Garga Cooking Class?
Has anyone tried Garga's cooking class in Florence? If not, any feedback on the restaurant is also appreciated.
Went to Garga about 10 years ago, excellent food though don't know about the cooking class. The saffron pasta was great.
I took the class 18 months ago. Great fun, and Sharon, a Canadian, speaks fluent English, which is helpful. You can pay extra for a market tour beforehand, where you buy all the stuff you'll be cooking with. That was surprisingly educational. Good class, good food, nice wines, nice atmosphere. I think she is now tending more towards 2 to 3 day cooking "tours" where you visit wineries, olive oil places, etc, but may still be doing the day classes.
Sharon is still offering the day class, and I have signed up for one in September. I am still debating whether or not to take the market tour - did you find it to be worth the extra time and money? I worry that six and a half hours of cooking class might be a little much for me. Also, what did you cook that day, and did Sharon have the menu prepared or take suggestions?
Thanks! Garga is one of my favorite restaurants, and I only hope I enjoy the class as much as I've enjoyed my dinners there.
Since I go to markets all the time, I wasn't sure I would find the market tour useful, but I did learn a few things and I'm glad I went. Before I took Sharon's class I had discovered agretti in the markets, and on the market tour I was able to ask Sharon about this vegetable. She also gave us pointers on how to choose artichokes and squash blossoms and I learned that thinner asparagus is not necessarily more tender (unlike in N. America). We got to ask questions of various vendors. We visited butchers and a cheese shop, etc. And given Sharon's art-history background, you may get some of that thrown in too. So yes, I found it worthwhile--plus of course just going to San Lorenzo market with someone who knew her way around. (The market tour begins with coffee at Garga.)
The class is held in her large apartment's large kitchen, and you aren't working constantly all the time. Among other things we made pasta, for instance, so we shared the mixing and kneading and rolling and cutting. There is chat and laughter. And of course that time includes a good couple of hours around the dining table eating and drinking and talking at a leisurely Italian pace.
Sharon has the menu prepared, but highlights seasonal ingredients. She provides a printed booklet that includes the recipes you made that day and wine notes. We also got a souvenir Trattoria Garga cloth market bag. We made a red pepper jam (which we had with a selection of cheeses but also took away a jar each), Garga's renowned Taglierini del Magnifco (pasta with cream, citrus zest and mint), veal cutlets with artichokes, and zabaione to have with fresh strawberries.