San Valentino & Carnevale
Welcome to our February kitchen! This month, we are preparing delicious antipasto, fresh pasta, main courses, along with biscotti and cakes for Carnevale and Saint Valentine's day. It's the time of year to share your love and appreciation for family and friends.

We have planned delicious online cooking classes filling the long winter days of February with laughter and scrumptous food together in the kitchen. We hope you will join us as we warm your heart and introduce authentic recipes from the 20 regions of Italy.

And even though we cannot travel to Venice for Carnevale, we bring the spirit to you with stories and photos!

The Story of San Valentino
San Valentino was a young Italian priest who truly believed in love and marriage. He lived in Rome circa 270, and married many young couples at a time when marriages were prohibited. Roman Emperor Claudius II scornfully prohibited marriages in Italy during this period, but San Valentino, a devoted priest and tender soul, secretly ignored the Emperor’s orders. In fact, he refused the Emperor’s orders and was sent to prison for spreading love and marrying couples. During his imprisonment, he fell in love with the jail keeper’s daughter. Yet another upset, and was ordered to be executed. But before he was sent off, San Valentino continued his plight for amore, love, and wrote a letter to the woman that he loved. He signed the letter from your Valentino. His story went down in history, and Italians have been celebrating the saint's day ever since. On February 14, cakes and love letters, chocolates and Prosecco are sent to family and friends.


Carnevale Venezia

From Milan to Tuscany, Rome to Sardinia, cities and towns throughout Italy celebrate Carnevale with pizzazz.

In Venezia however, Carnevale is even more colorful – with ornate costumes and masks, festive specialty food, wine and Prosecco. After all, Prosecco is from Veneto!!!

As Venetians prepare for their biggest event of the year, guests wear gowns and colorful Venetian masks – women dress up in ruby red velvet dresses and lace glove, while men sport white ruffled shirts under long black coat tails and top hats. Everyone fills Saint Mark’s Square enjoying cicchetti, small bites and wine, then masquerading the night away.

Slated from February 6 to 16, Carnevale turns all of Venice into a stage. The word Carnevale, coming from the Latin, means farewell to meat, and that's why everyone indulges in food, dessert and wine at this time.

Although this year's festivities are limited to small groups at home and socially distanced dining, we keep you dreaming for days to come when we can dance and clink flutes filled with Prosecco in the piazza.

Historians tell us that Venice’s first Carnival was held in 1162 when the townspeople celebrated the victory over the Patriarch of Aquileia. In the 18th century, Carnival was put to a stop, but by the 19th century Venetians reinstated the holiday as an official celebration, and it has been celebrated every year since.

Many years ago, there was even a Carnevale frittelle of Venice. This tradition dates back to the 17th century when the sweet dough fritters were made exclusively by the fritoleri, the men who fried the dough.  It was a prestigious trade and those who belonged to it expected their children to succeed.  During the Venetian Republic, the trade of fritoleri collapsed, but the best recipes that came from these artisans survived.  The traditional Venetian fritoleri mixed egg, flour, sugar, raisins and pine nuts on long wooden tables and fried them in giant vats of boiling oil.  When cooled, the sweet fried dough was sprinkled with sugar and piled high on large platters, then passed out to all.

Because Carnevale precedes Lent, and Lent means fasting, Italians live in the moment and indulge on all things delicious – like lasagne, cenci, fried ribbons of dough, castagnole, sweet dough rolled in sugar, and zaletti, sweet grappa-scented cookies.


Buttery Venetian Biscotti

Zaletti, just say their name – and everyone smiles. These small diamond shaped cookies are a tradition at Carnevale. The secret ingredient in the recipe is polenta, yellow corn flour.

Delicate little biscotti, buttery and sweet with a scent of orange, take their name from the word zalo in Venezian dialect meaning giallo, yellow – hence through the years they were called zalleti.

I add the orange zest to my recipe for a lovely scent of citrus. The polenta, baked with juicy raisins and a hint of grappa, adds a crunchy texture to the cookies.

Dipped in Vin Santo, sweet wine, or a creamy cappuccino – zaletti are always the perfect treat.


And for when we can fly,

Dreaming Of Venice


Tie On Your Aprons &
Join Our Online Cooking Classes

And, since we cannot be with you in the kitchen, we continue to host our online cooking classes.

Online cooking classes are a great way to stay together - whether it be a girls' night out, birthday party, anniversary or family activity, we offer several menu options and cater to food allergies and special requests.

We hope to see you in the kitchen –
From our family to yours!


Venezia Carnevale  
Sunday, February 14 at 3pm

Celebrate Carnevale as we travel down the Grand Canal, stroll through the Rialto Market and share our knowledge on the cuisine of Venice. Dress in costume and wear a Venetian mask, turn on the opera music and get cooking!!!

- Menu -
Bruschetta, toasted garlic bread with capers, tomato and basil
San Pietro in Padella con Carciofi– Sea bass or cod prepared in a pan with artichokes
La Peperonata – Bell Peppers, Venezia-style
Zaletti – Venetian biscotti dipped in Vin Santo, sweet wine


Prosecco & Bites
 Sunday, February 28 at 3 pm
Italians have a gift for making any simple food into a feast. This cooking class shows you how to create some of those delicious finger foods that are so beautiful and pair well with Prosecco and wine. Impress guests at your next party, and learn how!

- Menu -
Grissini – fennel and pepper sticks
Pasta Frittata – Neapolitan omelet with cheese, herbs and pasta
Barca di Zucchini – stuffed zucchini boats filled with capers, green olives, herb and cheese
Polpettine - Roman Meatballs - secret recipe from the Eternal City

Mamma Mia
Sunday, March 7 at 3pm

Warm your heart as we celebrate Mamma’s southern Italian recipes made with love. Healthy and wholesome, this menu came from my Nonna’s recipe book. Also learn how to make traditional Zeppole in honor of Saint Joseph.

- Menu -
Manicotti – pan-made pasta, stuffed with cheese and covered in red sauce
Braciola – thin sliced beef stuffed with cheese and herbs
Scarole alla Napoletana, Sautéd escarole with toasted pine nuts and raisins
Zeppole di San Guiseppe – baked puffs filled with cream for Saint Joseph’s day.


Cooking Vacations
Gift Cards  

We have had many requests for Cooking Vacations Gift Cards and we now have them available for online cooking classes, cooking tour in Italy, extra virgin olive oil in our Artisan Market. Email any request to Lauren@Cooking-Vacations.com

To go to our Artisan Market, please click here, https://www.cooking-vacations.com/online-shop/

Keep cooking and keep your heart alive!
Cooking Vacations


Tele: 617.247.4112  Mobile: 617.306.3678