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May 15, 2008

Turn Up the Heat This Summer


Chef Norbert and his "cajinci."

by Julia Bainbridge

More and more people are looking to make something better out of their vacations than a few lazy, mojito-fueled days (and nights, perhaps) by the ocean. Some are teaching in Cambodia, while others simply want to stick a toe in the other side of their hotel dining rooms.

Hotel & Spa Rosa Alpina opens in San Cassiano, Italy, this summer with a "Flavors of the Dolomites" cooking class weekend featuring twice Michelin-starred Chef Norbert Niederkofler. From June 20 to 23, Chef Niederkofler will show you how to smoke, vacuum, and low-temperature cook, as well as how to choose appropriate wines for sipping and serving. The hearty fare of his homeland favors meats, soup, and polenta, but this chef will also teach earnest kitchen-goers how to make his very untraditional pine needle risotto. (The weekend will include a visit from the local cheese producer who fashions the regional specialty Graukase--literally, "gray cheese"--served in Niederkofler's signature cajinci ravioli dish.)

For those who can't fit in the international flight, Maine's White Barn Inn offers a culinary escape, too. Chef Jonathan Cartwright, who helms the kitchen at the inn's Mobil 5 Star, AAA 5 Diamond restaurant (the only one so rated north of Manhattan, no less), is now giving guests private cooking classes. Small-world fun fact: The White Barn invites guest chef-instructors to teach classes annually, and this year Chef Niederkofler was there from Rosa Alpina.

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