Rosetta Pizzini, my beautiful mother-in-law, left school at the age of 14 to work in an osteria in her home town of Bolzano, northern Italy. Over the next eight years, she worked alongside a local cook, using the ‘nose to tail’ principles of cooking while learning the local classics and traditional recipes of the time.
She easily made the best food I have tasted and she secretly told me that she would have loved to run a cooking school; I can vouch for the fact that she was amazing at demonstrating and passing on her skills.
Apple strudel was her signature dish. The pastry was spread with delicious homemade apricot jam, then filled with her early-ripening Gravenstein apples, with their perfect balance of sweetness and gentle tartness. The apples were dotted with butter, which together with the jam and juice from the apples, oozed out to become a perfect glaze for the top of the strudel.
It is by far the most popular dessert served at our festivals and any leftover strudels from A Tavola! cooking classes are delivered straight to the kitchen of our Mountain View Hotel where they are served as ‘Katrina’s Apple Strudel’. In my mind it will always be Rosetta’s Apple Strudel.