You're not bound to be short of things to do on your trip to Rome. But for those looking for a unique night out in the "Eternal City," look no further than Eating Italy Food Tours' new Cook Dinner with Nonna class.
While cooking classes in Italy are a dime a dozen, most of them are hosted by chefs and culinary experts. This class, on the other hand, brings a whole new dimension to the table. (Excuse the pun!)
The company has engaged two real Roman nonne (or grandmas) – "real" Roman, they say, because the Romans maintain that unless you have seven generations of Roman blood, you ain't the real deal.
Nonna Bruna puts guests to work in the kitchen — Photo courtesy of Eating Italy Food Tours
Nonna Bruna and Nonna Antonella are each the stars of their own class, during which (with an English guide and assistant, because neither speaks a word of English) they teach you how to make Roman and Italian specialties. And not in the fancy culinary school kind of way, but in the old-fashioned way. This is how they've been preparing them for their own families for decades.
During the class, up to eight participants get to cook a four-course meal alongside Nonna, using fresh and seasonal ingredients, and then sit down and enjoy the meal alongside local wine.
Each of the nonne puts her personal touch on the menu, which changes from season to season. But it always includes a popular antipasto like carciofi alla giudea (Jewish-Roman-style artichokes) or melanzana alla parmigiana (eggplant Parmesan); a first course of homemade pasta or gnocchi; a second course featuring the classic saltimbocca alla romana (veal with prosciutto and sage) or meatballs; and dessert, which is usually the ever-popular tiramisu.
And Antonella and Bruna make sure nobody is cooking on an empty stomach; they kick off the class by offering a glass of Prosecco and light snacks.
The stars of the show really are the nonne, who dazzle guests with their charm and family stories.
Cook Dinner with Nonna really is an event like no other, and it's one of the most unique ways to spend an evening in Rome. There are few experiences that bring you inside the lives of locals the way this cooking and dining experience does.
Eating Italy's Cook Dinner with Nonna class is held twice weekly at 4:30 p.m. It's open to adults ages 18 years and up. The class runs for about 4 to 4.5 hours and costs €80.
Bookings can be made directly through the Eating Italy Food Tours website.