My love affair with Italy started as a teenager. I remember watching a whimsical, cute love story called ‘Only You’ with Marisa Tomei on her journey to find her destiny. The backdrop of Tuscany, her driving down the windy roads of the breath taking Amalfi Coast or running through the majestic streets of Rome in search of her true love.
My journey was a little different to Marisa’s however both on a journey of love. So my Italian adventure started in Naples for the best pizza, then Sorrento (actually paradise) and finally the iconic and enchanting city of Rome.
With so much expectation there was no way I was going to be staying in a full board soulless hotel. I had found the prettiest little guest house called Lubra Casa Relax and relaxed it was. Massa Lubrense is one of the oldest villages of the Sorrento Peninsula.
As well as being authentically beautiful they also ran an Italian cookery class. I was sold from the word go. All this beauty and I get to learn how to cook real Italian cooking from mama Lucia…this was my kinda holiday!
So mama Lucia was the mama of the house. Her welcome was warm and there was no doubt that food was her passion.
We gathered around a large rustic table in her kitchen. Adorned with our aprons, flip flops and the obligatory large glass of vino rosso we stood in anticipation. Her eyes twinkled with excitement as she gave away her secret recipes that had been passed down through generations.
The meatballs cooked on lemon leaves were a sensory delight. Cooking with lemons from this region is something else. These lemons are twice the size of the lemons I’m used to back home, the colour is the happiest, sunniest yellow and it literally smelt like a lemon grove in the kitchen. You can’t help but smile when cooking with the queen of all lemons!
A great little tip I got was to rub a bruised garlic in the bowl that you are mixing the meatballs in. This way you get a gentler hum of garlic and no bits.
Making gnocchi was another favourite of mine. Now this was not a time to be watching my carbs, I think gluten free maybe on par with blasphemy here. I personally find any type dough making thoroughly therapeutic.
The great thing about this cookery school was that we all got to feast on our labor of love. Sitting out on the terrace overlooking the Sorrento peninsular. The conversation and wine flowed and it felt like a piece of heaven. As the sun went down , it cast a warm golden glow all around us…Amore x