In December in amongst the madness of Christmas and preparing to start a new job I was lucky enough, once again to spend an evening at La Cucina Caldesi, with Head Chef Stefano and the Filippo Berio team for a night of Italian food and wine.
If you’re looking for a cooking class in 2019, put a Filippo Berio Supper Club to the top of your list. These nights leave me filled with contentment and joy – that’s the magic and power of Italian food and people.
Greeted with a warm welcome from the Filippo Berio team, promptly handed a prosecco and into my apron. We began the evening with fabulous focaccia and the finest drop of extra virgin olive oil, Olio Novello. The first olive oil from the November harvest. We did a tasting of this olive oil – with it’s grassy notes, a touch of artichoke and a peppery but smooth finish it was as good as you would expect! We also raised a glass to Filippo Berio himself who would have been 189 on that day (8 December 2018).
Time to get cooking. Chef Stefano talks you through the menu for the evening and explains at each station what needs doing for each dish. Everybody chooses an area to work on and you begin the prep for the various dishes. This always works well, as a group you’re preparing four dishes so you need to all work together to ensure the dishes come together for you to enjoy a feast at the end.
Every so often Chef Stefano will interrupt to explain the next part of a process so you know exactly how each dish is being prepared, and more importantly what you’d need to do to recreate them at home.
Between us we chopped, we rolled, we whisked, and what we created under the careful guidance of Chef Stefano and his team was mouth-wateringly delicious!
Olio Novello Menu
Zuppa di lenticchie e castagne
Lentils and chestnut soup
Calzone di Cipolle
Spring Onion and Leek Pie
Filetto di Maiale di Flavio alle erbe toscane
Pork tenderloin with Flavio’s Tuscan ‘dust’
Tuscan vegetable timbales in a Pecorino cheese sauce
Bietole saltate con aglio
Sautéed chards with chilli and garlic
Spongata con Crema al Mascarpone e Olio d’oliva
Nut tart with honey and mustard fruits with Mascarpone and olive oil cream
My favourite had to be the Filleto di Maiale, pork fillet served with tricolore vegetable timbales – simplicity at its finest. The seasoned pork was perfectly cooked and complemented by the pureed vegetables with béchamel sauce.
Luisa from Zonin wines was also on hand to guide us through four wines matched to each dish – her knowledge was brilliant and she talked so passionately about each wine, it’s region and method of winemaking. We finished on a Moscato d’Asti, I’m a fan of anyway, but this wine was the perfect end to the meal, slightly sweet and very refreshing.
As if I wasn’t glowing enough from plate after plate of delicious dishes and glass after glass of Italian wine, you leave with your very own Filippo Berio goody bag. It includes your apron, along with other goodies and gifts. This time we were lucky enough to take home a bottle of Olio Novello Extra Virgin Olive Oil too – it’s still sitting proudly on my kitchen side waiting for brighter days, and a hint of spring so I can pretend I’m transporting myself to an Italian olive grove.
If this has made your mouth water, your appetite grow, and has got you dreaming of Italy, then head over to Filippo Berio and check out their 2019 events – they’ve got 5 events this year, spaces are limited on all of them as they only seat a maximum of 24, tickets are £75pp and include a goody bag worth £30 – don’t miss out, book your space today!
Filippo Berio invited me to their Olio Novello Supper Club to feature and review the evening.