My day long experience with Enrica Rocca was not a class in cooking, but an epicurean delight! From the first moment of our meeting at the foot of the Rialto Bridge, I knew from her warm and embracing greeting that I was in for exactly why I chose to spend three weeks in Venice. To savor with all my senses all that "La Serinissima" has to offer.
It was a delight to walk with her as she shopped at only the best vendors of fresh produce, meats, fish, pasta, spices, cheeses, wines, and of course, dolci. She pointed out the produce that was in season, and why one vendor was better than the rest. I followed up on this by returning two days later to the same vendors to buy for my own cooking at the apartment I had rented. I knew I had passed my “class” when I received “thumbs up” from visiting Italian friends for the dinner I prepared for them. I could not have asked for a more welcomed accolade.
After shopping, and then stopping at a well-known and very friendly ‘baccaro’ for an ‘umbra di vino’ and some cicchette, we proceeded as if in a dream to what I also longed to see, a ‘secret garden’ behind high walls down a long narrow calle. I felt immediately “at home” in her enchanting abode filled with fine art work, Murano glassware, plus of course a large cooking area with many gas burners.
Preparing and cooking was not by measuring, but by learning how to instinctively combine ingredients and slow cooking to imbue the full flavor. I watched, I helped, I drank, I ate, and I was smitten!
Above all, it is Enrica herself with her warm and loving hospitality that I shall never forget. I knew I had arrived when on two follow-up occasions our paths crossed and I heard my name being called out across the campo. Grazie, mille grazie.
Robert Hyacinth Levrini aka Gia
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