International Women’s Day makes me think of all the amazing women who welcome our Mama Margaret cooking tour clients so warmly into their homes, restaurant kitchens and wineries. Let’s go through seven regions from south to north in Italy.
In Sicily, in Linguaglossa (population 5000) a town in the foothills of Mount Etna, I admire Concetta. She’s incredibly joyful and full of fun all through our cooking class with her in their home and our dinner around the table with her husband, daughter and son-in-law. She’s multi-talented and shows us where she preserves vegetables, stores their cheeses, grows fruit in her garden.
In Puglia, I honour Giulia, who runs the kitchen so well and cooks divine, yet simple local dishes for small groups to large corporate functions at Masseria Provenzana, a beautiful country inn near Lecce. She teaches cooking to food lovers and plans and carries out the classes masterfully and cheerfully.
Near Sorrento, I admire Carmen at Hotel Oasi Olimpia, a luxurious boutique hotel above Sorrento. As the manager, she heads a staff who gives extraordinary, thoughtful client service. As a cooking teacher, you can see her passion is cooking in her wonderful Neapolitan cooking classes where her students learn and laugh lots.
In Pisa, Chef Stefania is so warm and welcoming as we arrive for a cooking class in her quietly elegant restaurant. She gives each cook personal attention and makes sure you participate, get questions answered and have fun.
In Emilia-Romagna I admire Elena’s skill in making so many kinds of silk-like pasta. She’s a real pasta expert ! In her kitchen in her 150 year old house away out in the country, she’s very patient in teaching you how to make more kinds of pasta than you ever knew existed. Big pasta sampling dinner after!
In the Veneto, I admire our guide, the multi-talented Laura. Her family owns an important Amarone winery and she’s also a sommelier. Her local knowledge is vast from the most beautiful backroads in the Valpolicella wine hills to the history of her native Verona to Verona’s best wine bars to how to match food with local wines. She’s fun and friendly, and invited our group to her home to eat her chocolate cake with Amarone, a special experience!
In Piedmont I admire the generation of daughters of well known fathers who own Barolo wineries. As their dads edge into retirement, these 30 something women are taking over the management of the winery businesses. They’re passionate about their wines, smart, knowledgeable, entrepreneurial.
What women do you admire in the food and wine world?