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Gluten free cookery courses are often centred around baking and pastry, so in the past I have chosen butchery and fish classes instead, given their naturally gluten free nature. However when I saw details of Adriana’s new and first Gluten Free Cookery Class at La Cuncina Caldesi I signed up immediately.

With a true Italian flavour, this hands on class included home made gluten free bread, handmade gluten free pasta, gluten free shortcrust pastry cases, pizza, doughballs, plus pasta sauces demonstrated by resident chef Stefano. It was savoury all the way for a change! Under the careful instruction of Adriana who has spent years experimenting and perfecting gluten free recipes, we first mixed gluten free bread by hand. Adriana guides us in the oompf needed for gluten free baking. “This one needs a real kick up the behind”  she says as we take turns beating the dough since the recipe had killed many of her own mixers! We made pasta just like an Italian mamma, on the board with a moat of corn, millet and tapioca flours. The millet flour was ground at home by Adriana for higher nutrition and ease of sourcing, plus I think a little for the fun of it. She is a true food enthusiast.

We snacked on our own baked breads until the main event was ready to eat… Three helpings of fresh handmade gluten free pasta with Italian sausage and fennel sauce, cherry tomato and basil sauce and a fresh basil pesto. We almost liked our plates clean. None of us could remember ever having pasta like this since diagnosis. Silky and unbroken after cooking, it was a far cry from some mush I have eaten. Plus it was surprisingly easy to make.

Despite working flat out all day, we ran out of time to make the focaccia and amaretti biscuits, but were supplied with recipes to try at home. We covered and learnt so much in just six hours. Much more than I anticipated, particularly techniques to improve all gluten free baking. You see, Adriana’s approach to gluten free cooking comes from classical training at Leiths School of Food and Wine, much of which she shared with us. Plus, because she is not a Coeliac herself (her daughter is the root of this passion) I think she has even higher expectations and therefore results.

This course comes extremely highly recommended. Even though many of the recipes were seemingly involved, the results produced were truly worth it. Plus if you get a chance to go to Cucina Caldesi you are welcomed like part of the family and quickly forget the city the lies outside as you devour tonnes delicious gluten free treats.

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