We are a foodie family. Since Italian food dominates the world’s tables, according to The Economist, it only made sense to do something food-related while on our recent trip to Rome. After scouring through TripAdvisor and Airbnb Experiences, I finally settled on a Pasta Making and Wine Tasting Tour in Frascati, about a 30-minute train ride outside of Rome.
When budgeting for a vacation with four people, I have to keep pricing in mind. My husband refers to this as the “tyranny of times four”–a price for a single or even a couple can be reasonable, but multiplication by four can sting. Many other similar tours were close to €100 per person, and that starts to make less sense. This one was around €30 per person and included wine.
Tinello 28, where the class is held, is both a restaurant and home to generations of wine making so we got to see the old wine cellar as well as make pasta. They started conducting these classes about a year ago, and they have figured out the right formula for families, especially with teenagers, to have fun!
Taking the Train to Frascati
I was a little nervous about taking the train to Frascati from Rome, but it turns out it’s super simple. There is a nice, clean direct train that goes back and forth from Rome Termini to Frascati. It runs every hour (near the hour) out there and every hour (on the half hour) back in. But the trains do stop running around 10 pm so it’s important to note the last train departure time.
At the Rome Termini station, buy a ticket to Frascati from the ticket kiosk. They are red and at the entrance so you can’t miss them. Even better, you can do the transaction in English. You may be asked by people if they can help you with the machine. There are train station officials (with badges) and others who are trying to work off tips who can help you with the machines.
A ticket costs €2.10 each way, which I think is a great deal. Give yourself a little extra time to board as the Frascati train is at one of the tracks out of the way so it’s a bit of a walk.
Walking to Tinello 28
Our co-host met us right outside the train station and provided a very brief tour as we walked through Frascati on the way to Tinello 28. In hindsight, we should have come out here earlier to explore the town because it looks really cute. We worked our way through the small streets and arrived at the event location. Our host Simon greeted us each when we entered and ushered us past the work station to tables all set for appetizers.
Tasting the Family Wine & Charcuterie
After we all sat, our hosts made their way around the tables to pour glasses of white and red wine. They told us about the family wine making business which produce “Frascati Superiore” D.O.C.G. and “Vagnolo.” While the drinking age is 16 in Italy, my teenagers enjoyed a taste. Along with the wine, we had a charcuterie of local cheeses, salami, and prosciutto.
There is no doubt serving your guests wine before the pasta making will make the whole experience that much more fun.
Now Let’s Make Some Pasta
We moved into the pasta preparation area, which was all set up with our tools and ingredients: flour, salt, and an egg. What I love is the ingredients are so simple–this is something our kids can perfect once at home. Our hosts walked around helping clear off what wasn’t needed. Now and then they lent a hand as we mixed together our dough by hand.
With our hands now covered in dough, Simon stood nearly to take photos with our cameras for all social media purposes. (Smart man!) Once the dough was mixed and rolled out — which quickly became a family competition — we had a choice of what shape to make our pasta. Gently folded, sliced, and plated, it was now time to cook and eat.
Mangia Mangia! Eating our Creations
While waiting to cook the pasta, we chose between three types of sauces to top our pasta: Amatriciana, Carbonara, and Cacio e Pepe. Simon boiled up our pastas in cute individual mesh colanders and added the sauce of our choice.
Following dinner, our hosts provided us each with a lantern and invited us down to the wine cellar. Now it’s more of a memory of what was produced down there since the wine is made at their nearby vineyard.
Summary: We weren’t really sure what to expect with this experience. The reviews on Airbnb are outstanding and deservedly so. It’s a fun activity to do with kids, friends, and families. The wine is delicious and the hosts are friendly and fun. The whole adventure took, with the train ride and cab to the station, about six hours in the evening.