Of all the things kids will love about a trip to Italy, the food will probably top that list! Pizza, pasta, the pastries, and …Gelato! The Italian ice-cream, which just doesn’t taste the same as any other ice-cream.
No difficulty for kids to eat in Italy. The only challenge would be to have them try out what they don’t know already as Italy has so many delicious dishes!
When visiting a big city like Rome, a cooking class with kids is a great way to combat some museum fatigue and to give them some hands-on experiences. Our kids loved Rome, and exploring all its beautiful historic sites, but the cooking class was definitely one of their favorite things we did!
In a historic building, in front of the Italian Senate, and not far from Piazza Navona, we took a Gelato and biscuits class with InRome Cooking. The cook that helped us was really nice and loved working with kids. The course was in English, and we had plenty of time to translate to our children when they did not understand. Our chef taught us how to make our own Italian Gelato and while we waited for the ice-cream to freeze up, showed us how the famous Cantucci biscuits are made.
Not everyone has a machine at home, and so we were taught how to make Italian ice-cream in two different ways. One with, and one without the use of the Gelato machine. The Gelato machine mixes the ice-cream while at the same time freezing the ice-cream on the sides. We made a delicious strawberry ice-cream with that machine, but to be able to try making our own Gelato at home, we also made chocolate and pistachio gelato with a regular mixer and freezer. It was actually not that difficult and we will definitely try to combine our own flavors at home. Without the machine, you cannot use fresh fruit, as fruit will lose a lot of liquid, but you can use for instance vanilla, herbs or Nutella.
Cantucci are the delicious Italian bisuits which are so good with a cup of coffee or tea. Our cooking teacher showed us how to make Cantucci while our Gelato was freezing up. The Cantucci dough is quite sticky, so it is important not to knead it too thoroughly when you mix up the dough, but to touch it quickly and sort of toss it around.
We all loved the Cantucci and were surprised about how easy it was to make them, so try it out for yourself by following this Cantucci recipe of InRome Cooking:
- 250 gr of flour
- 150 gr of sugar
- 125 gr of nuts, or almonds
- 2 small eggs
- 1 yolk
- 25 gr of butter
- ½ tea spoon of Baking Powder
- Optional: Marsala, wine from Sicily
- Optional: during our cooking class we added a bit of grated lemon to the dough. At home we have also tried this with grated orange which was really good as well.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Toast the nuts in the oven until fragrant and lightly golden, for 8 to 10 minutes. Once they’re ready, set aside to cool.
- For the dough: Beat 2 eggs with the sugar. Pour in the butter, and beat until combined. Add the flour and the baking powder. Mix until well combined, then stir in the nuts or almonds. Refrigerate it until firm, for about 1 hour. (We did not do that during the class, which was probably why the dough was sticky).
- When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven again to 180 degrees.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface with a bit of flour, and cut the dough into two equal portions. Shape each portion of dough into a log.
- Whisk the remaining egg, and brush it lightly onto the top and sides of the logs, cleaning the brush of egg in excess so it doesn’t drop down the sides. Bake the logs of dough in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to cool.
- When the logs are cool, use a sharp knife to cut them at an angle into slices about 1,5 cm thick.
- If you would like the Cantucci to be harder, you can bake the slices again in the oven for a few minutes.
These crunchy cookies can be kept for up to one week in a tightly‐covered tin. Serve with Vin Santo, coffee, or tea.
The Cooking Class
We finished the cooking class by tasting what we made in a dining room with an beautiful ceiling. We had our different Gelati, tasted our Cantucci, and were able to take the rest of our biscuits back home, yum. The cooking class lasts for about 2 hours, and they send you the recipes afterwards by e-mail. They also offer lots of other classes, in case your kids would be more interested in pizza or pasta making, and they have classes for adults as well of course. Really an excellent experience of cooking with kids in Rome!
Would you like to read our other tips on Rome, it’s all in our Rome with kids article!