Monday, June 25, 2012

Just Say...Cheese!

Can’t tell the difference between a Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano well Melody of Cooking Vacations and our in-house cheese expert can help you choose, taste and cook with that!

Melody recently earned her certification as an Assaggiatore di Formaggio or Official Cheese Taster from the Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Formaggi (ONAF). She has a diploma to prove it!

So if you're trying to figure out where you need to travel to learn to make true Provolone Del Monaco or taste the best aged Pecorino Toscano or just wondering what cheese to pair with her monthly Wine Picks just drop us an email at and we'll be be happy to assist you!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cooking Vacations Summer Recipes From Positano

Flowers from my garden, view from my terrace, fresh fish in our Cooking Vacations Kitchen, Positano.  Easy summer cooking at Cooking Vacations where we use local, seasonal & organic ingredients.  Turn ordinary fish into delicious bites with this Positano recipe,....

Mamma Marie Lucia’s
Pesce All’Acqua Pazza ~ Fish In ‘Crazy Water’
Serves 4

2 lbs Fresh White Fish, such as Cod, Sea Bream or Sea Bass
Extra virgin first-cold-pressed olive oil
2 cloves Garlic
7 Cherry Tomatoes
Dry white wine
50 g Fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt, to taste
1 red chili pepper

Fillet fish or leave them whole as desired.

In a large pan, add enough olive oil to coast the bottom of the pan, warm oil over low to medium heat.  Add smashed garlic cloves and chili pepper, and sauté until blonde.  Add the washed and cut in half cherry tomatoes.  Remove the garlic.  Add the fish and nestle it in between the tomatoes.  Add parsley.  Add about a half cup of dry white wine, a little more if needed.  Salt and pepper to your tastes.  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes if fillets, or about 20 minutes if whole fish. 

Serve hot with a generous garnish of fresh parsley.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Celebrating Sant'Antonio

Once Upon A Time At The Villa San Michele di Axel Munthe…

On Friday, June 9, Annarita, our friend, talented guide to Capri, and local Anacaprese, invited us to a special event at the Villa San Michele.  Axel Munthe constructed this villa on the former site where Tiberio once had his villa.  And each spring for the festival of Saint Anthony, Munthe opened up his garden and villa to all the Anacaprese.  There would be wine, desserts and dancing.  Annarita and the small art partons at CapriInArt, a cultural association, hosted an elegant party that recreated what Munthe has done many years ago.  Pacchianelle, traditional women dressed in Neapolitan custom, fried up Panzarelle & Ravioli Caprese fritte, while chocolate wheels of Torta Caprese and wine from Tiberio Cantina were passed to all.
Pages from Munthe's Villa San Michele were read aloud and the group moved through the gardens and an old fashioned black and white picture show was displayed on the inside cappella of the church.  

Today, June 13 marks the feast day of St. Anthony, the patron saint of Anacapri.  It is a much anticipated festival in the small town of AnaCapri.  An ancient statue of St. Anthony is carried on the shoulders of devotee through the narrow streets of the town. Shadowing behind is a procession of children dressed in long tunics reminiscent of Franciscan monks. Bread is blessed, called, pane di Sant’ Antonio and given to all, followed by handfuls of genistra, broom flowers, bougainville and hydrangeas thrown in the air. Locals have decorated their homes and balconies with flowers and trays called guantiere. Once the statue reaches the town’s center it is placed on an altar where he will remain for two weeks.
Visitors and locals can partake in an entire week of festivities scheduled in honor of the saint. The Villa San Michele de Axel Munthe is open free of charge and in the evening, musical events are held on the Piazza Victoria, and fireworks shoot of in the wee hours.

E per la gran devozione - si deve fare un buon boccone! ~ And for the great devotion - you must make a tasty morsel           
- poet, Francesco Alberio

Try making your own buon boccone using our very own Chef Maria’s recipe for Savory Brioche
Brioche Salata~ Savory Brioche

For the Dough:
3 ¼ cup Flour ‘00’
4 Fresh Eggs
7 tbsp Butter
5 ¼ tbsp Brewer’s Yeast
½ cup Milk
A pinch of Salt

For the Filling:
½ cup Baked Smoked Ham, diced
½ cup Salami, diced
½ cup Fontina cheese, diced

Place the flour on the pastry board, preferably wooden, and create a hole in the center. Break the eggs and butter in to the hole along with the brewers yeast, the milk and the salt. Mix together until you have a uniform dough.

When the mix is well combined put the baked smoked ham, salami and the fontina cheese inside and mix all with your hands.

Put the mixture into a baking pan, lined with butter and flour, and place in the oven for 45 minutes at 180°C (350°F).

Join Us In The Kitchen & See What's Cooking!

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Read About All the Nice Things People Are Saying About Us...

Check out our page on  

“Cannot say enough about the experience!”
-Doug, Washington, DC

"I would recommend this to anyone even if you don't have an urge to cook because it is a great way to be involved in the local environment and really get a feel for the place, the culture and the people."
-Barbara, Sydney, Australia

"I am still cooking the amazing dishes I learned on the trip and have a new appreciation for lemons! I would highly recommend Cooking Vacations. I treasure the memories and recipes of my adventure in Positano."
-Joey, Los Angeles

Lauren was very helpful setting up additional things for us to do when we asked, such as finding a local spa for massage, making dinner reservations, and booking personal tour guides (who were also great). I highly recommend this company.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Happy Festa della Repubblica!

Time to bring out your green, white, and red! Today marks a key event in Italy’s history. On par with Independence Day, June 2 in 1946 Italians voted on a referendum to end their kingdom and establish a republic. Rule by the House of Savoy ended on June 2 with the birth of the Italian Republic. Celebrations, parades, and concerts are held throughout the country, but most eyes will be on Rome...looking up.  After the wreath laying ceremony and military parade the Italian air force, Frecce Tricolori squadron will fly above leaving a trail of green, white and red smoke in the colors of the flag.

You can spot the trio of colors in many Italian favorites such as in a Caprese Salad. Try this new take on the traditional dish, makes a great summer appetizer!

Caprese Spiedino ~ Tomato & Mozzarella On A Skewer

Serves 4

8-10 Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
8 Ciliegine, approx. 1-inch sized balls of fresh Mozzarella
Fresh Basil
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Oregano, to taste
Salt, to taste

On skewers, add ½ a cherry tomato, a leaf of basil, a ball of fresh Mozzarella, a leaf of basil and repeat until the skewer stick is full. 

Place each full skewer on a plate and once you are finished drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle a pinch of oregano and a pinch of salt over the top.