2000s Archive

Cooking Schools: Regaleali Vineyards

A relaxed program in Vallelunga, Sicily. See Gourmet’s full list of the world’s best cooking schools.
Regaleali Vineyards

The grounds of Regaleali Vineyards, between Agrigento and Palermo, seem to go on forever. When I finally reached the house, Anna Tasca Lanza rushed out to greet me and pulled me into the remodeled barn where she hosts her culinary courses. (Regaleali has been in the Tasca family for 178 years.) There were only a handful of students in my class, so we were able to enjoy one-on-one attention while turning out a staggering array of dishes—everything from roasted hen and fresh stuffed sardines to grilled marinated artichokes and mushrooms, arancini (fried rice balls), fritto misto, cassata, and strawberry sorbetto. But the best part of the week was simply cooking with Anna and sharing her food—it was like being in the kitchen with my own Sicilian grandma. (011-39-0934-81-46-54; absoluteitalia.com; $2,277 for three days, including accommodations and meals)

What I Learned

When making arancini, use a starchy rice, such as Arborio, to keep the balls intact when frying.

Biggest Surprise

How fresh the ingredients were compared to the same things you’d find back home. (I’ll never forget those beautiful sardines.)

Before You Go

Parts of Regaleali Vineyards are more akin to a working farm. Pack casual clothing and be prepared for “country.”

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