Elena Nappa, a pioneer residing in Gaiole in Chianti, is a master at setting the stage and her Italian cooking classes at Borgo Argenina, are the “proof in the pudding.”
She truly is an expert in creating special moments and yummy dishes that will certainly have you remembering your time in Tuscany fondly.
The very first time I met Elena she told me a story of how the women she had met over the years had influenced and touched her life – her mother, relatives, colleagues, and friends, both old and new. Each had left her with something very personal and in many cases, delicious. Now, at her bed and breakfast, as guests came and left her Chianti accommodations, it was her turn.
It was her intention to honor these women, and their stories, by creating a printed collection of their very special Italian recipes. A rather unusual scrapbook you might say, but then Elena is a rather unusual woman.
Memories of Tuscany
She witnessed how photos faded and cracked … and for all their beauty, they never told the full story. She knew that the recipes that these women had shared needed to be conserved in a timeless fashion. They were recipes for a good life and recipes for a good meal – and they would never go out of style.
These are the recipes from the many ‘mothers’ I have known throughout my life… each with something special to share.Elena Nappa
So she organized them, rewrote them, included personal notes and then printed them, creating a lovely keepsake. And now she has something special that she shares with each of her guests.
Something which allows them to carry a bit of her home back to their home. An Italian recipe book is a faithful companion – there are no batteries that need to be charged, you don’t have to worry about it falling and breaking and a little bit of egg on the page is a sign of use – not a dirty screen.
Cooking in Tuscany
Elena knew from the beginning that a savory plate of pesto pasta or a sweet portion of Tiramisù could be enough to pull someone up and infuse them with energy for the next phase of life – it had helped her numerous times.
She believes in the fresh ingredients from her garden, following traditions, beautifying a room with flowers and cooking with friends. And for all of her forward-thinking, and acceptance of the advantages of technology, she is still insists on teaching you how to hand pick your tomatoes and roll your own pasta dough.
As you thumb through the pages of your Italian recipe book at home, you will remember the laughter, the dough crusted fingers, the smell of fresh basil and that bottle of wine before dinner. You will remember your cooking class with Elena and the delicious meal which followed with new friends who were also staying at Borgo Argenina.
And you will remember why you want to come back again!
I love pesto. I use the recipe from your cookbook that we received when we stayed with you many years ago. Time to come back!Grace Marshall
It is her passion for details that make your stay together at her bed and breakfast or independent vacation villas the highlight of your Tuscan vacation. Not only does she teach you the technique of making a good Italian meal, but she leaves you with the warm emotions of sharing time together with new friends, new cultures and … new recipes.