"I am a foodie, and my wife is a chef. Her ancestral roots are in Emilia-Romagna, and she's always wanted a chance to see where her family came from. She's also extremely interested in Emilia-Romagna for the food and culture. As soon as we heard that Sean Timberlake, friend and food preserver extraordinaire, was organizing an Emilia-Romagna tour, we instantly knew we were going. And this was before we met the marvelous Vanessa! The trip turned out to be far beyond anything we expected. The tour was very friendly, family like and comfortable. We had great accommodations and meals in the hotel. The various tours we had were all unique, fascinating, and simply amazing. We had no idea so much time and effort went into so many of Italy's products! It's wonderful to see so many old world traditons have continued to modern day, without resorting to automation or cutting corners. We ate our fill of prosciutto, drank delicious local wines and came home laden with vinegar, cheese, wine and salt.
Highlights: We ate literally the best fish meal we've ever had and are ruined forever. The fish was so fresh! Even living in San Francisco, we'd never seen/tasted anything quite like it. The pig butchery was awesome. We couldn't believe that a whole pig was reduced to a myriad of delicious pork products, in the span of a day. I dream about the pork stew they prepared for us that evening. Making pasta with Italian grandmas. We still laugh about how serious they were, and how anxious we were to gain their approval. Meeting Vanessa - she is a treasure chest of knowledge and information about Emilia-Romagna, and we absolutely enjoyed her energy, enthusiasm and excitement for her home.We came back with a newfound love and appreciation of Emilia-Romagna, and we are hugely grateful that we could take such a great behind the scenes tour, with truly outstanding people.We would absolutely do another event with them in the future.
- Alisha A
"This was perfect for me: I was able to travel with like-minded companions in a small, companionable group, led by someone who was born in the region and raised in a family in the food and hospitality business. I found the cost to be quite reasonable, and the accompanying peace of mind was priceless. We stayed in Vanessa's family's hotel, where we were treated as honored guests. Each member of the staff was professional, knowledgeable and personable. We ate. We drank. We laughed and shared stories. I felt completely taken care of. Vanessa did a masterful job of scheduling that made the trip seamless for me.
Vanessa and Sean make an excellent team. They are tireless, enthusiastic, caring people, and I can't wait until my next trip with them."
- Earline A.
"The trip was great! I learned a lot and had a great time. I was mostly interested in making tasty things out of the pig, but found myself getting caught up in the other classes as well. When Grandma said my pasta was "Perfecto!" I tried not to let it go to my head; however, my chest puffed out quite a bit. We had a great group of people on the trip, and all of the people involved with the trip were fantastic to us. Sean and Vanessa were the perfect hosts, and Vanessa's family went out of their way to make sure we had a great experience. I recommended this trip to anyone with an interest in real food who has a bit of a DIY attitude (i.e. any loyal reader of Punk Domestics)."
- Tony K.
"I have been on cookery courses before, all perfect technique and pristine presentation but this was something different: Raw, earthy foodlover energy oozing from every meal and every visit. The difference is due to Vanessa and her infinite family, each one of whom seems to possess a particular food talent and specialty being involved at every step with strong opinions being dished up almost as heartily as the food. A large lunch and a large dinner is what is needed to properly sample the region's offerings, and there was no skimping on these! Preparing food, sharing technical tips and being shown how it is done by people who love their craft left an indelible impression. Above all this course shows you that the cooking of Italy is not grand or fussy; rather, its excellence is borne of of small kitchens, each with their own recipe variation, of skilled hands working together and of tight links to local produce and producers. And that is a precious lesson."
- Rachel S.
"Visiting Cesenatico with Vanessa DellaPasqua is like visiting old family friends—friends steeped in the foods of the Emilia-Romagna. It's with warmth and generosity that these friends share their wealth of food knowledge and experience. Whether the teachers are artisans or nonnas, the experience is unique and unattainable without being there."
- Peter H.