Italy is especially famous for its history, art, upholding tradition and the importance of the family. What happens when you combine all these things? One answer is that culinary culture is produced, something that Italy is also famous for the world over. Tourists visit different parts of Italy every year and enjoy the many traditions found all over the country, satisfying various international palates.
Most tourists enjoy great meals and snacks at restaurants, trattorias, pizzerias or caffés. Unless they have local family or friends, they generally only hear stories about the great home-cooked meals many Italian families enjoy together, often gathering around the table on a Sunday afternoon.
Without trying to befriend strangers just to be invited to their homes, visitors can look into an evening with the Home Food organization, which matches people interested in learning about Italian cooking with the true experts: home cooks located all over the country specialized in regional cuisine who open their homes to interested guests.
This is no chef-organized cooking class with groups of 15-20 students each at their own kitchenette work station. But you might learn more at a Home Food evening than at one of these cooking classes, just by watching the home cooks at work and learning about the history of the ingredients and the various techniques used.
Guests need to register on the website (available in both Italian and English) before signing up for a meal, which generally cost around €50 per person, including wines. After registering, the next step is to find an upcoming event in your area. (Remember that Milano is located in the Lombardy region!). There are several participants in the city with a few different menu options to choose from, but be aware that since hosts are not professional cooks, they may be available only at certain times of the year.
When browsing the association’s website, you’ll notice that the women hosts are called Cesarine, in honor of the ancient Roman term used to refer to an important leader.
The Cesarine ladies use traditional recipes and products – no fusion or new age experiments – and stay as close to the original as possible. They also all have a passion for cooking, knowledge and understanding of the traditional recipes of your region or of Italy, to have the desire to share those recipes, to possess good communication skills, and the time and domestic space in which to receive Guests.
So when you have a hankering to eat a traditional plate of cassoeula in Milano, the real salama da sugo in Ferrara or the most authentic amatriciana pasta in Rome, all using the best local products, be sure to check out Home Food and enjoy!