to La Cucina di Rina (Rina's Kitchen)
Cooking classes at Villa Sampaguita
Piedmont is famous throughout Italy for the excellence of its cucina
(“kitchen” in Italian, like French cuisine) and it is
notable that most of the cooks in the restaurants are women. Yes
there are male chefs in the more expensive and arty restaurants,
but since many small osterie and trattorie are a family business,
mother is the cook and you will always be served by the owner, either
father or son and even in the many of the famous fancy restaurants
a woman is the chef.
Over the years since we arrived in Italy, Rina has evolved from
a naturally talented cook into a great Piedmontese cook following
the local tradition. Creations from old traditional dishes to modern
and sophisticated - more than a home cooked meal, using organic
high quality ingredients and vegetables from kitchen garden picked
according to the dish.
When we first opened, we offered our guests home-cooked dinners
as a rest from all the marvelous Piedmontese restaurants that abound
in the area and also an opportunity to eat with other guests in
a relaxed and comfortable home setting. As word spread, her cucina
has become a fixture that many returning guests look forward to
on their arrival.
Rina’s basic concept is quite simple: organic vegetables directly
from the garden to the table, fresh made pasta from our own farm
grown wheat, a range of anti-pasti made in typical Piemontese ways,
and all served with Villa Sampaguita wines from our organic vineyard
and vinified in our cantina in traditional method. We buy our meat
and poultry from the local macelleria as we haven’t yet made
the decision to raise animals for slaughter, although our chickens
provide range fresh organic eggs (read low cholesterol) for breakfast
and pasta dishes.
Breakfast is served in the main dining room, with tables outside
for the summer months, and is a buffet selection of cereal, fresh
made pastries and bread, seasonal fruit and fresh eggs served to
order, always with fresh squeezed orange juice and Italian coffee
or English tea.
Dinner normally consists of at least 2 antipasti courses, either
a fresh made pasta or risotto primo piatto, a secondi piatti of
veal, beef, venison or chicken, (fish on request) served with a
vegetable plate and a home-made desert. As Tim is basically a vegetarian,
we can offer delicious dishes without meat on request. Quite often
in the summer months we eat outside (alfresco), sometimes with a
barbecue to fit the occasion.
Many of our guests encouraged Rina to offer informal cooking classes
as they were always in the kitchen wanting to know how meals being
prepared, so in 2007 we started offering cooking classes, which
were enthusiastically attended. Year 2008 cooking session participants
will prepare a four to five course meals from antipasti to desert,
with recipes suitable to someone’s busy life style. Even for
experienced cook who want something different from simple to dinner
Our basic cooking session costs 60 euro per person, which, of course,
includes the dinner and wine, as well as a copy of the recipe. We
prefer a minimum of 4 people. Please request the cooking session
when making your booking.
This year we are also offering a multiday cooking course as part
of one of our tours, to include visits to wineries and local restaurants.
Please contact us for details.
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