Chef Margarita Forés Learns Sicilian Cooking Inside This Picturesque Wine Estate
The country’s most internationally acclaimed chef visits the Tenuta Regaleali estate for My Italy to discover what’s cooking inside the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School: fresh produce, sprawling gardens, and a friendship to remember
More than 500 hectares of sprawling greens, vineyards, and olive groves, creating a natural sanctuary that brings you a different sense of calm and relaxation—this is the Tenuta Regaleali estate, one of the five wine estates owned by the Tasca family in Sicily that’s home to a high-tech winery and a cooking school.
Chef Margarita started her culinary journey looking to the rock stars of the culinary world like Martha Stewart, Marcella Hazan, and Alice Waters. And one of the chefs she looks up to is Anna Tasca Lanza, a marchese (an Italian noblewoman), chef, author, and teacher, who toured the world to promote Italian cooking.
Although Chef Margarita was not able to meet the great Anna Tasca Lanza in her lifetime (she passed away in 2010), she was able to get a glimpse of her legacy as she toured the estate that Anna grew up in and developed. At the estate, she was fortunate to meet Anna’s daughter, Fabrizia Lanza, who now aims to preserve the culinary lineage that Anna left behind.
Farm to table
Fabrizia walked Chef Margarita around the estate, where the Casa Vecchie stands proud. This 19th century rural villa was developed by Anna during her lifetime, into what is now the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School.
More than a cooking school, it is hectares of greenery that was planted and nurtured by Anna herself. The many gardens cultivate different greens, fruits, vegetables, herbs, with 90 percent of the produce used in the estate coming from these gardens.
Chef Margarita joined a cooking class with Anna, where a number of students from all over the world came together to learn about traditional Sicilian dishes, and she got firsthand experience of how the classes are run..
During the class, the students made three Sicilian favorites: Ravioli stuffed with ricotta and mint in a sage and butter sauce, sage leaves fried in a beer batter, and cannolo—a tube-shaped pastry dough filled with sweet, creamy filling.
What actually makes each dish a cut above the rest is the quality and freshness of the ingredients used, since most of the ingredients are harvested from the casa’s garden. The ricotta used for the cannolo’s filling, for example, is made on site from the milk of the sheep that roam the estate.
There are classes all year round at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, from a single 4-course lunch lesson to a more extensive 5-night Becoming Sicilian experience that lets you relax on the property, explore Sicilian food culture with numerous cooking classes and lunches, with excursions in and out of the estate.
Experience more of Tenuta Regaleali and Italy with Chef Margarita on My Italy with Margarita, premiering on October 7, 8 p.m., on Metro Channel, channel 52 on Sky Cable and channel 174 on HD. Catch replays throughout the week or watch it on-demand via iWant.
Images from @annatascalanza