If you want recipes for the food we enjoy on our Feast on History tours, look no further than Arthur Schwartz's "Southern Italian Table." Many of them were honed at the cooking classes Schwartz led at the farms of the Baronessa Cecilia Baratta Bellelli.
A cooking class with the Baronessa at Masseria Eliseo is like stepping into a dream. Our classroom is a farmhouse kitchen while buffalo loll around just outside the screen door. Inside, the dining room is decorated with antiques and family heirlooms that go back to the late 1700s.
The Baronessa leads guests through five courses. We made ravioli, ragu, pizza, mozzarella-in-carozza and a chocolate cake. Plenty of local wine is poured throughout the class.
The Baronessa adds a touch of the house-made olive oil.
Cecilia's assistants help us along the way.
All the ingredients are simple and local. The tomatoes were grown on the farm and canned in late summer. The salume is all made during the February maialata.
"The Southern Italian Table" is always on the Baronessa's credenza.