Experience Italy in a way you never dreamed possible!
Our region of Umbria is to be savored as well as explored. Read about the people who taught me to cook, share in their culinary secrets, Treat yourself to an experience of Umbrian rural cuisine in your home in the U.S - when I share Umbrian goodness in private homes in February/March each year.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding my cooking classes. Read about about past unforgettable U.S. cooking events and see the fun.
Cooking Classes in the U.S.
Click to enlarge photo Savor the goodness of Umbria in a cooking class in your home. Such an event is a perfect way to celebrate an anniversary, a milestone birthday, a special event and cooking events can be used as fund-raisers, team-builders, business events, get-togethers for gourmet food/wine groups, or simply as a way to gather friends together. Learn how cooking IS communicating. See below for what past hosts have to say and click here to read about last year's memorable tour!
Where and When? This year, I'll be offering Umbrian rural cooking classes in the U.S. and Canada in February and March once again! Requests are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Early booking assures you preference when choosing the date. My itinerary will depend on the location of cooking requests and lecture requests.
Ready to book your cooking class or a lecture? Now is the time!
- Space in your kitchen for minimum of 12 people - groups are limited to 16 persons, including the host(s) - although cooking lessons have worked out very successfully in surprisingly small quarters.
- Very basic cooking utensils (I will send ahead the list of equipment needed).
How long does the lesson last? Cooking classes may take place in the morning or in the late afternoon. Meal preparation takes about 2 hours. If a morning lesson, cooking should start about 10:30 a.m. so that we can eat about 12:30 - 1:00 pm. If evening lesson, cooking would start at about 5:30 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner (about 2 hrs. later). Cooking lessons are fully "hands-on" and throughout our lesson, I will share with you Umbrian culinary lore and folk traditions. This year, I will start all classes with a brief introduction to the Umbrian land and the farmpeople who taught me to cook (illustrated on DVD).
What will we cook? Our menu includes various antipastos, a pasta dish, main course, side dish(es), dessert. I send ahead a sample invitation, the menu, recipes and shopping list prior to the cooking events - so that the host can print out the recipes for the participants prior to the lesson. Hosts are asked to do the shopping prior to the class. I arrive at the host's home well ahead of the lesson to make sure that all is in order and to see if anything else is needed.
Cooking class fee? Hosts buy the foods (shopping list sent ahead) and are asked to make a contribution of $190 towards my travel expenses. Each guest pays $85 and minimum number of 12 guests is required, other than the hosts (who do not pay for the lesson). Pls note: yes, I can certainly offer classes to fewer than 12 persons but minimum fee of $85 x 12 is required in any case.
Click to enlarge photo Let's invest in our children's health! When children learn to cook healthy foods (eg, Italian!), they soon want to eat only healthy foods. Healthy eating = healthy living. My annual February/March cooking/lecture tours will again include cooking classes (and talks) in schools for children of all ages, from kindergarten to high school students. Read about my amazing day in 2009 at The Selwyn School in Denton, Texas - and contact me for more information on how to offer a unique gift to our schoolchildren: Italian cooking classes and talks on Italy/Italians in schools. Children's classes can also take place in private homes upon request.
Click to enlarge photoPrepared and served by me for your guests - for those who simply wish to "feast" without cooking it first!
Number of guests: 12 minumum and 16 maximum
Cost? Hosts buy food and makes $190 contribution to my travel expenses. $95 per person (and assistant requested - of your choice - for help in preparation, please)
What time of day? late morning or early evening
What is needed? I will send the shopping list, menu, recipes and utensils required ahead to hosts. I will fully prepare all the meal (with assistant chosen by hosts - no previous experience needed at all!)
Optional Addition to Cooking Lessons or to Umbrian Dinners
Let's spark up the evening with entertainment! My talk on "Italian Gestures" prior to cooking classes or Umbrian dinners ("a glass of wine and..." ... gestures!) will start off the evening with gusto! (Optional addition to the evening - at no charge.) Another option: prior to our Umbrian banquet, a brief introduction to the Umbrian land and the Umbrian rural people (who taught me to cook), illustrated in a DVD
Click to enlarge photo
When my husband Pino and I moved here to the countryside outside of Assisi in 1975, we both set out to learn all that we could about rural life from our farm neighbors. They taught us how to raise a variety of animals - guinea fowl, geese, chickens, ducks, rabbits, pigs, sheep, goats - and how to best serve them at table! Every winter, one of the pigs was transformed into prosciutto, capocollo, sausages, pancetta, and salami (see Zsa zsa's Story). Chiarina taught me how to make pasta and where to find the wild mushrooms. From Mandina, I learned where to find wild asparagus, the tenderest field greens for salads and how to conserve the garden's vegetables sott'olio, how to preserve figs and other fruits in a variety of ways. Emma and Gentile shared other secrets - and I am still learning from Peppa.
The cooking that I have been doing ever since has been the cucina povera of Umbria's rural people, the cooking of people who ate only what they grew - with very few "intruding" elements - as their income did not permit extras. The Umbrians proudly call this delicious simple food of their rural ancestors, "la cucina genuina". No other cuisine so generously combines goodness and freshness. The Mediterranean diet lives on in this cucina umbra.
In my cooking lessons, I now and then add a dish learnt during the years I lived in Rome - or on our annual summer visits to my husband Pino's family in Palermo, Sicily where my wonderful mother-in-law, Signora Vincenza, shared so many culinary secrets with me.
Read more on Umbrian food/wine lore - and the people who taught me their culinary secrets
Click to enlarge photoI'd like to share with you now and then, a taste of la cucina genuina of Umbria, dishes taught me by my rural neighbors, passed on from generation to generation. I learned to cook with my farm neighbors by watching and tasting. None of them had ever cooked from a recipe - or even seen one! All quantities in the recipes I share on my site will therefore be approximate. Enjoy. Buon Appetito!
Click here for my recipes
Cooking Classes in the U.S.
"The cooking event in our home with Annie proved to be one of the most lavish, decadent, and memorable parties we've ever given. All hands pitched in with vigor. Every dish, pot and utensil we owned flew about the kitchen in a crescendo of activity. Wine flowed, garlic sizzled, chocolate oozed and steam and laughter mingled overhead. At the end of the evening every guest chef sighed deeply, leaned back, settled their hands across a sated belly and gazed dreamily off toward Umbria. Magnifico!"
Terry Smith, Piedmont, CA
"Not only was the evening filled with learning how to cook and eat the most fabulous food, but included wonderful stories of Anne's life in Assisi and how things have changed over the years. It was definitely a 'Top 10' evening and we'll remember it forever."
Scott and Ann McClellan, Lynnwood, WA
Cooking Classes in U.S. Schools, K-12
"How delightful it was for The Selwyn School to host Anne Robichaud! Her love, pride and knowledge of Italy brought it to life for our children and adults alike. We all learned so much about Italy and look forward to seeing Anne next in her corner of the world."
Adina Heller, Director of Development The Selwyn School, Denton, TX