Natural wonders abound in Abruzzo as the landscape ranges from valleys and forests to miles of seaside. Just as the landscape is varied, so too is the gastronomy of this beautiful part of Italy, with delicacies ranging from seafood to truffles and meats. In our latest chef interview, Chef Dino — one of the chefs who leads classes during our cooking vacation Sapori d’Abruzzo — shares who has inspired his culinary career and why he loves to cook.
What is your first memory of cooking?
Cooking with my grandma. On a snowy couple of days, we were snowed in and she taught us how cook a dessert called “bocconotto.” She knew I loved chocolate and therefore she made this very good and typical dessert from Abruzzo based with chocolate and almonds.
Where or from whom did you learn about cooking?
My grandma was really influential on cooking because she cooked with passion and love. She made everything look easy and fun. But the most important thing is that she cooked with a smile on.
What’s your favorite dish?
Pallotte cacio e ovo. It is an egg and cheese dumpling. It used to be a peasant dish because it used poor ingredients such as tomato, eggs, cheese and bread. Nowadays it is considered super gourmet.
What is the best piece of advice you would give someone just starting to cook?
Do it with passion and with a smile.
Have any funny or embarrassing stories you’d like to share?
Once I was asked by a former guest: Now that we have tried cow based cheese, and sheep milk cheese, when are we are going to try pig milk cheese?
Why do you like teaching cooking classes?
I just love to cook, puts me in a good mood. And I also get to meet many people from around the world.
Meet Chef Dino and experience Italy during our Abruzzo cooking vacation.
By Liz Hall
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