A Night At La Cucina Di Sandra Cooking School Nonna Class
Love Italian food? Love cooking? Looking for somewhere special to take friends and family? Or somewhere to take corporate clients or for your corporate get together? The World Loves Melbourne was invited to La Cucina Di Sandra Cooking School in Richmond for the La Cucina Di Nonna cooking class and we had an epic evening with great company (including Mel from Gastronomel and Prosecco Queen). Sandra's cooking classes are loads of fun and are like a dinner party as well as a class (as you eat at her long table).
Sandra Del Greco started La Cucina Di Sandra Cooking School in 2014 with a passion to cook the Italian recipes of her Zia (Aunt) and the regions of Italy, and it has been super popular ever since. A unique Melbourne foodie experience, this is not a large corporate run cooking school but you feel like you're part of Sandra's family in her home; a converted warehouse and slice of Tuscany in Richmond. One of the best things to do in Melbourne is to discover and enjoy bespoke culinary experiences; and La Cucina Di Sandra fits the bill.
Sandra mainly caters for groups of up to 10, and you can meet some amazing foodies at her classes with a shared passion for great food and cooking. The space is beautiful, with the table decorated with flowers and candles.
Biscotti al parmigiano were a tasty biscuit on arrival (another dish you can cook at home).
Melbournians are always looking for new and satisfying foodie experiences. Sandra offers vouchers for purchase, so you can give your friends and loved ones the perfect gift of a cooking class. Often groups of friends will book into a class. In July alone Sandra was running classes virtually every second day for groups of foodies. She also has many corporates into her kitchen, loving the bespoke nature of her classes. Definitely a place to consider for your Christmas party or team get together - as they say, book early to avoid disappointment. Prices are so reasonable too!
Sandra's food is intended for home cooking; she shows you how to cook regional Italian dishes at home. She provides detailed recipes and cooking tips as well - so you can impress your friends and family in the kitchen! The first course of Polpette di Nonna al Sugo was a delightful meatballs dish that we would love to eat all year round. Sandra showed us how to cook the meatballs so they are still soft - not hard - just melt in your mouth! As a starter this was amazing, but I could imagine cooking this dish even as a main course. Who doesn't love classic Italian meatballs? Nonna's polpette are favourites with Sandra's grandchildren; as it was for Sandra herself growing up (Sandra has added a slight modern twist in baking the meatballs).
As Sandra points out, meatballs were never served with pasta growing up in Italy; usually as they were in the sauce and often with loads of bread. Of course they are brilliant on mashed potato.
The second course entree was a rustic dish that Sandra used to eat in the home growing up nearly every Sunday cooked by her mother and her aunt - Pasta e Piselli. This was about the wonderful flavours of pancetta with pasta, a great sauce and the freshness of peas. Of course this came with loads of shaved Parmesan on top. This is a pasta dish and also a "Minestra" soupy dish; so we ate it with a spoon.
This is an old recipe from Italy and it is a "Minestra" often served in Italian families as a "piatto unico", a one pot dish. As Sandra says "These dishes are rare today, as they were a tradition of the "cucina casalinga" and part of the diet of the poor". Sandra says that gourmet Italians today search for the few restaurants that still cook these traditional dishes. All the while Sandra is demonstrating how to cook these dishes and giving us loads of cooking tips.
It was great to meet other foodies on the night; as with other classes with Sandra I met some amazing people!
Main course was a delicious Spezzatino Di Pollo with the free range chicken cooked on the bone, a classic dish prepared all over Italy. Porcini mushrooms complemented the chicken and a baked fennel and parmesan side dish was superb. This is a perfect week night meal for the busy professional. The chicken pieces were bursting with intense flavour from juices, stock and wine (and a little garlic). The sauce had a delightful creamy consistency.
Italians love fennel and normally we see it in salads; but Sandra pointed out that Italians also love it as a cooked vegetable. Baking fennel is the best and could also be served with a roast dinner or any casserole dish! Still dreaming of that baked fennel!
Insalata di agrumi con miele e pinoli is a magnificent fruit salad that relies on excellent ingredients. As Sandra says "if you cannot find top quality grapefruit, oranges and honey, then make another dessert."
This seasonal delight being a citrus, honey and pine nut dessert was a high note for the end of our cooking class and dining experience. The toasted pine nuts and biscuit set of the dish perfectly.
La Cucina Di Sandra is an excellent and unique cooking school with Sandra's passion and soul inspiring. Book your class online and also Sandra is able to do bespoke events including for corporates.