There are many things we took for granted pre-2020 – birthday parties, weddings, trips to the cinema, and the simple human need for socialization. 

This was especially true in the workplace, where water cooler chats and office banter made way for Zoom calls, juggling toddlers during meetings, and lonely lunches on the sofa. 

The same can be said for travel. Those who loved the thrill of experiencing new places, cultures, and cuisines were limited to looking forward to a trip to the convenience store for essential goods.

Fortunately, humanity is resilient and adaptable, so we made the most of it and found ways to keep our connections going. However, office culture needed to act quickly if it wanted to continue to nurture team dynamics, and the concept of remote team building was born.

With remote team building becoming the norm and many people missing the thrill of experiencing global cuisine first-hand, Rockoly has designed the perfect solution. Why not connect your staff through an online cooking workshop and whisk them off on a culinary adventure at the same time? 

Experience Italian Travel with Rockoly

Rockoly offers a smorgasbord of Mediterranean menus as a part of their team-building workshops. In our previous article, we focused on the sumptuous flavors of Spain and Greece. 

This week, our focus is virtual Italian travel through its delicious food. Italian cuisine is synonymous with robust flavor, festive get-togethers, and indulgent comfort food.

Cucina Italiana (Italian Cuisine) has been around much longer than Italy itself. Italy, as we know it today is a relatively young country and was previously a collection of city-states that merged in 1871. Before that, it was the home of the Roman Empire, the birthplace of the mythical Romulus and Remus. 

The Italian Peninsula was ideally situated for trade across the Mediterranean. Their fertile soil and coastal location offered them access to a wide variety of grains, wines, meat, and livestock.

The Romans were infamous for their love of anything in excess. Wild parties, gorging on fine foods and devouring wine were common among the wealthy, and they delighted in flavors brought to the region from conquered lands.

The Birth of Italian Food

Mediterranean staples dominate the Italian dinner table. Delicious wine, fragrant olive oil, artisan bread, rich cheeses, and of course, pasta – one of the best things to come from wheat.

Pasta is said to have come from the Etruscans who conquered the region in 800 BC. Images of pasta making have been discovered in an Etruscan tomb where cooks are depicted mixing flour and water and then rolling it out and cutting it into shapes. 

De re coquinaria, compiled by Marcus Gavius Apicius, is an ancient cookbook dating back to the first century and is a treasure trove of ancient Roman recipes. It shows that the Greeks introduced the art of fermentation, which led to wine and breadmaking.  

The Renaissance brought Europe closer together, and new trends in trade had a massive impact on Italian cuisine. As a trading hub, so many new ingredients and spices were introduced to the region, and being the food lovers that they were, they took full advantage.

Tomatoes, a staple in Italian food, are native to Peru. The Spanish brought them to the region following their conquest of “The New World,” along with other favorites such as zucchini, peppers, and chocolate. You learn something new every day!

Travel to Italy with Rockoly

With Rockoly, your team can enjoy the feasts of the Mediterranean from their very own kitchen. Here is but a sample of the delights from Rockoly’s virtual Italian travel experience.

The Perfect Pizza

Italian Pizza

In 997 AD, “pizza” was first documented in Gaeta, Italy. Enjoyed by Italians for centuries, it only made its way to America after the Second World War. This boosted its popularity in Italy, as tourists flocked to its shores, seeking out the perfect pie. In a crude form, pizza is even thought to have been eaten in the Stone Age, serving as the very first plate.

Make the perfect pizza with Rockoly. Create the ultimate crust and top it with delicious mushrooms and cheese – or feel free to raid the fridge and be creative. There is no end to the options for pizza toppings, and people have been experimenting with the perfect pairings for decades. 

Nothing is off-limits, from the classic cheese pizza to brie cheese, banana, and BBQ chicken. Many a heated debate has been had regarding pineapple and whether it has earned right to call itself a pizza topping. Complete the occasion with a wine pairing to feel like you are on vacation in Italy.

Cavatelli – Traditional Pasta and Pesto

Italian Cavatelli

Cavatelli is a shell-shaped pasta that has been around since the thirteenth century. The name means “little hollows,” and it is usually served with a thick sauce, rich with fresh vegetables such as broccoli or mushrooms. Cavatelli originated Molise, a Southern Italian region, and is one of the oldest pasta shapes in Italy.

Cavatelli is made by hand, creating a hole in small dough balls, forming the shell shape. Its ingredients are simple –semolina flour and salted water. Much like many culinary treasures, cavatelli originated as a cheap dish, enjoyed by peasant families, as it was inexpensive and easy to make. It later evolved into a delicacy, prepared by the best chefs for nobles and aristocrats at banquets.

Pesto often accompanies pasta, and the pungent sauce originated in Genoa, northern Italy. Traditional pesto is created from crushed garlic, fresh basil, and pine nuts. This is blended with top-quality virgin olive oil and some sharp flavored Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Pesto in Italian is pestare, and it means to crush or pound. Traditionally, it is prepared in a mortar and pestle. The Romans enjoyed a similar delight called moretum, created by crushing garlic and herbs with cheese.

Rockoly’s Cavatelli workshop will teach the art of making traditional Italian pasta from scratch and blending it with a rich, flavorful basil, and walnut pesto. Complete the occasion with a wine pairing and explore Italian vineyards to complement the palate.

Mouth-Watering Minestrone

Italian travel minestrone

Minestrone is a simple soup that has gained fans worldwide because of its hearty ingredients and intense flavors. 

The 2nd century BC was a time of economic growth that brought new vegetables to the market. Italians took full advantage and were creative in maximizing the use of these new flavors on their menus. 

There is no exact recipe for minestrone, as it is a bit of a mix and match, which once again started as a peasant’s meal. However, it usually features ripe tomatoes, beans, onions, celery, and occasionally, pasta.

Cozy up with Rockoly and create a decadent, traditional vegetable broth. This minestrone is both hearty and delicious. Extend the fun with a fluffy popover add-on and make some savory pastries to pair.

Knock, Knock, Gnocchi on Heaven’s Door

Italian Travel gnocchi

Gnocchi are delicious, plump dumplings that go way back to Roman times and have been enjoyed as a peasant delicacy ever since. They were initially made from semolina dough and eggs. Today’s potato dumplings were born when potatoes were introduced to Europe in the 16th century. 

Gnocchi (pronounced nyok-ee) is prepared by combining mashed potatoes with flour, creating bite-sized dough balls lightly pressed with a fork. The tiny grooves allow the dumplings to hold onto the accompanying sauce, maximizing flavor.

Rockoly will teach you how to create delicious gnocchi tossed in a rich Pomodoro sauce and enriched with aromatic basil, tomatoes, garlic, and more. Then, complete the occasion with a wine pairing for the full Italian experience.

Relish in Risotto

Italian Travel risotto

This classic northern Italian dish is made of rice, slowly cooked in broth until it thickens. The broth combines wine, butter, and some mature parmesan to give it a nice kick. 

The Arabians brought rice to Sicily in the 14th century, and the Mediterranean climate proved perfect for growing short and medium-grain rice. As a result, it became one of the most lucrative exports of the northern city-states. In addition, the influx of Eastern spices accelerated risotto’s popularity making it one of Italy’s most popular dishes.

Make a classic risotto with an online team-building event! Fresh and flavorful ingredients such as garlic, sweet pea, asparagus, lemon, and more make this risotto a creamy and delightful dish. Complete this meal with a delicious Italian wine pairing experience.

Wine a little, laugh a lot

Italian Travel vineyard

Rockoly wine tastings bring expert sommeliers to you. Wine pairings are available with each menu, or go on a virtual journey of discovery through Italy’s magnificent vineyards.

Italy, the home of Leonardo Da Vinci, haunting operas, and Ferrari, is also home to incredible wines, such as the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Amarone, and Barolo. Let Rockoly maximize your Italian travel experience and take you on a virtual walk through a Tuscan Vineyard.

First We Eat, Then We Do Everything Else.” – Italian Proverb

Team Building Strategies

Rockoly will bring your team together with a fun and interactive cooking class. So, tell us about your remote team, select a meal from our curated menu, and get started! Your team-building event is customizable and hassle-free — we deliver all the ingredients to your team!

A professional chef will guide your online team-building workshop through video conferencing, helping everyone create exciting meals together. In addition, Rockoly’s Italian travel events encourage connection, boost morale, and foster socialization. We even add fun group games and entertainment for your team during the workshop.

Get in touch today if you’re ready to bring your team through Italian travel and cuisine with a Rockoly workshop.

Nicola Killops

Nicola Killops

Nicola is a former teacher and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She now writes full-time, with her partner, Justin. Nicola loves food, music, travel, and is a proud human and pet mom.

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