York is such a gorgeous place, and I took the train down from London early one morning, for a press trip to try the MasterChef Travel Dining experience hosted by Italian born MasterChef 2011 finalist, Sara Danesin, where she helped us develop our culinary techniques in making fresh pasta from scratch.
Armed with 100 grams of white flour, a good quality egg (she taught us how to check for this), and a pinch of salt, we made pasta dough, following in Sara’s lead, and whilst we left the dough to rest, Sara taught us how to use a pasta machine to roll the pasta.
I actually own a pasta machine but have ashamedly never used it and so I was looking forward to giving it a go when back in London, as it was actually really fun making the dough and didn’t take too much time at all, and nothing beats fresh pasta!
Sara taught us how to make Pappardelle, Ravioli and Bucatini, and all from the same machine and the same dough!
She then showed us how to cook the Pappardelle with a delicious recipe of pancetta, olive oil, parsley and porcini mushrooms, and we also stuffed the ravioli with ricotta, truffle, and spinach – dreamy! The bucatini was served with a mix of pesto, olives and tomato jam cooked into a sauce, and it was lovely to see how simple and quick it actually was to make fresh pasta, and how simple flavours go a very long way in Italian cooking. We thoroughly enjoyed tucking into each type of pasta, and we learned so much! Each of the pasta variations we made were literally ready in minutes and she told us that it is better to make it as close to the time you want to eat it as possible to have that lovely fresh taste.
I can’t recommend this cooking class enough – Sara is so lovely and really explains everything so well. I feel so inspired to make fresh pasta at home after this and will dust the cobwebs off my pasta machine, which has never left it’s box since it was bought many years ago!
As part of the MasterChef Travel break, you get a 2 night stay at The Principal York. I was staying for one night, and after a fantastic and smooth check in, I left my luggage in my room, and headed out to explore more of York. My room was spacious and I particularly loved the Tuck box filled with goodies, as well as the Elemis toiletries in the bathroom, a brand I use! It is worth noting that the hotel is 2 minutes from the train station and so convenient! If I was to come back to York I would definitely stay here again as it is such a fabulous place, and I really want to visit the nearby Railway museum next time too.
I decided to do the hop on hop off bus tour to learn more about York’s history and main sites as I had heard that lots of our famous and well loved chocolates originated in York! I hadn’t been on a hop on hop off bus tour for years and this was my first time exploring a city solo! Everyone was so lovely and helpful and I had so much fun!
Highlights for me were going to the Shambles, a a narrow cobbled street lined with beautifully preserved Elizabethan buildings and lots of quirky shops, including a Christmas shop! I saw lots of lovely tea rooms and I definitely want to come back to York for a few days to experience the food scene in more depth.
I decided to do the guided tour at the York Chocolate Story too, which I highly recommend, and is close to the Shambles. It takes just over an hour and fifteen minutes and really goes in depth about York’s historical past relating to chocolate production and it is very interactive, with lots of chocolate tasting along the way. At the end you even get to decorate your own chocolate lollipop!
I had a wonderful day, and decided to end with a obligatory Mojito at the hotel bar, called Chapter House, which is so convenient if you are waiting around before a train, or want a fantastic spot to have cocktails. It is worth mentioning that one of the hop on hop off bus stops is right outside the hotel!
I was staying the night in York and so after my mojito I went off to my room, got in my Pjs after a long afternoon of exploring, ordered some room service and watched TV. I hadn’t done that in years and it was so much fun being by myself and switching off from work mode for a day! I am definitely going to do this more often as sometimes as a Freelancer you end up working 7 days a week and your day can start at 7am and end at 11pm depending on what you have going on!
If you are a foodie, I would recommend one of the MasterChef Travel breaks by Super Break, and the cooking class that I did with Sara was superb! Mine was a taster of the MasterChef Travel – Sara Danesin Medio Private Cookery Experience, which includes an Afternoon cookery class with MasterChef finalist Sara Danesin, a 2-night stay with full breakfast at the Principal York Hotel and dinner at the hotel on your first evening. To find out more visit the website here.
To see the other MasterChef Travel Breaks visit the website here.