Taste Italia is situated in the pretty village of Ramsden Heath, just 2 miles east of Billericay and 10 miles south of Chelmsford.
The Italian Cookery School was opened in Essex in 2003, following the success of its two sister schools based in Tuscany and La Marche, Italy. The schools have gone on to receive much recognition and awards including being placed as one of the Sunday Times Top 5 Italian cookery Schools.
The courses are based on the true tradition of Italian cookery; the finest fresh ingredients, carefully, yet simply prepared to produce wonderful regional cuisine. There is a choice of day, evening, week long or diploma courses as well as specialist children’s classes, parent and child, or even singles classes. Irrespective of your skill level, whether you are a complete novice or maestro in the kitchen, the courses are designed to ensure that everyone takes away some valuable skills and knowledge.
I treated my Mother to a one day ‘Italy on a Plate’ course, with Mario Pozzi, a charming, gentle man and a fabulous cook.
The day started at around 9.30am when eight of us met up for the first time to enjoy a taste of Italy. The school – which does sound quite a formal term for such a pleasant relaxed setting – is based in a converted barn. The kitchen and dining area is large, light and spacious with excellent facilities and wonderful views over the surrounding countryside and large organic herb and vegetable garden. We all chatted over coffee before donning our aprons and embarking on our hands on tour of Tuscan cuisine.
The majority of the ingredients used to create the dishes were seasonal, fresh and organic. We personally picked many of the herbs and vegetables from the organic garden, which was a joy and really brought home to us the wonderful taste of freshly picked produce.
The day course lasted just over six hours and went surprisingly fast. We cooked, we ate, and we drank, chatted and laughed and most importantly learnt so much. Mario guided and encouraged us in the joint preparation of Italian breads, pizza dough, fresh pasta in all its varieties, delicious vegetable dishes, a hearty Tuscan bean soup, fabulous turkey and Marsala, sumptuous hand made ice-cream and a light Magdalena.
The class was informal and friendly, with the emphasis being on the enjoyment of cooking as well as encouragement to learn and improve upon your practical preparation skills, from how to chop vegetables and herbs quickly and safely, to preparing and filleting meat and fish. The dishes were straight forward and can easily be recreated at home; I am now famous (amongst friends) for my home made pizza and pasta!
The finale of the day is sitting down to a superb six course meal with freshly cooked bread and a glass or two of wine; satisfied that you played a large part in creating this magnificent feast
A wonderful Italian cookery school based in a delightful rural setting. Novices and Maestros alike are encouraged and taught valuable practical skills as well as superb regional Italian cuisine from professional masters of Italian cookery. The classes are informal, friendly and relaxed. There is a choice of day, evening, week long and diploma courses either in Essex or Italy. Speciality children’s cookery classes are available, as too are parent and child classes or even a singles cookery evening. I would definitely recommend - enjoy!