One of the greatest pleasures of a visit to Rome is eating your way through the city. Sampling local specialties like Roman-style artichokes, bucatini all’amatriciana, porchetta, and cacio e pepe (a “comfort food” pasta dish with grated pecorino cheese and black pepper), not to mention the city’s array of fabulous gelato shops.
But if you’d like to make those mouth-watering memories last longer than your vacation, you absolutely can – sign up for a cooking class in Rome and learn to re-create those famous dishes once you return to your own kitchen.
Some people think cooking classes in Italy are only held on Tuscan farms or other rural locations, but there are plenty of great options for cooking classes in big cities like Rome, too. In fact, for those taking shorter trips and who aren’t already planning tours of more rural areas, taking a cooking class in a city (rather than a more remote countryside locale) can mean less time spent in transit.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re browsing your options for cooking classes, whether it’s in Rome or elsewhere.
How long is the class?
Cooking classes can range from a few hours to multiple days, so it’s important to know how much time you have to set aside for a class before you start looking at the options. Again, if you’ve only got a few days to spend in Rome, you may gravitate toward a half-day class rather than one taking up an entire day so that you have more time to explore the city itself. Note that if the class isn’t in Rome’s city center you’ll need to factor in transportation time, too (and if it’s in the country outside Rome, make sure to check on whether the class provides the transportation).
You may like the Rome Walking Tour and Cooking Class, which combines an historic walking tour of the city with a small group cooking class – all in roughly four hours, leaving you plenty of time to do what you’d like with the rest of your holiday.
Is it hands-on?
Not all cooking classes are the same – some are more “demonstration” than hands-on class. You can certainly learn from such demo-only classes, but nothing can replace actually getting your hands dirty with an instructor around to help provide guidance. Hands-on classes may take a little longer, but that’s time well spent. Additionally, if there’s ever an issue with a language barrier, then being able to get hands-on instruction will circumvent the confusion of a misunderstood word.
How many people are involved?
Any student will tell you learning is more effective when class size is kept small, and cooking classes are no exception. Choosing a cooking class with a good teacher-to-student ratio means you’re more likely to get personal assistance when you need it. Plus, you’re likely to have more fun that way, too.
Viator’s Small Group Cooking Lesson in Rome will be no more than eight people, and includes shopping for the ingredients and then turning them into a meal in a private kitchen.
Does it include anything else?
Does the class begin with a walking tour of the local market, so you can learn about choosing what goes into the meal you’re about to prepare? Will you get wine pairing tips to go with your newly-learned cooking skills? Is the class outside the city center, which will give you a chance to see another environment than just Rome? Check out every class listing to see if it includes “extras” that can make the experience richer – that may explain why some classes are more expensive than others, and that added cost may be totally worth it.
The Small Group Cooking Lesson in the Roman Countryside offers a full day of market shopping, cooking class, and wine matching tips, all of which takes place outside Rome for a beautiful change of scenery.