Friday, August 8, 2014

Food & Wine of Sicily: a cooking class with Chef Francesco Mazzei

Chef Francesco Mazzei showing foodies how to make fresh Sicilian pasta
Last saturday Aug. 2nd. I had the pleasure and the priviledge to join an amazing cooking class at "L'Anima", an Italian restaurant in the heart of London opened 6 years ago.
L'Anima - Italian Restaurant, London

Warm welcome, relaxed atmosphere, excellent food, superb cooking sessions and of course a lot of fun and laugh as well! 

"Food & Wine of Sicily" was the title of this class, organised by Italian Chef Francesco Mazzei at his own place in 1, Snowden Street.  

Chef Mazzei and his fantastic team helped the 15 partecipants preparing a selection of Sicilian traditional recipes.

From the renowned arancine/arancini made of rice, to the classic pasta con le sarde, from the scented sea-food soup to the delicate rabbit in sweet and sour sauce, and finishing with, of course, the typical cannoli with ricotta cream, made in Catania version. 

Three hours of learning, hands on:
- how to make fresh pasta from scratch (the Sicilian busiate, in Calabria called filei);
- why you need pastella (Engl. batter) to fry the arancini;
- how you cut a rabbit in pieces
- AND-
- how to balance different flavours when you prepare a soup with mussels and clams.

I also had the honour to get to "judje", yes "judje!" together with the Chef and two members of the kitchen staff, the person who had made the perfect shape for the arancini (still in working progress in the pic on the left) and who prepared the best fish soup (pic above.) 

Last but not least, let's not forget the tasting of three superb Sicilian wines (a white, a red and a dessert one) with the accurate and detailed explanation given from sommelier Franco Fortunati. 

In Sicily the variety of climate and land that the territory offers, allows us to "play" with several types of high-quality wines according to what kind of food we are eating. So, we can find a light bodied red like the Cerasuolo di Vittoria that perfectly matches with a tuna steak or a sea-food soup and a more structured and aged white that can accompany a plate of cheese. 

The combination is always an incredible experience for our palate, so for that I would like to thank once again Chef Francesco and all his team for having allowed me to be a part of his kitchen for one day.

If you are into Italian food in general and live in the city, you definitely don’t want to miss the opportunity to join one of Chef Mazzei future cooking sessions at 'L’Anima Restaurant', where you will eat and breathe real Italian.  

You will be among lovely people, learn a lot about our food and culture but, above all, you will enjoy yourself!

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