Taste of Italy at Phipps

Just finished up my 6th cooking class at Phipps Conservatory this past Monday and we thumbnail_IMG_3781had a great time!  Each class focuses on a different region of Italy with classic dishes and techniques from each one. A new fall series will be announced soon on their website so be sure to keep an eye out, they sell out quickly. Tuscany was the focus last week and we made panzanella salad, tuscan bean crostini, fresh pasta with heirloom tomato sauce, prosciutto wrapped melons, & chicken liver pate.  The classes are arranged in four groups of four people, each group cooks a separate dish or dishes, and it all comes together at the end for a nice meal paired with, in this case, Chianti. The classes are a lot of fun for me to teach, and the lessons are simple enough to try at home, but complicated enough that they kind of want me there!  This series of classes has refueled my desire to get back to Italy and share my past experiences with a great group of people who want to experience the true, behind the scenes look into Italian food and wine.  Details are slowly coming together for a spring 2020 trip thumbnail_IMG_3799beginning in Rome where a shuttle will await our group of 10-15 people and transport us to Umbria.  Still have a lot of minutia to plan, but the gist is that we will (in no particular order) visit a winemaker or two, cheesemaker, olive oil producer, butcher, farmer, etc. over a week span with meals and transportation provided along the way.  During these visits, we will begin to plan a menu for a feast that we will prepare as part of a cooking class similar to what we currently do at Phipps.   The ingredients gathered throughout the week will be featured, and we will enjoy the fruits of our labor.  This is a really exciting opportunity that we are beginning to put together, hopefully pinpoint some potential dates soon, and gather some wonderful people that will get to be amongst the first to launch this endeavor.  Space will be extremely limited to just 10-15 guests, so if you are interested in being put on an initial list (no obligations yet) please e-mail me at chefjustinmelnick@gmail.com with the subject line ‘Umbria’.  Please include first and last names of each member of your groups interested in attending, and we will begin communication on trying to secure dates and costs that will work for everyone.  Feel free to email me with any questions not related to the trip as well, always happy to give cooking tips, recipes, menu ideas, etc.  I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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