Food for the soul
The day was perfectly made to experience Mamma Agata and meet Chiara, Mamma Agata's daughter. It was an early afternoon in October and the hilltop town of Ravello embraced us as we strolled the streets randomly stopping to capture swoon-worthy memories with our iPhones. When we descended down the hill, I had no idea that my life was going to be changed forever. A five level home perched on a cliff overlooking the sea was where I witnessed passion, affection and a culinary way of life. The unexpected excellence was so refreshing. I can still feel the heat of the kitchen and the taste of wine as it drizzled down my throat.
Before gathering in the kitchen, the ladies and I sat on the terrace and got a brief history in Southern Italian cooking. Chiara also shared funny stories and the legacy of their home that has been in the family for 250 years. Once we entered the kitchen, first task, wine for everybody! That's when we met Gennaro, Chiara's husband. Not only is he an amazing chef but he's also a certified sommelier (that's a win win). The cooking demonstration began with eggplant parmesan, followed by bolognese, lemon garlic chicken and ended with a farmer’s pasta. In between dishes, you learn cooking techniques, more Italian history and devour Red Hell, a spicy sauce that is a perfect blend of peppers, garlic and crack. This stuff is so addictive that before I realized it, I inhaled the whole saucer!
After the cooking experience, comes the best part, eating the food. I was already stuffed from bread, Red Hell and olives from the demonstration but I made room for our feast. Every single bite was mouth watering insane and you just wanted more of...everything. The day ended with us sipping Limoncello and having a dance/lip sync battle which worked off some of the calories that we gluttonously consumed earlier. This will definitely go down as one of those monumental vacation experiences. The added bonus, I was able to share it with 13 wonderful women (and a guy, he was our host) that were apart of the travel group. The time came to leave Chiara, Gennaro and Mamma. Our good-byes were long and accompanied by multiple hugs, tears and words of appreciation.
I also shared a special moment with Chiara that day. When she saw my hair, she let out a pleasant gasp of awe and excitement. I felt her vibrant energy and good intentions as her hands reached for my blonde coils. Normally, this would have been a head bob & weave situation with a side eye but I let my guard down and welcomed her curiosity. She touched my hair, we both laughed, embraced and I wanted to stay at Mamma Agata's forever.