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EXPLORING THE SHORE with Kellie Larson

Learning to make pasta at Villa Romantica

While I have always wanted to learn to make fresh pasta, I was very excited to take this class in particular after having read an article about the experience in Kia Ora magazine. The experience definitely didn’t disappoint!

Located at Villa Romantica off Glenvar Road in Torbay, Al Dente By Raffaela Delmonte is an Italian Cooking School, and as the website says, the school was founded, “to share her [Raffaela’s] love and knowledge of Italian regional cuisine, along with the fun and simplicity that being Italian means.”

Driving down the gravel road to reach this organic retreat, I saw the magic of this special, natural setting. Overlooking the scenic North Shore, all you can see is native bush, and all you smell is what’s cooking in the kitchen. I felt like I was in Italy. Without even starting the class itself, this experience felt special.
We started with a cappuccino and a freshly baked jam tart. With a quick introduction, we began to learn hands-on how to make homemade pasta, not per a recipe but rather based on our own feel and senses. Working with a partner, we watched Raffaela demonstrate and then we began right away trying to solve the mystery of pasta making (which by the way isn’t that hard) on our own – combining the egg and flour, kneading it, and knowing when to add more or less moisture.
It was so easy – and yet I was glad to have Raffaela there just to look over our shoulders, check our progress and provide us with more food to nibble on!
We made tagliatelle, cannelloni, ravioli and angel hair – we became regular pasta making machines, and to pair with these pastas we had organic pork sausages, tomato sauces, sage butters and spinach stuffing.
My favourite was the Sicilian pork sausage filled ravioli with sage butter sauce. The pasta was light and delicate, and I can still remember the amazing flavour. Plus, I felt very healthy and organic as Raffaela’s husband actually makes the organic sausages himself. Yum!
The food was incredible. The wine was exquisite. And after the three hour Saturday class, the experience put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. I couldn’t stop talking about it, and I can’t stop recommending it.
So, whether you want to learn to make pasta or learn the details of specific regional cuisine, take a look at Al Dente by Raffaela Delmonte. It is a truly special experience right here on the Shore!
Cooking with Raffaela Delmonte is friendly and informal, miles away from the stainless steel pro kitchens, the authentic Italian way. The ingredients are always seasonal and organic, and the classes are always fun and fully hands on! Feel as though you have been transported into the heart of Italy and instant relaxation.

Al Dente by Raffaela Delmonte. 277 Glenvar Road Torbay.
Classes include:Pasta; Pizza, Focaccia and Bread; Regional Italian. $120 per person. – or 09 473 8677.

by Kellie Larson