Epic Europe Trip 2014 Day 14: Cloudy With a Chance of Jenn Cooking

If you asked Jenn and I why we love coming to Europe one of our top answers would be food. We're both self-confessed foodies. But if you're reading this you already know that because every daily recap comes jam packed with pictures of the food we eat. So Jenn thought we love wine so we did a wine tour in Santorini and we love food we should take a cooking class in Rome. And so that's exactly what we did. 

A month or two ago Jenn did some research on TripAdvisor and found a cooking class in the heart of Rome with Chef Andrea Consoli. When we were trying to book we found out quickly that it was a popular thing to do and that he had very limited spots open. In fact for our five days in Rome the only day we could get in was today, so we jumped on it and booked it. After waking up a little after 8AM to a rainy morning we got ready to leave and headed out to grab a taxi a little after 9AM. Unfortunately if we were in the Amazing Race we would have come in last place as our taxi driver had no idea how to get us to our cooking class. We did a couple loops (which he didn't charge us for) and when we finally did make it to our cooking class we literally only had a minute to spare.

When we got to the cooking class we sat down at a nice dining table with the other 10 people in our class (one lady from Costa Mesa, many from the mid-west, one from Greece and two from Israel). Chef Andrea greeted us all and gave us coffee, toast and different pastries to start off the morning. He walked us through his background and what the plan was for the day and then went over the days menu. 

At around 10:30AM we made our way into the kitchen and didn't stop working until a little after 2PM. The entire group started with prep. Jenn and I are absolute novices in the kitchen. In the last year we've started to get better but this class ended up being far more advanced then I think either of us had planned on so we went for the easy tasks. Jenn cut tomatoes and I shredded cheese. We then helped with washing the spinach and then some other random tasks that the chef assigned us. It took the group over an hour just to prep everything. 

After prep was done it was time to start with making the different courses. We started off making the Tiramisu which Chef Andrea was adamant about two things. One that it should never be made with any alcohol, and two that it should only be made in one layer and not multiple. Everyone helped in the prep of the Tiramisu before it was put in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Then it was on to put together the Pumpkin Blossoms. Both Jenn and I tried to put these together but kept ripping our blossoms. Basically you put slices of cheese, meats, and vegetables in them and then when we were ready to eat deep fry them in a beer batter. After the pumpkin blossoms we were off to make the Arrosto di Pollo which were chicken drumsticks stuffed cheese with either spinach or sausage. He had us all try our hand at butchering the chicken but once again it was way above Jenn and my skill level. The idea is you debone the chicken leg and then make the chicken as flat as possible. Throw the cheese, pork cheeks, and spinach (or sausage) in the middle and roll it. It sort of looked like we were making sausage. 

After the chicken we went to the last task of the day the pasta. We started out with dicing up artichokes with Jenn and I did with some tact but not much. We then all helped make the pasta dough and then everyone got a chance to help roll it and make fresh pasta. I really wish it wasn't so much work to make fresh pasta because it tastes amazing. We made some pesto for a dipping sauce for our appetizer and after that it was time to start cooking everything. Jenn helped with the sauce for the pasta and I sat back and watched with my mouth drooling. 

At this point Chef Andrea kicked everyone out of the kitchen and it was our time to sit down and enjoy the spoils of our hard work. Jenn and I (along with most of the group) added on the wine package which had a wine pairing with each course of the meal. We started out with a sparkling white wine and the pumpkin blossoms which were out of this world. They reminded me a bit of fried zucchini but with far more complex flavors. I helped myself to seconds and thirds on these. Next up was the fresh fettuccine with artichokes which was paired with an excellent red wine. This might have been my favorite course of the meal as both Jenn and I were scraping the bottom of our bowls to get every last bite of it. Next up was a white wine with Arrosto di Pollo which both Jenn and I figured was going to be the course we didn't like. Somehow even this course turned out to be great. We both preferred the chicken with sausage stuffed in it but the spinach one was good as well. And finally we had the Tiramisu which was paired with a nice light desert wine. 

At this point I was ready to pass out and you could see everyone else in the group was both exhausted from cooking for four hours and in a complete food/alcohol coma. We all sat around the table talking for a bit and then paid our remaining balances for the class and headed our separate ways. Jenn and I tried to use Uber but the driver for whatever reason didn't seem to be making any progress to pick us up and instead we hailed a taxi and made our way back to the hotel. 

Our plan was to rest for a bit and head back out for dinner or just gelato but that plan died ten minutes later when I passed out. Jenn was nice enough to wake me up at close to 8PM but at that point we both were ready to turn in for the night. Although we may never make these different dishes at home we had such an incredible time at the cooking class today, it truly gave us great respect for all the amazing food we've had thus far and will continue to have for the rest of the trip. For now I'm going to go back to bed and dream about more Italian food.