4 May - By Robyn Sharpe
If you’ve made a few Italian dishes at home and think you know all about traditional Italian cooking, Casa Carboni cooking school in Angaston in the Barossa will show just how much you really don’t know.
Matteo and Fiona Carboni take you on a traditional multi-course Italian food and wine journey in their cooking school kitchen, which has been thoughtfully designed with the home cook in mind. “The stove and oven is purposely home kitchen sized, so that students do not feel intimidated like they might in a commercial kitchen, and so they feel confident to take what they learn here and really give it a go at home for their families,” said Matteo. “We are all about the home and family with what we are doing here.”
The family element was particularly relevant and endearing on Wednesday’s lesson specially designed for Tasting Australia participants, as Matteo’s mother, visiting from Italy, joined students around the kitchen workbench to help shape the pork and parmesan-filled cappelletti pasta. Although she did not speak a word of English, her involvement bridged any divide between the class members, especially during the authentic family-style meal shared at the end of the class.
This meal, created during the lesson, comprised five courses using mostly local produce and ingredients. First course was a traditional Italian-style bread, piadina, accompanied by fresh goat’s cheese (from Barossa Valley Cheese Co, located next door), locally-made Kalamata olive tapenade, Saskia Beer charcuterie and warrigal spinach. Subsequent courses featured the same ingredient, such as mashed potato in both the baked potato custards in béchamel and in the gnocchi paired with the Bolognese meat sauce. Cappelletti was served with slow-cooked brodo (stock made from chicken, ox tongue, pork and vegetables), with the meal completed by coffee mousse and wafer-thin tuile biscuits.
Although Matteo’s knowledge and experience of Italian food and cooking skill is immediately apparent, his engaging and pragmatic style of teaching provides a relaxed and enjoyable setting for students. There’s also entertainment value from his humour reinforcing the accuracy of techniques. “I like to make it light and a bit of fun,” said Matteo with his ever-present mischievous grin, “but I won’t send anyone behind the blackboard if they do the wrong thing, like when I was child.”