Cristina Bossini came to America from her native Italy in 2014 to improve her English language skills and visit an old friend, with whom she and her husband, Roberto Becchetti, had gone to high school in Italy.
Her stay was supposed to be brief. Instead, her husband wound up joining her here, and the two of them, with the old friend and his wife, Laura Orlando, wound up creating Healthy Italia, an Italian imported foods store and cooking school in Madison.
Healthy Italia sells packaged foods and kitchenware that the principals say are rarely available in the United States. They stock 10-to-15 artisan cheeses in their handsome, 2,200-square-foot storefront.
The cooking school, says Bossini, “is designed to provide people with a real Italian experience.” Classes are conducted at nine prep/cooking stations where Orlando teaches hands-on techniques.
September’s calendar of 28 classes can be accessed at healthy-italia.com/cooking-school-schedule. They include “Ladies Night Out–Cooking with Chocolate,” “Date Night–Grilled Shrimp” and “Teen Cooking—Tagliatelle.”
Each class lasts 90 minutes to two and a half hours. Prices start at $45 per person. At the evening classes for adults, participants are encouraged to bring their own wine or beer. The staff will recommend wines and beers that will pair well with the foods being cooked in that evening’s class.
Orlando, 27, who grew up in a family-owned restaurant in Turin, teaches traditional dishes of various regions, such as cheesy burrata risotto with basil and almonds, vegetable polenta and pear and ricotta crostata. These and other recipes she teaches have been passed down through generations of Italian cooks.
“What we do in Italy,” says Bossini, “is enjoy dinner or lunch together at the dining table. So at Healthy Italia we have a huge and beautiful table where we invite people to share the meal they prepare.”
They also use the space for Italian language instruction, wine tastings and wine/food pairings.
Here in the States, Bossini adds, “you can find Italian food everywhere, but the problem is that high quality is never guaranteed. We want to be the best place for Italian foods.”
55 Main Street
(Note: This post was updated on June 12, 2019.)Click here to leave a comment