baked Sausage, Peppers & Potatoes w Rosemary Cannellini Beans

Sautéed Garlicky Escarole w Pine Nuts, Currants & Marjoram-Infused Olive Oil

Pear & Almond Mini-Cakes w Vanilla Glaze

 

Comfort Favorites – Wednesday October 30, 6:30 pm

Spiced Shrimp in Lemony Cream Sauce w Baby-Penne

Artichokes Stuffed w Garlic & Herbed-Panko

Fresh-Baked Focaccia w Asparagus, Red Onion, & Hot Pepper

 

Greek Island Cruise – Saturday November 2, 12:30 pm

Lemony Hummus

Smoky Eggplant Babaganouj

Spinach & Feta Pies

Walnut & Honey Baklava

 

Fireside Supper – Wednesday November 6, 6:30 pm

Gorgonzola Polenta w Fennel-Scented Lamb Ragu

Roman Peas & Asparagus w Pancetta & Onions

Pumpkin-Ricotta Mini-Pies

 

Home Cooked Italian – Saturday November 23, 12:30 pm

Sautéed Crispy Peppery Pork Scallopine Cutlets

Aunt Mary’s Sweet Peppers w Walnuts & Capers

Buttery Mashed Potatoes w String Beans & Parsley

Tender-Crust Hand-Pies w Mascarpone & Blueberries

 

Christmas Cookie Bake (Take-Home Tins!) Wednesday, December 18, 6:30 pm

Italian Rainbow Cookies

Biscotti Regina – Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies

Chocolate Mini-Biscotti w Craisins & Pistachio Nuts