Florence Cooking Class-Girls Trip 2021

Including a pasta cooking class in our Florence Girls Trip 2021 itinerary was a “must do”. When in Italy and all! Well, I can now make pasta! The ladies and I spent an amazing day taking a private cooking class with Majla the owner of The Accidental Tourist. Majla picked us up in Florence and drove us out to her family’s villa about 25 minutes outside Florence. Of course, it was up a narrow twisty road with hairpin turns that she executed at high speeds. She was a great driver, but I can’t imagine doing this every day! Since we were all “ladies of a certain age” we got along great and chatted away throughout the day.

Twenty-four years ago, Majla and her husband started The Accidental Tourist, conducting cooking classes and also hosting guests in their villa. Tastefully decorated in a unique style, the rooms they rent are quirky and memorable. Majla and her husband live in these rooms in the winter when there are no guests visiting but, in the summer, they move downstairs and rent out their living quarters. I loved the bed in the kitchen. Majla explained that having a bed in the kitchen was routine so that any family member who didn’t feel well could still feel included in the family food preparation.

Their home, like many here in Italy, is populated with many branches of their extended family-four different family units. This 900-year-old villa has been in their family for six generations. It features a lovely outside play area for the entire family to enjoy. The tower, she explained, was built along with others all across Italy in the 1100’s to signal messages between local towns. Along with the tower, a well was built so her families have inhabited this homestead for many, many years.

The local square is named after her grandfather because he hid people in their tower during World War II. He was epileptic and didn’t have to fight in the war. Instead, he stayed home, and since he spoke German, he negotiated with soldiers to save his village and the people there.  Majla still has his 1899 piano. Her grandfather made his living with it and taught music at colleges and wrote music. He also was a music critic and translated Kafka into Italian and was a friend of Einstein’s cousin. What a family history!

We booked a private class just for the three of us, but you can also book to be part of a group experience, which will only have eight people max. Prices vary depending on the experience you book but it is well worth the cost especially given the unlimited headache-free Chianti wine for all guests. If you need even more reasons to book a cooking class, for every meal served The Accidental Tourist provides one meal for a homeless person. Win-Win!

Overall, making the pasta was not that time consuming and fairly easy to do. Eating the pasta was even more fun! After we made all the noodles, Majla’s husband Marco started cooking the pasta for our lunch. In the interim, we had some other dishes including the best tasting ripe figs I’ve ever eaten. What a feast!

Homemade pasta is very delicious and doesn’t even need a sauce. I learned that only Americans drown their pasta in sauce. The ingredients they use in the cooking class are 100% organic, non-GMO, farm-to-table. The pasta is low in gluten. Just some olive oil, grated parmesan cheese and maybe a pesto sauce. The bread isn’t great in Italy-no salt-but it can be used to soak up the sauces. Below are the pasta making steps we were taught, but I also watch the YouTube video through a link Majla shares to remind myself before I get out my pasta machine (yes, I bought the same one we used in class!) and start cranking out delicious pasta. Enjoy the journey!

This is what I learned in the class:

  • Use non-GMO flour and pinch of salt and stinging nettle and mix into pile on table. If you want to try something different, sprinkle some stinging nettle powder into your flour. This herb is used for medicinal purposes.
  • Make a well in dry ingredients and crack an organic egg in center. Use a fork to stir the egg and start then to incorporate the flour. Use just enough flour to make a dough ball. Use sifter and put ball in and sift rest of flour around it. It will collect just what it needs, and you can discard the rest.
  • Then start squeezing the dough from hand to hand. Use leftover flour to coat hands frequently.
  • Knead the dough with heel of your hand on the table, using weight and folding over.
  • When a glossy ball, cover in beeswax or plastic and rest at room temperature for up to 12 hours (minimum of 1 hour).
  • Shape the dough into long flat pieces and then start feeding into the machine to flatten further and make thin. Do one pass through for each number on the machine (1-6).
  • If you want to be fancy, you can put whole sage leaves rolled between pasta sheets after all thin and then go thru manual pasta machine again.
  • Cut strips of pasta (two fingers for length of noodles) and then feed into the pasta machine to make noodles. Majla recommends that the noodles should only be long enough to twirl into one bite on your fork.
  • Use hand cutter for shapes other than noodles.

Book a class with The Accidental Tourist directly on their website: The Accidental Tourist

  • If you’d like to stay after cooking, eating and drinking, you can BOOK A NIGHT at the villa and…
  • If you are a digital nomad, looking for a place to work, or simply a magical place to find inspiration BOOK A STAY at the villa. I want to do this next time I’m in Florence!

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