If you are regular readers of Mudpie Fridays you will know that both Hubby and I love Italy. I would be lying if I denied the fact that part of our love affair with the country centred around the food and wine. So when I was invited to attend an Italian Masterclass hosted by the lovely Jo at Bookings For You and the Giovannini Family I was very excited. Especially since the Giovannini Family are very well known in Volterra with their highly prized pastry shop and tea room – Dolceria del Corso. This was especially interesting for me and a huge coincidence. Since we had visited Tuscany and Volterra last year and brought pastries from their shop.

Jo is an inspiration to us working mums. Not wanting to return to the corporate rat race after the birth of her second child she set up Bookings For You in 2010. Over the last eight years the business has grown to include 350 properties over eight regions of Italy. They have also just started to expand into France. The Giovannini Family home is one of the properties in the portfolio – Country Relais and Spa Le Capanne. All their skills are brought to the fore in the wonderful weddings that they now organise at the property. Its their base to showcase their culinary talents. Talent that I witnessed first hand a couple of weeks ago.

All the ingredients included in the masterclass were the family brought with them from Italy. The family prides themselves on only using fresh ingredients which they source locally from the best farmers in the region. The Giovannini family also produces their own Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Vera Toscana which was used throughout our experience. The menu we sampled on the day was designed specifically to show us how easy it is to replicate the recipes at home. Which scored brownie points with Hubby!

Starting with Antipasti we helped to prepared Bruschetta Toscanna (baked bread with extra virgin oil, garlic, salt & pepper), Bruschetta al Pomodoro (baked bread with tomatoes, basil, onions, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper) and Crostini con Fegatini (chicken liver crostini). I am not sure why but Italian tomatoes always taste so good. The chicken liver crostini is one of our favourites with both boys really enjoying it too. So its great now to be able to make it at home from an authentic recipe. I was very careful not to fill up too much on the antipasti – although I could have quite easily eaten the whole plate.

For the Primi course we watched the family make Ravioli Ricotta e Spinach con Pomodorini Pacgino e Basilico (ravioli pasta filled with spinach & ricotta cheese, cooked in basil & cherry tomato sauce). It wasn’t long until we were giving it a go ourselves. I really enjoyed filling and cutting out the ravioli, there was something very therapeutic about crafting the little parcels of pasta. We have even discussed getting a pasta maker at home because if it… Our Primi course also included Pici all Etrusca (homemade pics pasta with eggs, garlic, parsley, mint and basil, pecorino cheese, extra virgin olive oil and salt & pepper).

The Secondi Piatti was something we had all been looking forward to – leg of wild boar baked in the oven with olives – Coscio di Cinghiale algi aromi con Olive. The boar had actually been shot by Giancarlo on their land, so you cant get more local than that! The family explained how we could swap the boar meat out for venison or lamb and how to alter the cooking times depending on the meat used. There was so much anticipation for this dish, since it had been cooking for three hours and it really didn’t disappoint.

To finish off the meal Vera made Tiramisu. Followed by Millefoglie Bellavista. Bellavista means constructing the cake infront of everyone. This is something the family does for Weddings or parties held at their property. It was really quite something to watch, several layers of pasty, chantilly cream and berries. All assembled under the expert eye of Giancarlo and his wife Fabiola. It came together so easily and with minimal effort. It finished the meal off perfectly and made me long for an Italian wedding… or vow renewal.

I had a wonderful day with Jo and the Giovannini family. Its really ignited my passion for Italy and I can not wait to explore more of what the wonderful country has to offer…. and some more of the food (sorry waistline).


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  1. Lynn Neal

    Italian food is my favourite and your ravioli look wonderful!

  2. Tee Simpson

    I love Italian food. I would love to do a masterclass

  3. Natalie Crossan

    Bellisimo! Italian food is my absolute favourite, I wish I could cook more of it 😀

  4. Jeanette Leighton

    I love Italian food I seem to have trouble to stop when I start eating pasta and especially love parmesan cheese

  5. jo liddement

    Tiramisu is my all time favourite Itallian dessert. Such delicious food

  6. Lorna Ledger

    That all looks delicious! the Millefoglie Bellavista in particular, I think Italian, and Spanish Tapas are my favorite type dishes

  7. Lia Burns

    Wow some amazing looking dishes the bruschetta is one of my faves mmm! Can’t beat Italian food it’s so much more than pasta and pizza a

  8. paula cheadle

    I love everything on this menu, yummy

  9. Gerri Tennant

    The whole meal looks amazing and very inspirational. The Tiramisu is very different to what I thought, I may try to make one like it now. Thank you for such a lovely article.

  10. Neha Chauhan

    What an amazing time you must have had! Looking good and yummy tasting food!

  11. Karen Usher

    The food in the pics is making my mouth water!!!! Looks amazing and I would love to do a class in this as well. I’m cooking spag bol tonight now…..this is as far as my Italian cooking goes

  12. Laura Britton

    I love Italian food but I’m never that ambitious in my cooking of it.

  13. Sarah Austin

    Looks like great fun! I love the Italian food

  14. Karen Hughes

    This looks amazing. Fantastic way to learn new skills

  15. Hayley Colburn

    I do love italian food, has to be proper Italian though not pasta bake from a jar or frozen pizzas

  16. Margaret Gallagher

    Oo wow inspiration and delicious good – wouldnt mind MYSELF

  17. Tracy Nixon

    This would be the ideal day out for me! I love Italian food. Great photos!

  18. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    What an amazing opportunity. I love Italian food but am not so great at cooking! #bloggerclubuk

  19. That looks amazing, we love Italy and try and make at least one trip there a year x #ukbloggeruk

  20. Helen @talking_mums

    I’d love to do a day like this. I love cooking and yes Italian food is fab. So simple but Bruschetta al pomodoro is so so tasty x

  21. Sara @ Magical Mama Blog

    My mouth is watering! This all looks so delicious! I wish the produce was better quality in our area so we could have a delicious authentic meal like this! Thanks for sharing with #BloggerClubUK

  22. Heather Keet

    I want to eat all of that!!! I drooled on my keyboard. #BloggerClubUK

  23. mummy here and here

    Wow, the food looks incredible, what an a amazing event to attend an #bloggersclubuk

  24. Love cooking proper Italian food! It is a little bit harder when you’re trying to go high fat and low carb, but nothing wrong with a cheat day scoffing down some fresh pasta!

  25. Becky @ Educating Roversi

    So my surname is italian, my husband is half italian, my FIL is italian and we have an italian restaurant in Leeds BUT i have never been to italy!!!!!! It upsets me every day – ha ha! We do have a lot of italian food though, given the restaurant and I like it….although its not as good when you can have it all the time. I can cook a Spag Bol but I’ve never made my own pasta. #BloggerClubUK

  26. OMG how fantastic does this experience look. I am now starving and think I will be having Italian tonight (although not as nice as this!!)

  27. Naomi Hassan

    That food looks absolutely incredible! #BloggerClubUK

  28. What an amazing experience! It’s made me really hungry looking at all of that delicious food! #BloggerClubUK

  29. Gemma - Mummy's Waisted

    Wow, those photos are amazing, it all looks incredible! Maybe I could come in your suitcase next time?

  30. Tracy Albiero

    You are my HERO!!!! I would love to know how to cook like that! It all looks very good!! #bloggerclubUK

  31. Reading this being an Italian expat was a big big big mistake
    *books a flight ticket*
    Great post and pictures!

  32. Morgan Prince

    I am SO hungry now – the meat and bruschetta look SO good. Ugh it’s posts like this that make me wish I wasn’t on a diet!

  33. Oh wow – what an incredible experience! I absolutely love Italian food; the rich flavours and all the pizza/pasta 🙂 #BloggerClubUK

  34. Five in the hive

    Oh wow, everything looks so delicious. I love that they cook with all fresh ingredients. Yum! #BloggerclubUK

  35. Jenny Curtis

    Oh goodness, this all looks so tasty! I love the pasta and the bruschetta especially look mouthwatering. Thanks for sharing #BloggerClubUK

  36. OMG I’m salivating looking at these photos. Looks like you had a wonderful day. #bloggerclubuk

  37. Hi, what an find and delightful way to spend the day. I love Italian food especially bruschetta #bloggerclubuk

  38. Beth @ BethinaBox.com

    Oh wow! If I’m honest I’m a bit of an Italian cuisine lover too. I would love to learn to cook the Italian way. Yum!

  39. What a cool thing to do! I LOVE Italian food and I often wonder if I’m butchering the classics!

  40. Siobhan | The Baby Boat Diaries

    Ooh those pictures have made me feel peckish! The food looks delicious! What a great opportunity for you x

  41. I love love Italian food and this looks amazing! I can never cook the food to perfection though. This looks really good fun!

  42. All about a Mummy

    What an experience! I love Italian food so this had me hooked! The ravioli looks epic.

  43. Ondo Lady

    Oh I like the idea of this. It sounds like so much fun. I adore Italian food so this would be perfect for me.

  44. Claire @ The ladybirds adventures

    This my ideal day out! I love Italy and the food too. it all looks delicious!

  45. Elizabeth

    That food looks utterly amazing! The picture of the wild boar has me salivating. I do so love Italian food too. 🙂

  46. Laura Dove

    Oh that is my idea of the perfect meal! I LOVE Italian and it’s my favourite cuisine hands down. It looks like you learned lots and the food looks amazing!

  47. Laura's Lovely Blog

    Wow this food looks so delicious, Italian food is some of my favourite too and I would love to visit Italy too. What a fab event and a great opportunity to meet an inspirational person too.

  48. Laura - Dear Bear and Beany

    I adore itailain food, always my first choice! In fact I just love Italy and everything about it. This looks like a lovely event and you did well x

  49. Michelle Twin Mum

    Oh Claire, you lucky, lucky girls. How fab that you visited the Giovannini Family’s pastry shop last year. This looks he best event and your raviolli was excellent. What an amazing day you were part of. Mich x

  50. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    This looks incredible, what an experience! I absolutely love Italian food and Tuscany in particular, so it’s right up my street. That wild boar sounds and looks fabulous!

  51. Su Chanprasong

    What a fun experience, I love Italian food it is so fresh and filling. Bruschetta is yummy.

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