Goldring Travel’s 2018 Culinary & Cultural Cruise – Part IV (Rome and Amalfi, Italy)

As the Seabourn Encore arrived in Civitavecchia, Italy the Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Group gathered for a much anticipated event:  Shopping and Cooking Local.

Yes, I made this pasta from scratch!

There are a number of cruise lines that offer cooking classes, but the are all sanitized affairs with one of the ship’s chefs on the ship or a shared event where one chops tomatoes and another cuts onions, etc.  If I want to cook in Rome, I want to actually be in Rome, with a Roman chef/teacher and do everything from start to finish.  And that  is also what my guests want to experience.

One Day Chef

Fortunately, my friend Matteo Ferroni, created, owns and operates One Day Chef.  When we met about five years ago, as he was starting his business, I could tell he cared and was focused on doing things the right way; noting that to this day every other cooking class in Rome is actually in someone’s apartment (or similar) and is a “shared” experience.  One Day Chef has a wonderful setup where each guest has his/her own cooking station complete with a four burner induction stove, sink, kitchen tools and work area…and prosecco and Frascati local wines! (Matteo’s only flaw is that he is a New York Giants fan!)

We met Matteo outside the Esquilino Market in Rome for a bit of Shopping with the Chef experience.  This is a very local market and we were clearly the only tourists there.  While whole lambs were brought by in a shopping cart, Matteo purchased Ricotta cheese for our upcoming cooking experience as well as Parmigiano and Pecorino Reggiano and Parma ham (for tasting).

We then purchased tomatoes and spinach, followed by a bit of a snack including a delicious chocolate and pear cake.  Yum!

But then it was time to get to work.  A short drive brought us the One Day Chef’s very impressive, and very comfortable, kitchen.  After a glass of prosecco (and later frascoti)…

donning our chef’s hats and aprons…

American Gothic…in Rome, Italy.
This amazing couple has participated in every Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Cruise since 2007. 
Next up: Seabourn’s 2020 World Cruise.

it was time to start our cooking lessons starting off with making tiramisu using fresh Italian coffee, and ingredients from the market, etc. A good warm up for what was to come.

Next up:  Ravioli making. It was amazingly easy and fun making the pasta dough and filling made with market fresh spinach.  So easy that even the husbands that have no history of cooking were able to be very successful; including using the pasta machines to produce the long thin ribbons needed to make raviolis.

Then it was making a fresh tomato sauce while the dough rested.  Again simple:  Market fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic (whole) and a chili pepper.

The pressure was now one as we rolled out the pasta, added the filling, cut it into squares and finished the edges before adding them to boiling water.

Not bad for my first time.  I am definitely going to make pasta at home!

And then we were able to enjoy our individually made ravioli with fresh tomato sauce with, well…another glass or two of wine!

For dessert was our individually made tiramisu.

Oh, but we were not done. Matteo surprised us by teaching us how to use the remainder of our pasta dough to make spaghetti…and then the classic Roman dish: Cacio e Pepe made with pecorino cheese and black pepper with a little bit of the pasta water.  And then he sent us off the do it ourselves!

And that is how Cacio e Pepe is made!

Matteo and One Day Chef provided everyone with links to One Day Chef’s Youtube videos showing the recipes in action and, even better, a video of our day there.

Everyone had a great time and needless to say, after returning to the Seabourn Encore there wasn’t much enthusiasm for having dinner.

Amalfi, Italy

The next morning we arrived in a very sunny Amalfi, Italy on a Sunday.  While it is a beautiful town, it was overwhelmed with tourists, both foreign and domestic.  However, if one was willing to climb stairs, walk up hill and wander the beauty and romance of Amalfi could be discovered.

Seabourn Encore off the coast of Amalfi, Italy

I wandered here and there, looking then praying for a local, non-touristic, restaurant to, well, “Be Italian” for a hour or so.  As I was just about to give up I heard some quiet, beautiful, Italian music rather than the roar of the crowds.  A sign said “Wine Bar, Vino, Musica, Arte…” but I could not find the entrance.  I walked down yet more stairs and there was this small cafe with about eight tables, no customers, and a young woman and an old man:  Taverna degli Apostoli.

I usually do not order the seafood platter, but something told me it would be different here as the wine glass placed on my table was beautiful and the waitress was understated in her approach.  I ordered it along with a glass of excellent quality Vetere Rose, listing to the music, snacking delicious bread with olive oil and watching the world go by (a/k/a tourists cramming into overpriced, poor quality, restaurants just yards away).

With the second glass of rose came my seafood platter that was just incredible:  Absolutely beautiful and delicious.  Made simply olive oil and lemon.  I will remember this dish for a very long time!

After that incredible meal it was time to head back to the Seabourn Encore.  But my culinary adventures for the day were not done.  It was the second formal night of the cruise and I was not inspired to have a full meal…so at the last minute I went with one of my guests to Seabourn Encore’s Sushi. I cannot overstate how incredible the cuisine is here and on formal nights there is a fixed menu that is, well and truly, world class.

What follows are the courses, in order which I paired with the complimentary cold Saki.  As with all of my photos, these are not Photoshopped; they are that artistic and the quality is superlative.

With our day in Rome filled with pasta (ravioli!) and Amalfi a seafood extravaganza, it was time to prepare for our next event:  Private Shopping with Chef David in Syracusa, Sicily!

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