Chris and I first visited Umbria in 2011. And we have never been the same.
During that trip we took a half day cooking class with Letizia, who owns and runs Alla Madonna del Piatto, a lovely B&B and cooking school in the hills above Assisi. It was the highlight of our trip, a dream come true for me.
It was such a beautiful day filled with sunshine, great food and new friends. When the trip was over and we returned to Idaho, I dreamed of bringing my daughter back someday and sharing this experience with her.
When we moved to Italy earlier this summer, I knew we would be returning to Letizia’s, but wasn’t sure when. Then as mom and I were planning her summer visit to see us in Italy, I had a brainstorm.
We already knew we wanted to take her somewhere in the countryside for a long weekend, and it made perfect sense to combine that trip with going to see Letizia and learning more from her kitchen. Abby, Mom and I could take a class together.
It was a brilliant plan!
I had kept in touch with Letizia over the past few years, especially with our move to Italy this year. I contacted her and she was willing and able to fit us girls in for a half day cooking class, and even accommodated my request to learn how to make gnocchi as well as letting Chris and Ben join us later for lunch! What a wonderful friend!
We planned this jaunt to Assisi around our highly anticipated class, and as luck would have it, Letizia had recently added an apartment to her B&B lodging, so the 5 of us were able to stay right there at the Agriturismo. Heaven.View of Assisi View from B&B Under the pergola
The class was perfect. More like a day with friends, cooking together in the kitchen, learning and then later eating the food we had created with Letizia’s brilliant and kind guidance.
First we made eggplant parmesan, one of mom’s favorites.Cooking Class with Letizia Making Eggplant Parmesan Eggplant Parmesan ready to be baked
Next we started on the gnocchi. I was always intimidated by the thought of making it. Somehow in the kitchen with Letizia and friends, it was not overwhelming at all- but fun and interesting. The creamy zucchini sauce we made to accompany it was easy and delicious. I think it would also be great in lasagna.
See Letizia’s recipe for potato gnocchi, including a video here.Plating lunch Platter of Mixed cheese and honey Platter of mixed salumi Finished gnocchi Chantilly cream desser
Even though we were staying right there at the B&B, I found myself feeling sad as the meal was being served, because that meant the cooking and learning- which I LOVE was over.
We enjoyed a delicious meal together and talked about the things we had learned and shared our stories with my guys which had shown up just in time to eat with us.Lunch time
I didn’t have to leave right away this time, but I still wanted it to last forever. Letizia has created such a warm welcoming environment. By opening her kitchen and sharing her home, you become part of her family and she becomes a part of yours.
It was a beautiful day. We had time this trip to really explore the area and I fell in love even more with Umbria.
I can’t wait to return!
Grazie, Letizia. I’m so thankful for your friendship and hospitality.
Alla Madonna del Piatto Agriturismo and Cooking School