In 30-odd years of living in Florence, I've never learnt how to make pasta, so I jumped at the chance to join in a pasta-making class at Desinare, a wonderful new cooking school and kitchen shop in the Oltrarno. Under the guidance of our patient teacher, expert chef Arturo Dori, a group of 6 of us learnt to make three types of stuffed pasta in three hours: 'plin' (a meaty speciality from the Alpine region of the Val d'Aosta) with cheese fondue; potato-stuffed tortelli with meat ragù; long, cigar-shaped cannelloncini filled with broccoli and topped with baby squid. Plenty of wine along the way contributed to a fun, convivial atmosphere with lots of chat, and we ate the delicious results at the end of the session. Classes can be tailor-made to fit with individual requests, and you can also learn about food photography and table settings. The Desinare shop stocks fabulous kitchen equipment, bright ceramics and glassware: everything you need to recreate 'una cucina Italiana' back home.