Mamma Agata’s USA Cookbook Tour!

Over the past two weeks I’ve shared with you about the Mamma Agata Cooking School on the Amalfi Coast, located in an absolutely dreamy spot in Ravello, and one of my favorite cookbooks called “Mamma Agata – Simple and Genuine.” My dear friend Chiara Lima, author of the cookbook and director of the Mamma Agata Cooking School, is about to head off to the USA for a tour celebrating her fabulous cookbook. I know many of my readers are located in America, and I’m excited to share with you the details about Chiara’s cooking and book signing events. If you love the Amalfi Coast and Italian cooking, you won’t want to miss out on meeting Chiara and picking up a copy of her cookbook. Best wishes and safe travels to Chiara as she travels across America sharing her family’s passion for cooking and the good life – Amalfi Coast style!



Mamma Agata’s Cookbook Launch

6:30 – 9:00pm – Wine Dinner and Book Signing (reservations needed)
Venue: Bernards Inn
Location: Bernardsville, NJ
Scheduled Time: 6:30 – 9:00pm
Please contact Mrs Marlene Iaciofano  at
or  Mrs Tacey Mancini at the Bernards Inn or email her at:

5:30 – 7:00pm – Reception and Book Signing
Rizzoli Book Store
31 S 57th Street
New York

Eataly – Editors and Media Event
(private event – Not open to public)
200 Fifth Avenue, 23rd Street
New York

11:30 – 1:30pm – Fundraiser luncheon for Common Threads (reservations needed)
(For reservation and tickets, please visit by October 25, 2010)
980 N Michigan Ave

6.00 -8.00 pm – Book signing and Wine tasting (reservations needed)
Lush Wine and Spirits
West Town Location
1412 West Chicago Avenue
(RSVP to Megan Richards at  by October 25, 2010)

 6.00 pm – Dinner benefiting the Sister Cities Milan Committee,
book signing and cooking demonstration (reservations needed)
(For reservation and tickets, please visit by October 25, 2010)
Phil Stefani’s 437
437 Rush Street

11.00 am – 4.00 pm – Charity Event for Meals on Wheels (reservations needed)
Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Center
1440 West Mockingbird Lane, Dallas
(for reservation please, contact Mrs Christina Moore at 214-689-2265 or

6.30pm – 9.00 pm – Cooking class (reservations needed)
Central Market School– Plano Location
320 Coit Rd,
Plano, TX 75075
(469) 241-8389
(for tickets please contact Central Market School at

11:00am – 1:00pm – Book Signing
Galleria Store
13350 Dallas Parkway



Will you be able to meet Chiara Lima during her USA Cookbook Tour?

A Taste of Paradise at Mamma Agata’s Cooking School on the Amalfi Coast

One afternoon not long ago I stepped into paradise. That’s really how it feels when you walk through the doors of the Mamma Agata Cooking School on the Amalfi Coast. The pretty ceramic tile sign outside the door says “The Hidden Treasure,” and as soon as I stepped inside I knew I had discovered one of the true gems on the Amalfi Coast. I invite you along as I recount the enchanting summer afternoon I spent in Ravello at Mamma Agata’s …


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata Sign


I arrived just as the morning’s cooking class was wrapping up. I received the warmest greeting from Chiara Lima, Director of Mamma Agata’s (and the daughter of Agata). Within minutes I found myself with a glass of red wine in hand and sampling an antipasto of Involtini di Melanzane, delicate rolls made with eggplant and filled with provolone, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. It was the beginning of the best meal I’ve ever eaten!


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata Wine Glass    

Although I didn’t see the entire cooking class, I was happy to have a chance to see the part about preparing the antipasti. The classes are taught by Agata and Chiara, with Chiara’s wonderful English translations and good humor making it a lively and fun experience. I was welcomed into the group immediately and could tell from the moment I arrived that they were having a fabulous time. The class takes place in a beautiful kitchen located just steps from a gorgeous outdoor terrace. After enjoying the antipasti in the kitchen, while learning some invaluable tips on frying, we were all invited to retire to the terrace and enjoy a glass of wine and the views while Chiara and Mamma Agata put the finishing touches on lunch. 


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata View


The views from Mamma Agata’s are extraordinary and are certainly part of the enchanting setting.


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata Terrace


The table was beautifully set on the terrace, and it was so inviting on a gorgeous summer day.


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata Lunch Table


Everything served at Mamma Agata’s is grown in the family’s garden, located on the terraced land stretching down to the sea. They serve their own wines, which get the close attention of Chiara’s husband Gennaro, a professional sommelier and wine expert. If you’re interested in a Wine Tasting, Gennaro will be your sommelier for an unforgettable evening on the Amalfi Coast!


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata Wine


The lunch started off with a taste of Mamma Agata’s Parmigiana di Melanzane, which was hands down the best I’ve ever had. After that fine beginning, we were served two outstanding pasta dishes. The first was a Spaghetti del Contadino with olives, fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden, capers and arugula. Next came Pappardelle con Perperoni e Salsiccia, broad pasta noodles served with peppers and sausage. I would go back again simply for this pasta dish … it was that good!


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata Chiara Lima

The delightful Chiara serving the Parmigiana di Melanzane


But it didn’t end there! Out next came Mamma Agata’s famous Pollo al Limone, chicken cooked in the famous Amalfi Coast lemons from the family’s gardens. After that I had to get up and take a stroll around the terrace garden to make room for dessert!


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata Grassy terrace


The finishing touch of this wonderful meal was a slice of Mamma Agata’s Dolce al Limone, an absolutely divine lemon cake, and a glass of the family’s limoncello. Mamma Agata’s has hosted countless celebrities, and they have a fun book put together where you can see photos. Chiara has many great stories to share, too! All of the recipes I’ve mentioned in this post can be found in the Mamma Agata Simple and Genuine cookbook written by Chiara Lima. After enjoying the fabulous meal, I dare you to leave without one!


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata Book


That afternoon I spent at Mamma Agata’s Cooking School was a dream. I felt like I had stepped into paradise! Not only do you get to learn about the secrets and cooking traditions on the Amalfi Coast, you also get to eat a meal of a lifetime. Perhaps the best part, however, is the feeling of being welcomed into a family. When you walk through the front door that’s how you feel—like you’re a part of the family. It’s an absolutely unforgettable experience on the Amalfi Coast!


Ciao Amalfi Blog Mamma Agata Bougainvillea


For more information, visit the Mamma Agata Cooking School website, which has all the details on their cooking classes, wine tastings and how to get your own copy of the Mamma Agata Simple and Genuine cookbook.

A Delectable Panino in Florence by Katie Greenaway

When I visited my friend Katie in Florence this past May, she was kind enough to meet me at the train station since it was my first time in Florence. After dropping off my bag at the hotel, my stomach rumbling reminded me that after the train ride from Salerno to Florence it was certainly time for lunch. When I asked Katie for a suggestion on where we should go, she responded with, “Do you want something cheap or something good?” I said, “Something cheap AND good.” Off we went to her favorite panino shop, which was a memorable and fun experience. I’ve tried to recreate that panino here on the Amalfi Coast, but it’s just not the same without the Tuscan prosciutto,  pecorino and artichokes. Yum! Here’s Katie to tell you more about where to find the best sandwiches in Florence.

Welcome, Katie!



Vinaino di Parte Guelfa opened about a year and half ago by two good friends, Luca and Leonardo, who happen to be brothers-in-law as well.  Having done every job under the sun, they decided to open this delicious panino shop in the center of Florence.  Both natives of Florence, they have now accumulated new friends from the city and all over the world.  They tell me they enjoy speaking with folks that frequent the shop.  Social interactions are what they thrive on!  Sometimes it seems as if they are bartenders as well since every time I am in there someone is complaining about their life, while Luca and Leonardo add their two sense here and there and then let the client vent.  It’s an extra bonus to be able to let all your worries and concerns out to your neighborhood sandwich extraordinaires.


vinainodeli Photo courtesy Vinaino di Parte Guelfa


I entered this sandwich shop because of a recommendation from a friend.  Often I’m nervous entering a new establishment in Florence since I’m very shy and it takes time before I feel comfortable with the owners and then can loosen up and talk up a storm with the clients and perhaps help out the tourists order.  The shop is very small with only 2 tall and very tiny tables.  Most people congregate outside on the curb during the busy lunch hour since there is no room inside.  When arriving during the hours of 1pm to 3pm, expect a line.  Don’t worry as it moves quite fast.  Luca and Leonardo are very helpful and patient with each customer foreign or not.  (Bare with them they are still learning English!)  It is hard to decide when there are savory meats and tantalizing aromas making you second-guess yourself.


schiacciatinabywww.terradivirgilio.itPhoto courtesy Terra di Virgilio 


The menu is small and versatile, offering you the choice between having a schiacciatina and panino .  A simple panino with prosciutto crudo and pecorino fresco will run you only €2,50.  If you are like me who like to mix tons of fresh flavors of Tuscany together, then it will cost you just €1 more, €3,50.  Beverages consist of vino (wine), Fanta, Coca-Cola, water and beer.  All will be from €1 to €1,50.  I suggest the vino after a long day of walking in Florence!


vinainolucaleo Photo courtesy Vinaino di Parte Guelfa


This delectable panino shop is located off the beaten path on Via Val di Lamona right near Mercato Nuovo.  The street is very small and once you walk down it, you will see the token barrel outside the shop.  That’s your cue that you’ve arrived at this scrumptious panino shop!



Katie Greenaway is a freelance travel writer and is the Local Expert of Florence for Nile Guide where she also provides the secrets of Florence on her blog.  She writes about her life in Florence on her personal blog Olio di Oliva e Sogni di Vino and contributes to MNUI travel insurance with travel articles.

Learn All About Italy’s Olive Oil



What’s the one thing that’s an absolute must for Italian cooking? Olive oil! This fall I’ve had a blast contributing a series of posts to The italyMONDO! Blog on Italy’s “liquid gold” – from the harvesting and pressing stages to selecting and storing your olive oil to keep it at its best until the last drop. Head on over to The italyMONDO! Blog where you can our five part series on Italy’s olive oil.

Buon appetito!

Chef Chuck’s Baked Apples


Chef Chuck's Baked Apples14 Photo courtesy Chef Chuck’s Cucina


One of my favorite things about blogging is the great dialog that comes about when readers leave comments here on Ciao Amalfi. Recently, my post about Campania’s Melannurca apples started a fun conversation where Chuck from Chef Chuck’s Cucina mentioned baked apples. Oh, yum! But more than just mention them, he included his own recipe for Chef Chuck’s Baked Apples on his blog. Head on over and check out this lovely fall recipe. Grazie mille Chuck!