Thursday, 29 December 2011

Learning to cook in Bologna

Paola is elated.  Not only has she turned out a creditable poppyseed loaf, she has also learned to flip her pancakes faultlessly. Later, as we sit eating the proceeds of our labour - actually all I’ve done is to observe the whole thing – there is a quiet satisfaction around the table at what has been achieved. Half a dozen different finger foods have been prepared and cooked plus several kinds of bread by the Tuesday night cookery course. For four hours there has been incessant activity, especially by Marcello, our teacher, who has never taken a moment’s rest.

Learning to cook is the new tourist activity and in Bologna there is plenty of choice whether you want an introductory day or something longer and more serious. The Council’s website lists 16 local cookery schools: 

We tried three places:  Alessandra Spisne’s la Scuola Vecchia on via Malvasia,   Marcello dall’Aglio’s course at Locanda del Castello and the Scuola Cucina di Bologna in via del Pratello. These all offer a range of courses from amateur to professional, varying in length from an evening to several months.  All focus on bolognese cuisine but not exclusively - vegetarian dishes and food from other parts of Italy and the world also get a look in.

I signed up for a morning’s pasta making with Aurelia, the sfoglina at Locanda del Castello, and learnt a lot of useful tips. Evening courses at la Locanda and at La Scuola Cucina are useful for introducing a range of techniques and dishes. Of course, if you want to become really proficient in cucina bolognese you will need a month at least and more likely three months in one of these cookery schools or La Scuola Vecchia before you can expect to earn a living in a professional kitchen. 

Contact details

La Scuola Vecchia

via Malvasia, 49 - 40131 Bologna   - tel: 051 6491576   - 

La Scuola Cucina di Bologna

Enquiries to Cultura Italiana (language school), to which it is linked, at  Via Castiglione, 4     I - 40124 Bologna
tel. +39 051228003 +39 051228011 +39 051227166

3 ½ hour  evening class costs from euro 35 in a group of 8-15.

La Locanda del Castello

Via Palazzo de' Rossi  

Pontecchio Marconi

Sasso Marconi


+39 051 6781172 or mobile  348 4402943

Single evening lesson:  euro 60