Each Saturday afternoon or otherwise by appointment you can have a hands-on pasta making lesson at one of the Hunter Valley's beautiful boutique wineries, Sandalyn Estate.
The Olive & The Grape is a genuine Tuscan experience offered by Jane Thomson, who, after travelling there with her husband, learnt the art of making pasta from a group of Italian women. They found the experience tied together history and tradition beautifully and chose Sandalyn as the place to pass their knowledge on, as its owners "were lovely people and have vision".
The day starts in the beautiful gardens and students are introduced to three olive oils two from the Hunter and one from Gunnedah. Jane has noticed that Australians are becoming more discerning about olive oil and are choosing it as carefully as they do their favourite wines. She has many interesting stories about the history, myths and legends which surround oil, wine and pasta.
Next the group ventures to the Sandalyn cellar which is not normally open to visitors. It is a place of great atmosphere and the huge table is where everyone gathers for pasta-making.
Jane believes the secret to making perfect pasta, apart from the ingredients, is to learn from someone rather than from a book. She uses fresh local eggs, semolina and a traditional pasta-making machine. Everyone ends up covered with flour, and that's all part of the fun.
Half of the pasta is cut into tagliatelle, which are long, thin, flat strips, and the rest is used to make spinach and ricotta ravioli.
Once it is whisked away to be cooked, the group spends time upstairs tasting a range of Sandalyn wines and then it's back to the gardens to eat the results of your labour, accompanied by one of the wines, and enjoy the views across the vineyards and olive groves.
Vegetarians will love the classes as everything is meat-free and organic produce is used wherever possible.
The Hunter Valley, two hours north of Sydney.
The Olive & The Grape cooking classes at Sandalyn Estate in Lovedale cost $99 per person for a three-hour class. They run on Saturdays and at other times by appointment.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
The Olive & The Grape
Wilderness Road, Lovedale 2321
Ph: (02) 9590 firstname.lastname@example.org