Cooking Class: Sicilian Cannoli with Michael Sampson

Cooking Class: Sicilian Cannoli with Michael Sampson


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“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli” - the famous line from the film the Godfather underlines the popularity of this delicious, ricotta-filled, crunchy dessert. Learn how to make Sicily’s most popular dessert, along with possible variations and what goes into making the perfect Cannolo in this interactive Context cooking experience.

Introduced during the Arabic period, the cannolo went through various guises before becoming associated as a fertility symbol and eaten during the carnival period. Now cannoli are enjoyed all year round and prepared in various different ways, but the basic structure is the same: a fried pastry tube is filled with sweet ricotta and garnished with one or more of chocolate chips, chopped pistachios, candied orange peel, or cinnamon.

Palermo is considered as the birthplace of the cannolo, but other Sicilian towns such as Dattilo and Piana Degli Albanesi have made names for themselves on their popular variations of the original recipe. In this class, we will look at the best elements taken from cannoli found throughout Sicily, and we will discuss possible variations so that you can experiment and build on this recipe to create your own perfect cannolo.

You are invited to watch and discuss or to cook along with this interactive cooking class. A full ingredients list will be supplied before the class, but to give you an idea, these are some of the basic things you will require to cook along:

  • Flour
  • Marsala wine or white wine
  • White wine vinegar
  • Lard or butter
  • Oil or lard and a pot suitable for deep frying
  • Fresh ricotta
  • Sugar
  • Long tongs
  • Metal cannoli tubes or 12cm/5” lengths of bamboo cane, approximately 2.5cm/1” in diameter

Led by chef, culinary instructor, and expert on traditional Sicilian cuisine, Michael Sampson, this interactive lesson will show you how to make the perfect cannolo. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Sicilian cuisine and history and all the tricks and tips necessary to make this dish at home.

Michael Sampson trained as a chef at ALMA school of Italian cuisine in the north of Italy and has been living and working in Sicily for the last 12 years. Michael has worked at the Gambero Rosso cookery school in Palermo, was head chef and teacher at the Anna Tasca Lanza cookery school in central Sicily, and for the last 3 years has been running The Sicilian Pantry cookery school in Palermo’s historical center where he teaches daily cooking lessons covering many traditional Sicilian dishes with guests from all over the world.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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