Eat local: Cooking class at Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

Sorrento Harbor in the Bay of Naples, looking north to Mount Vesuvius across the bay, Sorrento, Italy

Sorrento Harbor in the Bay of Naples, looking north to Mount Vesuvius across the bay, Sorrento, Italy

 

Sorrento, perched on a ledge between the water overlooking Naples and Mount Vesuvius, is a beautiful Italian town of 20,000 residents, with just as many tourists in the summer months (and sometimes it feels like even more!).  Surrounded by lemon and olive groves, this gateway to the Amalfi Coast has a lovely old quarter (Centro Storico), a lively shopping district, a gorgeous rugged coastline, and friendly residents.

 

Piazza Tasso in the center of Sorrento, Italy’s Historic Center (Centro Storico), overlooking the Bay of Naples and the harbor (to the north)

Piazza Tasso in the center of Sorrento, Italy’s Historic Center (Centro Storico), overlooking the Bay of Naples and the harbor (to the north)

 

On the edge of Sorrento, Italy, a small group of us participated in a hands-on cooking class at Villa Ida, an inviting home surrounded by grape vines, fruit trees and gardens (where we dined on a sumptuous luncheon that we helped cook)

On the edge of Sorrento, Italy, a small group of us participated in a hands-on cooking class at Villa Ida, an inviting home surrounded by grape vines, fruit trees and gardens (where we dined on a sumptuous luncheon that we helped cook)

 

We joined a small group from our ship and participated in a cooking class at Villa Ida, an inviting home surrounded by grape vines, fruit trees and gardens.  The estate is owned by Ida’s daughter and granddaughter (who acted as translator for her mother); both served as our instructors, demonstration chefs and cooking chefs (with several assistants).  Charlie, the brother-in-law of Ida’s daughter, makes wines in Sorrento from grapes he purchases from friends’ vineyards nearby – local, naturally made wines with little fuss.  After our class and just before eating on the beautiful patio in the garden, we had the opportunity to visit his wine “cellar” and taste his 2014 and 2015 wines with salami and cheese.  With our luncheon we had both the red and white wines (“Charlie’s Wine” and “Ida’s Wine”).  The experience at Villa Ida was great fun, educational, and a surprisingly savory luncheon (that we had helped prepare!).  We left fully sated and ready to head back to the ship for a late afternoon siesta.

 

One of our appetizers was zucchini flowers lightly fried in a tempura-like batter, Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

One of our appetizers was zucchini flowers lightly fried in a tempura-like batter, Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

 

Our appetizer plates included the fried zucchini flowers, fresh tomatoes in olive oil, home-made focaccia bread, and burrata cheese; Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

Our appetizer plates included the fried zucchini flowers, fresh tomatoes in olive oil, home-made focaccia bread, and burrata cheese; Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

 

The simple ingredients for our baked pasta-  cooked penne pasta tossed in tomato puree, diced mozzarella cheese, diced eggplant that had been lightly fried (in olive oil), and Parmesan cheese for the top, Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

The simple ingredients for our baked pasta- cooked penne pasta tossed in tomato puree, diced mozzarella cheese, diced eggplant that had been lightly fried (in olive oil), and Parmesan cheese for the top, Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

 

The finished baked pasta was scrumptious at Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

The finished baked pasta was scrumptious at Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

 

Sliced potatoes with rosemary & Italian parsley tossed with olive oil & salt were baked in the oven to accompany veal scallopini that was slowly cooked in olive oil over medium heat and then served with a wine sauce, Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

Sliced potatoes with rosemary & Italian parsley tossed with olive oil & salt were baked in the oven to accompany veal scallopini that was slowly cooked in olive oil over medium heat and then served with a wine sauce, Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

 

We each made a small tiramisu after watching Ida’s daughter (our instructor who was assisted by her daughter who also translated) demonstrate the way to combine the ingredients, Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

We each made a small tiramisu after watching Ida’s daughter (our instructor who was assisted by her daughter who also translated) demonstrate the way to combine the ingredients, Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

 

Our ship at anchor in the Bay of Naples with Mount Vesuvius in the background, Sorrento, Italy

Our ship at anchor in the Bay of Naples with Mount Vesuvius in the background, Sorrento, Italy

 

2 thoughts on “Eat local: Cooking class at Villa Ida, Sorrento, Italy

  1. Lovely tile tables and beautiful pottery. Gosh, I just saw all of this yesterday! Also, we took cooking classes and it’s harder than it looks. I was sweating in the kitchen. Don’t know how the cooks keep it all together with so many things going at once.

    Like

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