by Michelle Capobianco, Chef at The Cooking Lab
In March of 2020, The Cooking Lab, a brick-and-mortar cooking school in Port Washington, NY, had to close its doors due to Coronavirus restrictions. Initially, the idea of pivoting to a virtual format was daunting – the organization worried that the convivial nature of our in-person classes would not translate to online programming. However, we soon learned that our cooking students were eager for a creative outlet and grateful for human connection. Over the course of the fall semester, we had the privilege of collaborating with Vista Higher Learning on a series of cultural cooking demos and workshops with VHL professionals and educators. Our favorite aspect of every VHL workshop is the eager discussion that ensues after our cooking demo. We are inspired and amazed by the creative and innovative ways in which educators are introducing culture in their online classrooms despite the many challenges. The Cooking Lab is grateful to be a part of the forum created by Vista Higher Learning for the exchange of ideas and information related to teaching language and culture in this uncharted virtual world.
We wanted to share with you some special recipes from our Italian cooking class that was hosted alongside VHL faculty.
View below to download the recipes.
How to make Cantucci, also known as Biscotti
Access the Italian cooking class. Passcode: @qNj8.i*
The Italian Aperitivo
An Italian aperitivo is often described as being similar to the American happy hour, but in reality, it’s much more than that. An aperitivo is a pre-meal drink specifically meant to whet your appetite. The concept of the modern apéritif is generally thought to have been invented by one of the early creators of vermouth in Torino in the late 18th century. He claimed that his special combination of fortified white wine and various herbs and spices stimulated the appetite and was more suitable for ladies to drink than red wine.
The modern aperitivo in Italy generally takes place between 7pm and 9 pm – when Italians meet to relax over a glass of wine or a light cocktail and finger foods. Although the food to accompany an aperitivo is not meant to replace your dinner, in recent years, the “aperitivo cenato” – in which the aperitivo is used in lieu of dinner – has taken off in recent years among younger Italians.
The below link provides some classic aperitivo drink recipes, wine suggestions and a list of foods to accompany your cocktails.
Panelle (Sicilian chickpea flour fritters) & Affogato (Gelato “drowned” in coffee)
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