Italian Cooking Masterclass with Bookings for You and Giovanni Enterprises
Italian Cooking Masterclass with Bookings for You and Giovanni Enterprises – Last week we attended an Italian Cooking Masterclass organised by Jo Mackay of Bookings for you with the Giovanni Family. When I initially got the email, I thought long and hard about how much I love carbs and then accepted with glee.
The day itself was fantastic. It was a wonderful and unique experience. I mean, first of all the kids weren’t with us and we were FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Yes we love them but we also loved the idea of a whole day of eating delicious food and having adult conversations for a change. So we set off like two over excited, overgrown kids.
The event was held at Jo’s home in Haslemere, Surrey. Haslemere is enchanting, picturesque, quaint and very scenic. It has a real charm about it. The roads leading to Jo’s home were full of lush greenery and billowing hills and Jo’s home…omg Jo’s home was just divine. I have never been to a more beautiful and well thought out home. Jo herself is possibly one of the loveliest people I have ever met. She exuded warmth and engaged with every blogger in the room and there were a lot of us! Both Jo and the Giovanni family have a real passion and enthusiasm for their own and each others respective businesses which in turn made us excited about their businesses.
Throughout the day we were reminded again of what we already know about Italian food. The emphasis is on simplicity and using only the very best ingredients. The family had brought the majority of the ingredients with them from Italy. The quality of the ingredients was evident from the way that the smell of the fresh herbs was the first thing that hit you when you walked into the kitchen. That was before any cooking had taken place.
As well as the delicious and incredibly fragrant herbs and vegetables, their olive oil deserves a special mention. It was so delicious, it is made up of seven types of olives and is completely natural and organic.
‘Vera Toscana is an Extra Virgin Olive Oil; the highest quality of oil you can obtain from olives. We gained our certification in 2017. Our olive oil is created in the purest form; no chemical agents are ever added and we only use ancient techniques to gather the olives and produce the oil.’
What I particularly appreciated was that they catered to our diets creating a separate vegetarian friendly menu for us and other Vegetarian bloggers. They were also extremely mindful about keeping us informed about what was ok for us to eat and even suggested Halal alternatives for everything we were not able to eat.
Bruschetta Toscana – Tuscan country bread sliced and baked (5 minutes each side under a hot grill or oven) and topped with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and Garlic – (A garlic clove is rubbed once in one direction on the bread after it comes out of the grill/oven, then it is seasoned and drizzled with olive oil).
Bruschetta al Pomodoro – Baked as before, seasoned , topped with diced tomatoes, minced basil, minced onions, minced garlic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Crostini con Fegatini – Baked as before and topped with Chicken Liver cooked in wine or stock, garlic cloves, sage leaves, salt and pepper and blended, then mixed with butter.
PRIMI PIATI – (FIRST COURSE)
Ravioli Ricotta e Spinachi con Pomodorini Pachino e Basilco – Ravioli with a ricotta cheese and spinach filling and served with a simple tomato sauce that is slow cooked using herbs, garlic, fresh cherry tomatoes (some whole, some halved)
Pici all Etrusca – Pici with a Parsley, Mint and Basil Pesto blended with boiled eggs, seasoned, drizzled with olive oil and topped with Pecorino. (Pici Pasta is made using just flour and water).
SECONDO E DOLCI – (SECOND COURSE)
Coscio di Cinghiale Agli Aromi con Olive – Wild Boar topped with sage leave, rosemary, garlic cloves, salt and pepper and olive oil. The slits had lard stuffed into them to keep it moist. The meat was tied together with string to keep it compact. It was turned midway and wine was added as well as fresh olives. This can be replicated with Lamb or Veal.
Parmigiana – Aubergines lightly floured and shallow fried very quickly each side (roughly a minute each side over a medium heat). Stacked with one aubergine slice and then mozzarella and repeated, seasoned and drizzled with olive oil. Baked for 10 minutes. Topped with fresh basil and a simple slow cooked tomato sauce as was used with the Ravioli.
DOLCE – (DESSERT)
Millefoglie Bellavista – Pastry, Berries and Custard layered dessert.
From the website of Giovanni Enterprises – ‘The most famous pastry we are known for is our Millefoglie cake. Our customers say it is unique, fragrant, crisp and delicate in flavor, offering the perfect balance. For weddings the cake itself is created and brought to life on scene, directly in front of your guests. They get to see first hand, how the cake is assembled, watching the mastermind Giancarlo create a cake to resemble the beautiful couple. But, the biggest wow factor is the cake itself, unlike anything you have tried before, it is truly melt in your mouth delicious.’
The most delicious dessert I have ever had in my life. SERIOUSLY.
Tiramasu – Ladyfingers dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs and sugar, and mascarpone cheese, flavoured with cacao. There was no alcohol used in the dessert and for people like me who struggle with coffee, the family mentioned that you can use milk instead of coffee.
In summary, we had the most fantastic day and I cannot speak highly enough of both Jo and the Giovanni family. We went home stuffed, giddy and feeling incredibly lucky to have had the experience. The family also gave us goody bags filled with Italian goodies. 🙂
I really should stop talking about the food now and tell you a little bit about Bookings for You and Giovanni Enterprises.
Bookings For You
Bookings For You was started in 2011 by Jo Mackay. Not only is Jo really sweet, she is also a savvy entrepreneur and mum!! The company has over 300 holiday villas and apartments in Italy and France. They cater for a variety of budgets and party sizes.
Exceptional customer service is of great importance to Jo and as such she personally visits every property in their portfolio. That means she is able to advise guests on the correct property for them. Jo did mention that she is aware that most people tend to book holidays after work and therefore she ensures that she is available in the evenings to answer any queries from visitors to the website/guests.
Giovannini Enterprises is a family run business that was established in 1984. They are based in Volterra, Italy. Giancarlo & Fabiola Giovannini are the original founders and the business is now run in partnership with their son, Dario and his wife, Vera.
Villa Le Capanne is a gorgeous converted farmhouse converted into a luxurious Rustic Country Chic Villa; perfect for destination weddings, business ventures and holiday getaways.
Giancarlo started out in the industry by working in the family pastry shop (at the age of 14!), Dolceria Del Corso. Over the course of 32 years, they have become known as one of the top pastry shops in Pisa. They have extended their reach from Volterra to Rome, Milan, Bologna and Turin and also internationally into France and Germany,
The pastry shop, is famous for their signature Italian Cake, Millefoglie which we were lucky enough to sample during the masterclass. It was the most delicious, melt in the mouth dessert I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
A Facebook review says:
”The villa itself has all the charm of rural Tuscany with authentic modern styling and breathtaking scenery from every opening. Dario, Vera and all the Giovannini family were fantastic from the very start. Their help and organisation was invaluable to our preparation and on our wedding day itself their service and attention to detail way exceeded our expectations. The food was to absolutely fantastic. We will be highly recommending this place for any special occasion and will be forever grateful for finding this gem. We are already thinking of our next big celebration as an excuse to come and stay again! Thank-you!”
More information can be found via their website here.
Miranda Gore Brown
We were joined on the day by Miranda Gore Browne who was a finalist on the first ever Great British Bake Off. She has written 2 books. She also teaches cooking and baking via ‘The Kitchen School.’ More info about Miranda can be found here.