Amy La Via is a natural born host. The Chicago native lives with her Italian banker husband and their teenaged boys in an elegant apartment in the Italian lakeside city of Como. She shares her gorgeous home and passion for fine food by welcoming guests to her kitchen for hands-on cooking classes. She’s enlisted the help of her friend, chef Alessandro, who runs a baita, or hikers’ albergo in the mountains behind Como and he good naturedly guides students through the intricacies of making gnocchi, lasagna, ravioli, risotto, tiramisu or whatever else the pair feel like making for lunch on the day.
When porcinis are in season, they’ll be on the menu, ditto peaches, or truffles, or whatever other inspirational ingredient is begging to be showcased at the market. Students then retire to table to enjoy whatever they’ve cooked up, and Amy’s entertaining take on expat life, the Italian education system, the US elections, the refugee crisis … whatever other topics might come up around the dinner table if you just happened to have a couple of mates who love entertaining and happen to live in Como.
Amy needs a minimum of four students to run a class, which is priced at 5O euro a head and includes wines with lunch. If you’re headed for Como, or even somewhere in the region, put it on your must-do list. As they say in the travel guides, it’s worth a detour. It might just be the best 50 euros you’ll spend in Italy.
Via Zezio, Como CO, Italy