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Cucina Italiana offers hands-on cooking classes for both burgeoning beginners and fabulous foodies, allowing every Sydneysider to try their hand at creating authentic Italian cuisine. With a focus on cuisines from all over the boot-shaped country, the Annandale-based cooking school encourages students to slow down and truly appreciate the art of Italian fare.

The heart and soul of Cucina Italiana comes from its founder, Luciana Sampogna, who was inspired to create an original culinary offering that celebrated Italy’s roots and history. The seed for this project was planted 19 years ago, when Luciana was fortunate enough to meet the Simili sisters – legends of Italian cuisine – and attended their cooking school in Bologna. After graduating, she went on to open her first cooking school in New Zealand, before establishing Cucina Italiana in 2002. The Sydney-based school is housed in a heritage-listed Italian-style building, built by the well-known Melocco brothers nearly a century ago.

In opening the school in Annandale, Luciana aimed to share her extensive knowledge of Italian food with others. She has certainly achieved this with a great selection of practical classes, in which guests learn not only how to create fabulous fare, but the philosophy behind the Italian cuisine as a whole.

Each class focuses on a different region of Italy, so participants are privy to the specific nuances of each area. Specialties such as creamy Venetian risottos, fresh tortellini from Bologna and sugary sweet Sicilian cassata are just some of the delights covered. Our tip? Arrive with an empty stomach, a Cucina Italiana class is about more than just learning to cook; guests consume all that they’ve created over wine and fantastic conversation.

The ‘classico’ has become one of Cucina Italiana’s most popular classes, focusing on traditional Italian recipes. Students attending this class will learn to make pasta from scratch, before turning the dough into tagliatelle served with a delicate spinach pesto, and ravioli with ricotta and mint leaves. A simple risotto with fresh herbs, as well as a traditional meat dishes and dessert are also created, before being enjoyed over a glass or two of wine.

In choosing the La Vera Cucina Toscana class, visitors can learn all about the culinary concept of ‘la cucina povera’, or the poor kitchen. You’ll make fresh gnocchi, called topini, as well as understand the flavours of humble dishes like pappa al pomodoro. The class finishes with the unique torta della nonna, a sweet end to a fantastic culinary journey.

For those with a gluten intolerance, Italian food can appear off limits. Luciana is out to challenge this – her popular gluten-free class teaches us that pasta doesn’t need gluten to be delicious, while many of her standard classes also offer gluten-free options.

A class at Cucina Italiana Cooking School allows you to appreciate the true beauty and simplicity of Italian food. Under the guidance of Luciana, students create authentic and delicious Italian recipes, ready to be recreated at home and passed down through the generations of your own family.

Locate Cucina Italiana Cooking School

84 Johnston Street, Annandale, NSW


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