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  • georgettenelson

Learning to Make Pasta and Friends in Rome!

A pasta making class in Italy.
Making orecchiette in class!

For each group tour that Kitchen Table Travel plans in or near Rome, the first booking we make is with Grano & Farina cooking school. Ever since 2019, while on a solo trip in Rome, when I took a pasta making class at their school in the Trastevere neighborhood, I've been slightly obsessed with anything G&F does. That day, I had only signed up for the Filled Pastas Class but I had so much fun and learned so much that I stuck around for their afternoon class on Pastas of Southern Italy. For someone who loves food as much as me, the real stars of the day were Julia and Pino Ficara, the owners and instructors of Grano & Farina. Their warmth and generosity made it feel like I was spending the day with friends. On top of that, the level of technical instruction I received was professional. Their classes were some of the best I've taken and I'm a graduate of culinary school! I loved Julia and Pino so much that I've kept in touch with them and they've become an important partner for Kitchen Table Travel.

Aperitifs and Prosecco in Italy
Pino and Julia Ficara

What makes them so incredible? Well, Julia Ficara is a sfoglina, which is an actual legitimate pasta master! She has spent over 10 years learning the art of pasta in all its forms, shapes and iterations. Julia also collaborates with the famed Pasta Grannies project, which I know is very dear to her heart. Her pasta repertoire and extensive knowledge comes through in everything she does.

Students in their pasta making class.
Julia with some rapt students.

Pino Ficaro is an incredible chef with over 20 years of experience in some of the best restaurants and culinary destinations in the world. He's talented with both savory food and pastries. He is really thoughtful, perhaps even philosophical, about food and how it should be prepared and consumed. Pino also exudes calmness and organization and I can't imagine him ever being angry.

Italian cooking class in Rome.
Pino showing off.

This married couple opened Grano & Farina in 2017 and with their attention to detail and love for what they do it was bound to be a success. From using the finest locally sourced ingredients to doing everything by hand, Julia and Pino have created their very own farm-to-table experience for their guests. They are both incredibly respectful of culture, tradition, and farming and those lessons are a part of their classes. Their organic eggs are most likely from a farmer neighbor and the flour from a local mill. There are no pasta machines in the building because it's more fun to roll and shape everything by hand and when you make Sardinian pasta, it's the way the way Sardinians do! There's no waste in the G&F kitchens.

We book classes with Grano & Farina in both their Trastevere professional kitchen and their new farm to table countryside location just north of Rome because we know that our guests will have an unforgettable and authentic experience in Italian cookery. We love their spark, their wealth of knowledge, and their ability to teach and want to share that with you. It's marvelous to learn culinary skills at a professional level in such a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

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