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Home Food: experience?

sinjawns Feb 21, 2011 09:30 AM

I wonder if anyone has had experience with the Home Food organization. I love the idea of it and although I subscribe to their bulletins I have never had a chance to attend one of the dinners.

They describe themselves, charmingly, as "Association for the safeguard and the exploitation of the traditional gastronomic-culinary wealth of Italy"

The current newsletter offers 37 dinners from one end of Italy to the other in March.
Here are a few examples: ( I have x-ed out the host names... don't know if there is an 'under the table' aspect to this)

Friday 18th March 2011 - Dinner at 8.30 pm
"The Torta del Latte of long ago"
with ** in VIGEVANO (PV)
o Goose meat salami with buttered crostoni
o Risotto with borlotti beans
o Roast Beef Certosina
o Cauliflower flan or Asparagus terrine
o Torta del latte (Milk cake)
Participation fee: Euros 39.90
Sunday 27th March 2011 - Dinner at 8.30 pm
“… And in a circle, the bagnacauda”
o toma di lanzo
o salame di Turgia
o grissini Rubattà di Chieri
o zucchine in carpione (courgettes) and frittata al verde (omelette)
o bagna cauda
o bollito misto, (boiled mixed meats)
o bonèt
Participation fee: Euros 39.90
Friday 18th March 2011 - Dinner at 8.30 pm
"From Cannaregio, the ancient tastes of the Moors"
with **in VENEZIA
o Dried cod with polenta
o Risotto with red chicory
o Sardines in saor
o Seasonal vegetables in oil
o Pincia
Participation fee: Euros 39.90
Wednesday 9th March 2011 - Dinner at 8.30 pm
"The first actor… foolish bread from Tuscany"
with ** in FIRENZE
o Crostini with chicken livers
o Bread soup
o Rabbit with garlic and rosemary
o Boiled white beans with olive oil
o Cantuccini from Prato dipped in the vin santo
Participation fee: Euros 39.90

Saturday 19th March 2011 - Dinner at 8.30 pm
For the love of the good cooking, the Chianti and its country towns…
with ***in AREZZO
o Try the shepherd's cheese with homemade jams and typical salami of the Valdichiana
o Yellow pumpkin soup with cinnamon smell and oil
o Baked arista of pork with seeds of fennel gradient with Vin Santo
o Roast potatoes cooked in sauce artist are
o Salad of the garden of the nearby countryside
o Apple cake with egg-flip cream
Participation fee: Euros 39.90

There was an article on this organization posted here last year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/700581, and here is the website: www.homefood.it

I would love to hear about your experiences with the organization: was the booking straightforward? Were you able to communicate with the host and other guests? How would you assess the quality of the food and the experience?

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  1. hychka RE: sinjawns Feb 21, 2011 05:23 PM

    Can't help you with your questions, but would like to add a few having looked at the homepage....

    How about us Italian illiterates? Would we be welcomed? Is there a way to get a translation or am I on my own to find an Italian?...Yes, I. Have several in mind to call upon.

    Are there dinners in Rome?

    Are these like "Hidden Kitchen" in Paris?

    6 Replies
    1. re: hychka
      zerlina RE: hychka Feb 21, 2011 05:41 PM

      No, it's not like Hidden Kitchen; the cooks are locals, not expats.

      If you click on the UK flag, you get the English version. There are several dinners in Rome; when you click on the (Italian) title, you get an English description of the meal.

      1. re: zerlina
        hychka RE: zerlina Feb 22, 2011 06:37 PM

        Thanks! We'll look into this for May 19th to 30th trip to Rome. It is even more appealing now that I can read the homepage...I love the idea and sentiment!! And, I registered.

      2. re: hychka
        AprilTwoCats RE: hychka Mar 1, 2011 06:10 PM

        We had the pleasure of having dinner with Emanuelle and Carlo in Rome. Their English was excellent and we stayed up until 3 in the morning with them and another American, discussing, food, politics, economics, travel, art.

        They make the same menu each month, so they were able to spend most of the evening with us. The ingredients are all local to Lazio and I believe the other Cesarini are required to use the same kind of local recipes. I thought the charge for dinner was very reasonable, as it included wine with each course and an after-dinner cordial.

        When we take our next trip to Italy we hope there's a Home Food family in the part of Piemonte where we visit.

        1. re: AprilTwoCats
          vinoroma RE: AprilTwoCats Mar 20, 2011 12:45 PM

          I have heard of the Cesaroni and find it very interesting, but have no direct experience. And I definitely have no idea what Emanuelle and Carlo cook but want to ask April: are you sure they cook the same menu every month? Because that would be cause for some concern, as it defies the seasonal cooking idea that good homecooks in Italy would be following....

          1. re: vinoroma
            minchilli RE: vinoroma Mar 21, 2011 01:13 AM

            In theory it's the same menu each month, but if you watch the video I did with them, you can see that when we got to the market, there were no artichokes, so she switched in zucchini. The idea is that there is a basic menu that they prepare, but change a bit according to seasons.

            1. re: minchilli
              AprilTwoCats RE: minchilli Oct 7, 2011 02:53 PM

              Minchilli is correct--the menu changes based on the season. Each month when HomeFood publishes the calendar, the menu each family is making is listed, so you can see whether you'd be interested in what they are serving.

      3. minchilli RE: sinjawns Feb 21, 2011 11:03 PM

        I have a lot of experience with Home Food and can recommend it 100%
        Don't worry overly about communication. The cesarine (that's what the hosts call themselves) are obviously open to meeting new people, and trying to communicate is what it is all about.
        Yes, booking is pretty straight forward. I would look at what is going on in terms of location and timing. But if for some reason you don't see something exactly to fit your schedule, drop them a note. Most of the cooks are very flexible and able to welcome guests for a specific date, especially if you are a group.
        For an inside look at HomeFood you can see this video I posted, when we did an entire segment on Home Food for Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie. This was a wonderful dinner prepared in Rome by a Sardinian woman, Paola. The food was fantastic, and the entire experience great fun.

        I hope this helps. And I really hope you get a chance to attend one of the dinners. The group is really doing great things to try to preserve cultural and culinary traditions.

        1 Reply
        1. re: minchilli
          sinjawns RE: minchilli Feb 22, 2011 02:48 AM

          Thanks minchilli-- great to hear from someone with personal experience. My last long stay was over the summer holidays when few dinners were being offered. I hope to hit at the right time on the next visit.

        2. hychka RE: sinjawns Mar 2, 2011 04:41 PM

          I'm hoping there will be something going on in Rome while we are there in late May.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hychka
            jen kalb RE: hychka Mar 3, 2011 07:44 AM

            I will look forward to hearing reports on some of these.

          2. e
            ElizabethS RE: sinjawns Mar 20, 2011 09:51 AM

            I tried to reach the organization 5 times for information regarding an event in Venice when we were there last month - the link on their website for the event was broken - and never heard back from them, which was too bad because I would love to have tried it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ElizabethS
              barberinibee RE: ElizabethS Mar 20, 2011 10:05 AM

              I experienced similar problems trying to communicate with Home Food when I was in Bologna. Perhaps if someone knows the people who run it they could point out the difficulties.

              1. re: barberinibee
                minchilli RE: barberinibee Mar 20, 2011 10:06 AM

                I'll send them a note.

                1. re: minchilli
                  minchilli RE: minchilli Mar 21, 2011 02:40 AM

                  I just spoke with Cristina Fortini, the head of Home Food. She is so happy that there is so much interest in the association. She said that they had recently changed their website, and so there were still a few problems to work out. But she begged you all to have patience, keep trying and they respond to all emails. She reminded me that they are a very small, non-profit organization, and doing the best they can. They only have a handful of people working for them, and when they get publicity (like recent articles in the NYTimes or the Financial Times) they get a bit overwhelmed. But she very much looks forward to helping everyone who gets in touch.

            2. hychka RE: sinjawns Apr 3, 2011 07:27 PM

              We still have some hopes here...posted, registered twice, posted again...nothing....

              Will there be any activities in Rome between May 20th and 29th?

              5 Replies
              1. re: hychka
                zerlina RE: hychka Apr 3, 2011 08:04 PM

                When did you register? You should have received the April calendar; they're still sending me monthly updates five years after I inquired about an event.

                It's also possible your ISP is blocking or sending their emails to Junk or Spam. Add them to your Contacts to ensure they get through.

                1. re: zerlina
                  hychka RE: zerlina Apr 4, 2011 05:10 PM

                  February 22, 2011 as posted above.

                2. re: hychka
                  ElizabethS RE: hychka Apr 4, 2011 06:25 AM

                  Here is the May Calendar page on their website - so far just Bologna


                  1. re: ElizabethS
                    hychka RE: ElizabethS Apr 4, 2011 05:09 PM


                    1. re: hychka
                      zerlina RE: hychka Apr 15, 2011 10:38 AM

                      I have just received this as a link to their May calendar:

                3. hychka RE: sinjawns Apr 28, 2011 07:50 PM

                  At the risk of showing myself to be a total fool, was there a dinner date between May 20 and 28 in a close shot from Rome that I missed seeing? The opportunity this group offers appears to be worth showing all my faults if that is what it takes to get a reservation....gosh, we are really excited about this trip! And, my grand daughter is coming to share a few days with us! yippee!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hychka
                    zerlina RE: hychka Apr 29, 2011 02:13 AM

                    You didn't miss anything. The closest to Rome would be the dinner on May 27 in Sulmona, almost three hours by train from Rome. You'd have to overnight in Sulmona.

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