In This Issue
Pizzelles and Biscotti
Biscotti Recipe
Sonoma in 2015
2015 Tuscany Tours
Class Series Continues
Pasta Making class & Testimonial

Christmas Biscotti

Quick Links



2015 Food & Wine Tours


May 29 - June 5, 2015 

June 6 - June 13 - 4 spots left 

Sept 26 -Oct 3   


Bologna & Tuscany

October 4 - 11

Sonoma, California
April 14 - 18, 2015

Join us next year for a full immersion to the regions of Tuscany and Emilia Romagna - great food, wine, history and culture!   


Vacation Villas
& Farmhouses

Casa Marta
Great accommodations for either a night or a week. When planning your stay in Italy, begin your 'country living' on a Saturday and depart the area the following Saturday for the best selection of villas and houses! 
Call for more information.
Contact Mary: 972.342.8308 
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Ecco La Cucina Cookbook

gina's cookbook 

Still looking for a unique gift this holiday season?  



You can order Gina's revised and updated cookbook. It has more than 20 new recipes! This collection of traditional Tuscan cooking, features dishes of the Siena area and some of her favorites. 


Cari amici,
What a special time of the year with family and friends! Gina and Mary will be together in Dallas for a couple of weeks - some cooking and of course, baking. Both of us wish you all
Buon Natale e Felice Hanukkah! May your new year be filled with joy, peace and love.
Gina and Mary

Christmas Cookies 

Christmas is the time for cookies and we've been seeing lots of great photos on Facebook and Pinterest from friends, family and clients. Even though Italy doesn't have the cookie tradition that Northern Europe has, there are still some wonderful cookies that are our Italian favorites, like Pizzelles, amaretti and biscotti.

You need a special iron for pizzelles but biscotti are easy and versatile. You can make them extra dry and crunchy for dipping in hot chocolate or dark roast coffee (Gina's and Mary's favorite!), or keep them softer and easier to chew. The special iron for pizzelles can be ordered online from Fante or your favorite kitchen store.


Biscotti mean "twice cooked" and are Italian dipping cookies that are baked twice, once in the form of a log and the second time as individual cookies. My grandmother made them with anise seeds and almonds and we dipped them in coffee on Christmas morning.  You can add any combination of nuts and dried fruit and even dip them in dark chocolate for a festive cookie.  Two of my favorites are dried cherries/hazelnuts and dried cranberries/ pistachio.

3 cups flour

1 sugar

1 teas baking powder

Grated zest from one orange

3 eggs

3 tbsp melted butter

1 teas vanilla or almond extract

1 nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, or hazelnuts)

1 cup dried fruit (cherries, currants, or cranberries)


Mix the dry ingredients together, grate in the orange zest and make a well in the middle of the flour mix. Add the eggs, butter and extract in the well and begin to beat the eggs with a fork. Gradually pull in all the flour until incorporated and then add the nuts and dried fruit, stirring to combine. Turn the mixture onto a floured board. If it is very sticky, continue to add flour until the dough is dry enough to handle. Break the dough into three equal parts, roll each part into a log as long as the baking sheet and place on parchment paper on the baking sheet. Bake at 375 until golden brown and set. Take the logs out and cut them on a diagonal into individual cookies. Return the cookies to a 300 degree oven and allow them to dry out.

Tuscany to Sonoma, California Tour
We'll be taking Tuscany on the road to Sonoma next spring! We had such a wonderful time this past April we are returning with another food and wine tour. We love this picturesque area in northern California and the foodie culture. Our culinary adventure will include cooking classes and visits to local producers of wine, cheeses, seafood and more. We'll be staying at the beautiful Ramekins Inn in downtown Sonoma and hold cooking classes in their fabulous kitchen with foods we buy at the market.
The dates are April 14 - 18. Contact Mary for itinerary and pricing:; 972-342-8308
2015 Tuscany Tours
Our 2015 schedule (shown above) is confirmed and we'd love to have you join us for our small group immersions into this beautiful land. Looking for a special way to celebrate an anniversary or birthday or cross traveling to Italy off your bucket list? Our small groups tours will make you feel like an insider instead of a tourist! It is a wonderful balance of cooking classes, winery visits, culinary excursions and sightseeing (and shopping!). Join us in the spring or in the fall next year. Click here to see a sample itinerary.
Class Series Continues ....
Bourbon Barrel Foods will continue to host Gina's class series:Wednesday, Jan. 14 and Wednesday, Feb. 4 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Cost is $55 per person, per class. 1201 Story Ave. in Louisville.
Attendees can sign up for one or more classes. Make a reservation, by calling Bourbon Barrel Food:
(502) 333-6103. 
Many thanks to Matt and Leanne for letting us use the great Bourbon Barrel Foods kitchen for the Louisville classes!
Pasta Making at Class
The class participants tried their hands at pasta making!
Our new friend - Ann-Marie from her Bourbon Barrel Foods class:
Chris and I had a total blast with you and your delicious courses... You were a joy to watch - you were informative in a fun, interesting way!!!!
Gina, your foods were DELICIOUS!!!! You have inspired us to be more adventurous....