Culinary tourism is one of the hottest travel trends these days, and people are always asking me who to book with and why. Short of tagging along with me one day while I’m eating bats in Thailand, you can check out Gourmet on Tour. Judith, the GOT honcho, is a delight and her tours are superbly run. And doesn’t this trip to the Amalfi Coast sounds awesome? The Amalfi Coast is the sexy pin-up girl of the chic travel monthlies for a reason—the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and a perfect locale for quintessential dolce vita. Gourmet on Tour teams up the Amalfi with the Agata!
Here are some of the highlights she sent me.
Mamma Agata, the GOT chef, will share with you her insider's secrets and local knowledge—far beyond the traditional tourist holiday.
Pick vegetables from the kitchen garden, cook up a storm, and listen to Mamma’s stories about cooking for celebrities. You can hike high on the mountainside while soaking up the stunning views from Ravello to Amalfi, or savor a delicious Michelin-star dinner on a cliff-top terrace after a day spent touring ancient Paestum and Pompeii, or explore Positano and the stylish isle of Capri. I like the idea of sipping Prosecco poolside or on the beach.
Apparently Mamma Agata started cooking at the young age of thirteen in the kitchens of a wealthy American lady who owned a summer villa in Ravello. Since then she has cooked for Hollywood stars like Humphrey Bogart, Anita Eckberg, Richard Burton, Liz Taylor, Fred Astaire, Federico Fellini (a big pasta e fagioli fan), Jacqueline Kennedy, Marcello Mastroianni, and for writers and politicians such as Susanna Agnelli and Gore Vidal. These days she holds her cooking classes in her 300-year-old country house located on a cliff top 1,000 feet above the sea, with magnificent views. She makes or raises everything used in the classes: chickens, eggs, vegetables, fruits, marmalades, olive oil, wine—the best of everything. Elegant simplicity is the way in which Mamma Agata prepares and shares a meal at table. Here is a recipe from Mamma that Judith sent me to whet your whistle:
Mamma Agata's famous lemon cake
Dolce al limone di Mamma Agata
250 gr butter
300 gr sugar
2 grated lemons
300 gr flour
1 glass of warm milk
1 small envelope of yeast (Pan degli Angeli)
Place butter and sugar in a mixer for 8 minutes. Add lemon grate, eggs and flour, and at the end add milk and yeast. Fill the dough in a baking form and place in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon, mix with some water and sugar, and cover the cake. Turn cake over and pour juice of the second lemon mixed with sugar and some water on the other side of the cake. Decorate with finely chopped nuts.