April 22, 2014

Life List # 3 - Attend a cooking class in Italy or, my Food adventures in Sicily – Part 2

… So here I am, back to Palermo airport. Nice to see again my luggage lost somewhere in Rome… and ready to meet the other participants to this lifestyle and cooking workshop.

We are twelve women coming from different background and culture... The promise of meaningful encounters…
Jana, talented artist from New York ; Angelica, poetic storyteller from Venezuela ; Ericha, my teammate in food styling exploration ; Heather, adventurous globetrotter from Canada ; Elyse, our chef next door from Brooklyn ; Zoe, one of the most attentive student when all in the kitchen, hands on cooking ; Melissa, meticulous food reporter from Philadelphia ; Kat, healthy writer from Canada ; Nicole, photographer with a cheerful laugh from Philadelphia ; and, Jasmine, my passionate roommate from Milan !

After a gourmet breakfast made of a large assortment of homemade jams, breakfast pastries… with lively conversation around the table… we get started with a tour of the Casa Vecchie estate… a gorgeous place…

The cookery school is in an elegant country residence surrounding a square courtyard where you will encounter Gino, the rooster and its court wondering around. Stepping outside the courtyard, you are blown away by the amazing landscape. Beautiful vineyard all around as the cookery school is located within the family estate where wine is produced.

Wherever you look, your eyes are instantly enthralled and so your camera… an inviting wooden stairs here take you to the vegetable garden and its hamac, a path there walk you to the winery across the rolling vineyard, or Oh look, another path ! And you get lost in the Sicilian countryside… Beau-ti-ful !

Serious things started soon with food styling, composition and photography sessions… Baskets full of fresh-cut vegetable from the garden, antipasti, props… Missing anything ? Just sneak into the kitchen ! Very interesting and inspiring to pair and to look at other participant settings and working process as well.

At some point, shooting food makes us hungry. Time to head to the kitchen. Early evenings would start with a cooking lesson.
All gathered in the open-plan kitchen with antipasti and a good glass of wine from the winery, we would be chatting. Fabrizia would start to cook telling more about the recipe, the ingredients, the culinary traditions…


Hands on would be more than welcome but hands would be busy shooting anything food related or, holding on a glass of wine…
After the antipasti would be all gone and the glasses would be empty, dinner would be ready to be served and we would all move to the large table to fill our hungry estomac after such a promising cooking lesson.
More wine, more passionate chat and loud laugher would go on and on all evening.

No need to mention that each dish is a feast for the senses… I still recall those amazing gnocchi di ricotta made with fresh ricotta, of course…

We visited a dairy farm where an artisan cheese maker demonstrated the art of ricotta making. From the sheep to the ricotta… from the ricotta to the gnocchi di ricotta!

Since it is all about food and photo, we went to Palermo at the largest outdoor food market for more food and photos. Imagine a group of twelve women wandering at the food market all together with their big camera, all shooting at the same time, the same aubergine, the same cauliflower, the same orange… oui, that was fun !

Our last day was very special. March 19th is Saint Joseph’s day, San Giuseppe in italian. In Sicily, people honor San Giuseppe for preventing them from starvation during the Middle Ages, with impressive altars. The altars are covered with food and flowers. The family members or villagers would gather for a week to prepare the offering.

We were very fortunate to visit the Saint Joseph’s altars in several villages around the cookery school…

That was a year ago and I recall amazing memories, food memories of course, but as well stunning countryside and nice people…
By the way, Béatrice announced another workshop in Sicily this coming October… Go for it, you are going to love it !!!


  1. Such a lovely report of a great workshop Sandrine! I wish I could go to Sicily this October. But I'll be in Sumatra then so also not bad right? :)

    1. Oh... I think Sumatra is going to be very nice. Enjoy!

  2. Superbes souvenirs.....Merci Sandrine. J'espère que tu vas bien. Très belles images.

    1. Oh oui, qu'est-ce que c'était bien... Merci, merci.

  3. I love it! I wish we could go back! haha Beautiful photos Sandrine! :)

  4. Thank you! A few pictures out of the several hundreds I took. It was so beautiful that you want to capture everything... Let's go back again!