Culinary Vacations: Learning to Cook with a Wood Fire Oven

May 23, 2016  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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Culinary Vacations: Learning to Cook with a Wood Fire Oven

Wood fire ovens are growing in popularity in the States, but over in Italy they’ve long had a place both in the kitchen and outdoors. Cooking with one isn’t the same as using a grill, either gas or charcoal. In fact there’s quite an art form — one that’s been passed down for generations — to making perfectly charred vegetables, crusty pizzas, and juicy steaks with just the right crispy exterior.

Cooking with a wood fire ovenSo before installing that wood fire oven in your backyard (you know you want to), head over to Italy for a cooking vacation to learn about all the phenomenal dishes you can create with a wood-fueled oven. But here’s a hint: you can cook just about anything in a wood fired oven that you can cook in a conventional oven — it’s just going to taste (and chances are look) a bit different. And you may need to alter the recipe a little bit, which is something you may learn during a cooking class.

PizzaWhere in Italy can you cook with an oven fueled by wood? For starters, head to Tuscany. The region is known for its rustic, simple dishes, and you can make and savor the flavors of Chianina beef — considered by some to be the best beef in the world — as well as crispy fish with a melt in your mouth exterior. Roasted vegetables are another favorite as well as bread — and it won’t taste anything like what you’d make in a conventional oven, largely due to the crispy crust. And last but certainly not least, craft the perfect pizza, such as during our At Home in a Tuscan Villa cooking vacation. Our trip Antinori’s Noble Tuscany also includes a pizza making lesson as the popular Le Scuderie pizzeria in Badia a Passignano.

But cooking in a wood-burning oven isn’t limited to only Tuscany! Other locations that feature this delicious way of cooking include our La Cucina Romana in the Sabine Hills trip. Wherever you cook using a wood fire oven, you’ll learn some tricks of the trade — like how to get the temp just right before putting the food in.

Have you ever cooked with a wood fire oven before? What’s your favorite wood-fired dish?

By Liz Hall

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By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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