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  • Writer's pictureAngela Erickson

Take a cooking class in Italy!

Let's Make it Happen!

Well in fact it is going to happen. It is going to happen in May of 2023.

If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them! We will be in Positano for the most part.


So I have heard this rumor and now I find it to be true.   In Italy they will eat pasta and/or pizza at almost every meal.  If it wasn't for these 500 steps up-and-down all day I might be concerned we would all come home looking like oompa loompas.

One of the things on the bucket list was to take a cooking class in Italy.   I wasn't thinking pizza initially, but now that I have my own pizza oven I decided I'd better learn how to make the crust better.   If this class still doesn't help me I'm gonna bring out the big guns and call Nancy Lowery over. 

One of the other things we are noticing is that everybody thinks they have the best pizza crust and it's different from region to region. They all let it rest a different amount of time which creates air bubbles and less tummy troubles as it does not finish rising in your tummy.  This would be my 1st mistake back home.  I think the most I've ever let the dough sit would be four hours.  I am hearing anywhere from  24 to 72 from the chefs around here.

So here we are in Sorrento waiting for the pick-up to go to this family farm to learn how to make fantastic pizza.    As I have mentioned in a previous blog we have negotiated a direct ride to the bus after the class so that we can participate because the host was pretty sure we would not make the last bus.    He will be delivering us in a Fiat Panda. 

We meet at the Hotel Plaza and have a cocktail and again marvel at the fun little snacks they bring out to you with your drink.     In this case they not only brought us peanuts, rice crackers and potato chips, but also cheese or salmon sandwiches, cut into cute little tiny triangles with no crust as if we were having high tea.  Now remember they don't charge for any of this.  They just think that this is what you should have with a cocktail.  I'm going to start this tradition in my courtyard.   Act surprised.

A couple vans showed up to take us up to the farm and there were only ten of us in the class.   Two were from Michigan, two were from London and two were from Ireland in addition to us.  A great crew indeed.    All ladies and a guy called Scott.  So for the entire instruction Francesco would say "ladies...... and Scott"  Which for some reason would make us giggle every time. 

Our driver took us up the mountain which took about forty minutes which caused us to look at each other with concern because that does not leave a whole lot of time to cook a pizza and still get back to the bus.

Tip. If you, like me, prefer the smaller village vibe and want to stay in Positano, but want to do a class or evening function like this....get a hotel room in Sorrento or wherever you go.  The transportation is very iffy at best and you don't want to get stranded because Taxi rides back are a hundred euros or more for a thirty minute jaunt.  No muss no fuss.

We came to this beautiful farm and they welcomed us with some sour cherry juice and allow us to roam their yards.   Then they brought us back around and had us all practice making dough with Lia's help and gave us the recipe which you will see a picture of.  Again everybody does pizza dough differently and they think their's the best, notice how very little flour they have in it.    So we all try to make pizza dough and we're all dismal failures.  But the truth is they couldn't have used it anyway. They always cook it up the next day and feed it to their animals.

 The dough that we actually used was sanitary and had risen for at least 24 hours.    We could tell the minute we put our hands on it the difference between what we've been trying to do in the US  and what they do here.   It is completely different.  For one thing,  it does not spring back at you when you try to roll it just sits there and lets you form it.  Cool.

They taught us to use our fingertips to just start at the top and poke our way down, I got reprimanded for being a little aggressive, and the circle just starts to form itself.  We put our ingredients on (again, very limited only homemade tomato sauce and homemade mozzarella.)   We were allowed to pose in front of the fire but they took away our paddles and threw the pizza in for us.    No faith.   It took about 3 minutes and they sent us to the eating room to sit down together and enjoy the jugs of wine and the pizza and charcuterie tray, which was also homemade.

It was their daughter Angela who taught us how to make pizzas and Anna brought us our dessert which was Panna Cotta.  She tried to make a joke about her being Anna Cotta  but Scott (oh Scott)  ruined the punchline and jumped ahead of her. Party foul. She was not impressed.

We had a salute with lemoncello (look each other in the eyes! Chin chin!)  and then Francesco suggested we might like to try to get back. 

We were already confused because in our minds there was not nearly enough time.  But oh wait.  He did not tell us he had a shortcut that went straight down the side of the hill and only a very small car will fit.  Like a Fiat Panda.  I swear to God we were back to the station in about seven minutes, not 40.     Now that is an adventure I wish I could have taken photos of but there was no way I was letting go of the car.   When we got out of the car Jan made a comment that it felt a lot like what we saw in the movie The Italian Job. was crazy.

At the bus station we wished him well and thanked him and his family for a job well done!  We also congratulated him because we found out Lia had a baby...FIVE DAYS AGO! named Aurora.   If some of you go in future years you may meet her!

I would totally recommend this and I have put the information below if you are ever in the area.  

We were way ahead of schedule and had a least 15 minutes as it was only 8:45 and all schedules said the last bus would go out at nine.

Yeah no.  The bus did indeed pull up, turned off its lights and went out of service for the day.  Are you kidding me!?

Swear swear word.

Have I mentioned yet that transportation is a big pain in the butt!?

A local young man named David was also stranded and he lives in Positano and had to get to work.  Luckily with his Italian we were able to get a Van to take all 5 of us back.  Sadly,  it costs us a €120.   Very very frustrating.

Tip:   Don't take the last bus or last ferry.  Leave some time or heed tip above and stay.   

All in all, still a great day with great company!

Info on the class:

What To Expect Upon arrival at the farm you will be greeted with a freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice made with our fruit. Together with Francesco & Lia you will start preparing the pizza dough and discover our traditional family recipe handed down from generation to generation! All of you will prepare the pizza dough but only the most ambitious will be able to make it fly ..... Once prepared, everyone will bake their own pizza in our traditional wood-burning oven, then we will all enjoy a delicious "pizza dinner" accompanied by our wine and appetizers. To conclude, you certainly cannot miss the tasting of a homemade dessert prepared by the skilled hands of little Anna and Nonna Angela's Limoncello.

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