When eating the delicious dishes of the Maremma just isn’t enough, you should join a cooking class.
Like any region in Tuscany, the Maremma is strewn with cooking schools. Most are run by local chefs and housewives who are passionate about their food – the food that their ancestors have been cooking for centuries.
These schools are specifically designed for tourists, so they’re all in English, and are a chance for any intrepid traveller to get their hands dirty and truly experience Maremman food beyond what’s served up to them on a pretty white platter.
Depending on your class, you could be preparing pappardelle alla lepre (pappardelle pasta with an unctuous hare sauce) from scratch, cinghiale alla cacciatora con polenta (wild boar cacciatore with polenta), acquacotta (a delicious vegetable soup) or any other of the incredible dishes that define this region.
But it’s not just about cooking great food. When you join one of these classes, you learn the secrets of Italian cooking and usually get a healthy dose of the rich traditions of the families you’re learning from along with them. Most of the courses will also take you on a shopping trip before settling you into a gorgeous provincial kitchen so you know where to shop to recreate your experience.
Classes vary from two hour crash courses up to a full weekend immersions with trips to the local markets to buy fresh produce.
Some agriturismi actually run cooking classes on site, otherwise they’ll be more than happy to tell you where you can go.
But to get your started, here are some of the best cooking schools in and around Grosseto:
Sensini Lounge Time: These guys are the best. Their chefs are local culinary stars and their courses are seriously chic, teaching everything from pasta making to cake decorating. Visit www.loungetime.sensinistyle.com.
B&B Via Ricasoli: Learn how to make ricotta and spinach stuffed ravioli, acquacotta and cantucci from one of Grosseto’s best chefs. Or go on whole day guided tour of the capital’s markets, so you can select the best fresh produce yourself and learn exactly what makes Tuscan cooking so irresistible. Visit http://www.bebviaricasoli.it/in-cucina.html
Antica Casale Scansano: Homemade pasta, zuppa contadine (peasant’s soup) and Tuscan sweets, this cooking school is about teaching you the traditional Maremman classics, just like mamma used to make. Visit www.anticocasalediscansano.it/ristorante-toscana/corsi-di-cucina.
And if you want to get in a bit of practice before you head off to the Maremma, visit my recipes page and recreate an Italian classic at home.