Sunday, October 19, 2014

Italy's Best Cooking Schools

Finalement, I'm back!  Sorry for the absence but I've been really working hard on two special issues of Dream of Italy that are devoted to cooking classes in Italy (that's a photo, above, from the August issue).  If you are an Italophile and don't already know about DOI, you should!

More about this below, but I first want to note that I was remiss, in my last post about Paris, in not mentioning XL Airways, the airline I chose for my trip.  XL is nearly 20 years old but is not that well known in North America -- in reading about the airline I learned it's been sold and acquired five times, most recently in 2012, when it was sold to X-Air Aviation, a subsidiary of Swiss-US investment group BeachSide Capital LLC.  Whatever its history, I had good experiences on both flights from New York to Paris and back.  I appreciated that I received an e-mail message and a telephone call two days before my departure, informing me that the flight time had changed.  (I also really appreciated being bumped up to the airline's Galaxy Class on the flight from New York to Paris, but even if this had not happened I would still be a fan of the airline.)  HQ for XL is Charles de Gaulle Airport, and it currently offers seasonal flights on Airbus 300 planes to Paris from the U.S. cities of New York, Miami, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.  Flights are also available from four other French airports -- Lyon, Bordeaux, Nantes, and Toulouse -- to other destinations, and there are flights from Paris also to Guadeloupe, Martinique, Cancun, and the Dominican Republic.  When I was comparing prices in the spring, XL fares kept turning up as the most affordable -- the airline's slogan is 'l'avion plus malin' (the smarter aircraft, or sharp fares, smart you) -- and I just noticed the airline is offering some fares from $944 for some December dates and from $832.50 for dates in May 2015.  I highly recommend giving XL a try, and the in-flight meals were a cut above most others, believe it or not!

Now, back to Dream of Italy:  I'm enthusiastically endorsing the newsletter not because I've been writing for quite a number of issues over the years (though I am proud of my contributions, especially interviews with Faith Willinger and Frances Mayes and special reports on the Amalfi Coast and Florence) but because each issue is packed with useful information and subscribers have access to the entire DOI community.  The newsletter is by subscription only -- it's not found on newsstands --and it's published 10 times a year.   Currently a digital subscription is being offered for $62 and a print subscription is $72.  Travel expert Peter Greenberg says, "As I've traveled the world I've come to know -- and depend -- on local knowledge. It makes the difference between being a tourist blindly following a brochure and a streetwise traveler who benefits from great experiences. Dream of Italy and editor Kathy McCabe are great resources -- this is a must-carry item for me whenever I want cutting edge information about one of my favorite countries - Italy!"

Kathy McCabe was in Italy recently, and she posted the following note and photo on the Dream of Italy blog on the 4th of October:

Pizza School in Naples Italy

Even *I* learn something from the pages of Dream of Italy! Though many of the story ideas and articles are conceived and written by me, I also hire the best travel experts to help uncover more Italian gems.  

I first read about master pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia and his Naples pizza school when guest editor Barrie Kerper handed in the first draft of the her list of best cooking schools in Italy. I had a trip to Napoli coming up and bingo, last week I had a once-in-a-lifetime lesson with Enzo (with the red scarf below) and his team!

As Kathy also noted, subscribers will receive immediate access to these special issues -- with the classes and schools listed alphabetically by region -- as well as 115 terrific back issues.  And, we're working on expanding these issues into an electronic book with even more culinary details...stay tuned!

And coming soon: my post-Paris, Côte d'Azur report, and the Canadian Rockies, and Milano and Lago di Como (these last two destinations I am also covering for Dream of Italy).