Enrica Rocca is the kind of cooking instructor that turns cooking school culinary models upside down. Sure, she follows some sort of recipe, not written down of course. But her main objective, the points she wants you to leave with, are: how to enjoy cooking, seeking out the best ingredients, and when and where to find them.
The class is taught right out of her home in Venice's dreamy and serene Dosoduro neighborhood. While you learn how to scale fish or perfect risotto, the Prosecco flows and the setting, more fraternal than didactic, is something you can only imagine. It's more a civilized party than a rigid cooking academy. Enrica's school, in my opinion, is the best bang for your buck in Venice.
You can book full or half day lessons. Full day lessons include a trip to Venice's Rialto fish and produce market, where Enrica teaches you how to choose ingredients. The walk is gorgeous and you stop along the way at some of her favorite cafes and bars to fuel up on a sprtiz or a little delicious snack before returning to her house to prepare the meal of a lifetime.
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One of the best private cooking schools in the world
If you're looking for an authentic, memorable food experience in Venice, look no further than Enrica Rocca's fabulous cooking school. A native Venetian, Enrica is the real deal. She's on a first name basis with most, if not all, of the vendors and shopkeepers in the city and as you walk through the Rialto markets with her, you can't help but notice how eager they are to sell her their finest produce and seafood.
Pristine local ingredients are the foundation of Enrica's cooking. She doesn't use recipes, doesn't own a set of measuring cups or spoons, and rarely makes dessert. Instead, she encourages her guests to be creative and spontaneous in the kitchen; to let their senses be their guide. During the evening class I participated in, she urged us to 'stick your finger in the pot and taste it’ over and over again. How else will you know if the saffron-scented cauliflower purée you've been working on needs more salt?
The cooking school is inside Enrica’s family palazzo, on a quiet side street in the Dorsoduro sestiere. The atmosphere is very relaxed. You can take part as much or as little as you like. The class is as free-flowing as the wine - more like a stylish, upscale dinner party than a structured classroom lesson.
And what a dinner party! The menu we cooked was, hands-down, the best meal I had during my entire 11-day stay in Venice.