Cooking with The Duchess

So, we're in Palermo. We've explored markets, dodged rampant cars and devoured seafood, now it's time for something more hands-on. A cooking class sounds perfect.

Ben and I had agreed on wanting to do a cooking class somewhere on our honeymoon. Initially we thought France, but after a bit of research we found 'A Day Cooking with The Duchess' in Palermo and couldn't resist.

This class is run by Nicoletta, the Duchess of Palma, in her stunning palace (with rooms to rent). Nicolette is supremely knowledgable and very down to earth. In her extremely hands-on class, you learn to cook authentic Sicilian cuisine in her beautiful kitchen alongside her lovely guidance and encouragement. Your day begins with a market trip and ends over a celebratory feast with all our creations. I cannot rave about this class enough. Thank you to our dear friends, the divine Welsh family, who, as their Wedding gift, afforded us this experience. We will never forget it. In fact, we’ve already made the Swordfish for loved ones on Christmas Eve!


Early morning we met Nicoletta and the four other group members at her palace, before heading out to Capo market

Here we met vendors and shopped for local produce, learning about our purchases as we went. Nicolette stressed the importance of a good, honest relationship with your vendor. I was just in awe of the magnificent, fresh and cheap produce.

When visiting Capo market, be sure to stop by the Chiese Dell'Immacolata Concezione al Capo. It's a hidden gem and is just spectacular.

Back at the palace we got to work! Instructed by Nicoletta, we made our way through each dish. We were all assigned jobs and worked together on our culinary creations – everything from washing and chopping, to peeling and stirring, even picking herbs fresh from the garden. It was endless fun.

Time simply flew by! And after all our hard work, we moved into the dining room to enjoy our meal with some well earned vino.

Sun-dried tomato, pistachio and basil on toasted bread. I am now in love with this fast and inspiring combination.

Peppered pecorino and capers.

Eggplant croquettes. Truly, some of the most scrumptious bites I've had. Roasting the eggplant to perfection encouraged such deliciousness.

Pasta with fresh tomato basil sauce. Like a heavenly garden blend, this was pure light and love.

Swordfish involtini and potato caper salad. With a herbed, pinenut, craisin, zesty, breadcrumb, anchovy filling, these fish rolls were beyond. As was this gutsy and welcoming potato salad, with generous use of red wine vinegar. These two dishes to me are just perfection. A perfect plate, a perfect meal.


A drop of Marsala, very Sicilian.

And then we have this beauty, decorated with nuts and chocolate and jasmine kisses. An almond set custard of sorts, which no doubt has a terribly distinct name that I am forgetting (forgive me, our recipe notes are currently in storage). Either way it was pure divinity.

Thank you, Nicoletta for your encouragement and instruction, and to your husband alsofor your warm hospitality and company. I cannot wait to come back to Palermo and stay in your rooms, and delight in some more cooking adventures together.

And to you, lovelies, thank you for letting me share our honeymoon travels with you. This post concludes our somewhat epic trip. Thank you to all of our loved ones who sent us on this incredible, dearly cherished journey as our Wedding gift. We are so very lucky and shall be forever grateful. It was a dream trip and I've had an absolute ball recounting these tales and sharing our adventures. And I've only shed a few tears of longing in the process...

I guess I'll just have to start plan our next trip.

Heidi xo
Life, FoodHeidi19 Comments