Our busy lives don’t necessarily allow for much time for the things we love, however on cooking holidays in Italy for a full week you can indulge yourself in all aspects of Italian food and cuisine. Within beautiful surroundings you will learn more about Italian cooking and the importance of the right ingredients whilst at the same time enjoying a holiday in a villa which has been lovingly restored and full of charm.
Mornings will allow you to breathe in the scents of a Tuscan hillside before having a leisurely breakfast and then donning apron for morning’s serious involvement with techniques and only the freshest produce.
Some days there is an opportunity to explore the markets which proliferate across the country and make Italy such a gastronomic assault on all the senses. Any serious cook or food passionista will not be able to resist the pleasure of an Italian market in full swing.
Some of the most hypnotic food markets in Italy will inspire you also give you an insight into what Italians really think of their cuisine and how much passion they devote to it. A cooking holiday with Italian cookery lessons can be a life changing experience and certainly your need to prepare sumptuous Italian dishes is something you are going to have to live with ever after!
So, is there a food market we might recommend for those who have lost their lust for life and want to give their taste buds a work out? This is a difficult call to make as there are different markets every single day and each region has its star but we think Ballarò food market in Palermo Sicily takes some beating.
Ballarò is not just a market; it is an experience, a meeting place, a space in which to worship all the beautiful produce which grows with such intense flavour in this southernmost region of Italy. The wonderful thing about visiting a market is the increasingly rare luxury of time and with a knowledgeable guide you will come to a real understanding of what Italian cuisine is famous for.
It is difficult to keep your eyes still, however, or your nostrils from twitching as you wander through the hanging cured meats, the stalls filled with shrimp, squid, scallops and the blackest of squid ink that reminds you of looking into an abyss. You can pore over olives with or without sea salt, marinated in Rosemary or fennel seeds. Learn how to distinguish only the best olive oil and marvel and the aromas and colour of balsamic vinegar unlike anything you buy at home.
Throughout your exploration you will be assaulted by the ubiquitous sound of a Vespa dodging in and out of the side streets, hear the shouts and requests to sample wares. Take your pick of fried polenta, aubergine slices and small treats which seem to burst with intense flavours.
Salamis, prosciutto, tiny balls of Mozzarella languishing in their milk baths, locally produced lemons and oranges and the subtle temptation of pizzas and fresh bread complete the experience. How can anyone compare this sensual assault with the pumped smell of bread we tolerate from supermarkets those temples to pre-packed ingredient obscurity.
Italian markets are rude in every sense of the word, they are full frontal, passionate and inspirational.
If you are inspired to explore some of Italy's most authentic food markets that will help you appreciate Italian food culture why not join Flavours cookery holidays for New Year?