When most of Europe and the northern hemisphere celebrates Labour Day or May Day, in Abruzzo there is a wonderful food tradition each May 1, in a little corner in the north of the region. If you are visiting the northern province of Teramo in Abruzzo this spring then be sure to be there on the 1st May when an ancient food tradition will be featured all over the province.

Traditionally this time in May marks the end of the winter and the promise of spring. Food wise it was when the bare winter cupboards and pantry were emptied of what could be found and added with some greens of springtime. Hence the dish

“Le Virtu” (The Virtues) was created – a thick and hearty soup or ‘minestra’. It is a wonderful healthy and robust mix of dried legumes and beans, odd bits of dried pasta in varying shapes and lengths, some pieces of fresh or cured meats as well as fresh herbs and wild greens.

Every family in the province of Teramo had their own personal recipe and way of making it with what they had, so it was truly a peasant dish of the poor, known as ‘la cucina povera’. Today though, this type of cooking is appreciated again and has risen in it’s culinary heights and can be found in many restaurants in Abruzzo.

Le Virtu' a typical spring dish in Abruzzo
Le Virtu’ a typical spring dish in Abruzzo  (Photo from www.eventiteramo.it)

The variety of ingredients that were used led to great creativity in the kitchen. For example any of these typical fresh greens or foraged wild greens could be included, such as: wild chicory, wild asparagus, dandelion, silverbeet, spinach, artichokes, endive and borage. Legumes could be anything from lentils, borlotti beans, cannellini beans, chick peas, to fresh peas and broad beans of the season. Even the pasta could be a blend of dried pasta and some fresh pasta.

To flavour the VIRTU‘ dish many fresh herbs can be used such as sage, marjoram, thyme, celery, parsley, wild mint, wild fennel, dill and spices included pepper and nutmeg.

Wild Asparagus in Abruzzo
Wild Asparagus in Abruzzo

 

It is truly a feast for the senses!

On your next Italy vacation, tour more of Italy and a visit to Abruzzo is a must on your Italy tour programme where you can discover this seasonal celebration and other great traditional dishes.

If you want to try making this dish here is the recipe from Bon Appetit 

Well BUON APPETITO to you!

More Italian cooking is coming your way this summer – Saturday 10 February

Luciana will be hosting the next hands on cooking class:

‘A TALE OF 2 SUMMERS – Celebrating Summer and The Cuisine of Abruzzo in Australia’

 

fried stuffed olives Italy tours
fried stuffed olives – olive ascolane from northern Abruzzo area

Luciana your host for Italy tours

SPOIL SOMEONE YOU LOVE WITH A GIFT VOUCHER:

DATE: Saturday 10 February
TIME: 9.30am – 2.30 pm
VENUE: To be announced, in Brisbane.

COST: $160 (past cooking class guests only $140)

Come and Celebrate all things Italian this summer and relive your Italian holiday vacation and travels to Abruzzo as you cook up a storm with Luciana Masci. Learn the skills and secrets to make a superb 5 course Italian banquet..
Impress your family and friends and most of all have fun with food and with like minded people. Using only the freshest of ingredients and seasonal cooking, this class promises to impress for sure. Recipes have been gathered and passed down to Luciana and come from northern and central Abruzzo areas. You and your friends will create these Italian dishes from antipasti, pasta, meat and dessert. Great new recipes you can entertain with over our wonderful Australian summer.

Learn to make recipes including:
* fried stuffed olives (olive ascolane)
* summer spelt salad
* tortellini filled with ricotta and walnuts
* lamb with egg, cheese and lemon
* semolina and almond cake (parozzo abruzzese)

tortelloni hand made Italy tours
hand made tortelloni

 

lamb with egg and cheese Italy tours
lamb with egg and cheese

Classes often fill up (small classes only )..so reserve your places now.

GIFT VOUCHERS AVAILABLE ALSO –  So why not contact Luciana and her team at Touring Abruzzo now to reserve your spot?

Tour Italy with Luciana and relive your Italian memories with this great cooking class.
Contact Luciana luci@touringabruzzo.com or 07) 3102 4384.

OTHER CLASSES IN 2018:   MARCH 18 and APRIL 15

 

Italian Cooking Class with Luciana

“Tastes of Tuscany” Italian Cooking 

Sunday, November 19

La Dolce Vita continues with Luciana’s Italian Cooking Classes in 2017!

“TASTES of TUSCANY” Cooking Class
DATE:  SUNDAY  19 NOVEMBER, 2017
 VENUE:     Taya Kitchen 

                   Shop 18 / 254 South Pine Road, Enoggera, Brisbane

 TIME:        9.30am – 2.30pm

 COST:      $160 AUD per person

                   (repeat guests of Luciana’s classes: $140AUD)

Luciana is excited to team up with Taya in Brisbane to bring you an amazing Italian cooking day with her ‘TASTES of TUSCANY’ class.

Come and celebrate all things Italian and relive your Italian holiday as you cook up a storm in Taya Kitchen. Hosted by accomplished Italian cook Luciana Masci,  guests will experience the traditional culture of Italy’s regions of Tuscany and Abruzzo. Prepare authentic recipes passed down through generations of her family as well as other great recipes from Italy.

You will learn all the skills and secrets to make this 4 course Italian banquet.

Impress your family and friends and most of all you will have fun with food and friends!

Menu:

  • Crostini 2 ways – bread with rosemary, salt and olive oil & with mushroom, walnut and cheese
  • Pasta – master the fine details of making this delicious lasagne or ‘timballo’ using fine egg crepes and tiny meatballs 
  • Pork Fillet cooked in Honey Mead served with a Tuscan bean dish
  • Cantucci – make these fabulous almond or walnut biscotti

The Experience Includes:  Morning coffee/tea with Italian pastries.

Sit down lunch to enjoy this fine Italian banquet.

Matching Italian wines and dessert liqueur Honey Mead.

Hands‐on tuition, ingredients, recipe details, a souvenir apron.

A chance to take home some baked goodies.

COST: $160 per person (repeat guests of Luciana’s classes: $140)

LIMITED SPACES ONLY – PLACES FILL QUICKLY…
TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE:

Contact: Luciana Masci: luci@touringabruzzo.com
tel 07) 3102 4384

 
REGISTER  NOW
 
LAST CLASS BEFORE CHRISTMAS:
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2
‘Celebrating Abruzzese Cuisine’
Venue: Holland Park
Have more fun with Luciana as you make:
* fried stuffed olives;
* summer spelt salad
* tortelloni filled with ricotta and walnuts
* lamb with egg, cheese and lemon
* Parozzo Abruzzese – semolina and almond dome cake

 

Picture

IN THIS SECTION, I will write about the glorious TASTES of ABRUZZO which can be simple and also sophisticated, tastes which vary within the region itself and tastes which reflect the passion of its people and true artisans.
Here are a couple – Antonella and Dino, the most generous people and Dino is an artisan breadmaker.
How about the taste of freshly baked focaccia filled with grilled capsicum
(peppers) with egg and cheese – ‘peperone con cace’ e ove’ ?
You will find recipes archived or file in the relevant sections.

In my first cooking class for the 2014 season in Brisbane, Australia we will explore and have fun making these Abruzzese treats – baked and fried. You will see that olive oil (especially extravirgin olive oil) is used in all cooking. Butter is not a traditional ingredient in Abruzzo, unlike the northern regions of Italy so you will see how the flavour is fabulous and not to mention the health qualities!

Here is what we will be making in our Italian Bake off class:
Sbrisolonaa ricotta crumble cake with almonds and chocolate as well as an Italian crema and sour cherry version,
Pizzelle – crispy thin traditional Italian olive oil waffles, easy to make but so impressive. We will make 2 versions, both sweet and savoury. The sweet version has liqueur as a secret ingredient and the savoury version we will use saffron or poppy seeds and pepper!
Biscotti –
 rolled with fig jam and cocoa, Luciana’s very own flavour combination…so perfect to serve with any afternoon coffee
Crespelle –
 for a festive touch to celebrate the summer season we create these scrumptious sweet fritters made with a soft dough where we can add sultanas or aniseeds and sprinkle with sugar!