I was a guest of the wonderfully organised Bright Delight for a night. All opinions are entirely my own but may have been influenced by having a cracking good time.
I am a foodie. This much should be largely self-evident on perusal of my enormous buttocks. And I would say I’m a Bright Virgin, but that would be too much like saying I was a schoolgirl with good academic results (which is, ummmm, exactly what I’m saying).
Bright, the gateway to some of Victoria’s best ski resorts, is a foodie’s paradise dripping with fresh, local produce and a spirited, friendly vibe. My Bright Delight highlight (see what I did there?) was undoubtedly Patrizia Simone’s Italian cooking class in her and husband George’s new cooking school. Kat, Carli, Laney and I were lucky enough to score the class, with a soundtrack of lilting babble from Kat and Allan’s delightful 9 month old daughter playing on the sidelines.
To say I had Kitchen Envy is like saying Jensen Ackles needs more brothers. I drooled over the space. It was immaculate, with all the mod cons and the bench was laden with fresh food – fruit, vegetables, herbs, fennel-infused salami, fresh crusty bread and rows of Prosecco-filled champagne glasses, which is clearly a requirement for any Italian cooking class.
Patrizia herself is INSPIRATIONAL. She is a marvellous cook, with an accommodating warmth that I took to instantly. There was no snobbery of a hatted chef (although she’s acquired 3 in her career), only a woman who was passionate about food and indoctrinating us into the cult of Italian cuisine. I would have happily shaved my head and chanted mantras naked on top of a snow-capped mountain to bask in her knowledge. Thankfully for the other bloggers, I didn’t have to. I had a big fat mummy crush on Patrizia. Sing it.
Patrizia started us off with a beautiful snack of zucchini flower fritters (fritelle di fiori di zucchini) and then showed us how to make gnocchi and orrechiette (Italian for “little ears”). I had no expectations about the class, but was secretly hoping she’d show us to how to make pasta. I love pasta (OK, you can stop looking at my bum) but am a bit frightened by it, so have never actually made it. In Patrizia’s hands, I was shocked at just how straightforward (and therapeutic) it was. I was rather good at shaping the orrechiette if I say so myself, although I suspect it was Patrizia’s own magic apron that I had to wear when the other regular aprons ran out.
Halfway through the class, Patrizia’s mother-in-law, 92 year old Maria came out to make fettucine with her rolling pin and huge wooden board. No pasta making machine for Maria, hell no. She worked that dough with a rhythm akin to a buddhist priest meditating. It was hypnotic. She was a woman of few words and George had to translate for her, but she was just glorious. Maria and Patrizia may or may not have been responsible for me talking with a heavy Italian accent since arriving home (the kids are bemused, but today is Italian Day at Scout’s school so she’s taking one for the team).
After the class, we all sat down with Kim, who organised Bright Delight, with a glass or two of Ringer Reef Petit Manseng and the spoils of our labour – an immaculate gnocchi with truffle, gorgonzola and castello blanco, and orrechiette with a simple sauce of olive oil and broad bean. Brilliant. And Patrizia, so generous of spirit, gave us all a signed copy of her book, My Umbrian Kitchen. Like I said, mummy crush. Bad.
Patrizia’s cooking school reopens in 2013 and at $150 a pop is an absolute steal. I would have paid triple that for such a priceless experience.
Laney and I stayed at Alegria, just out of the town centre. It’s a brand spanking new 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom townhouse, with everything provided and the comfiest beds EVER. At night, it was ear-shatteringly quiet, almost unnervingly so. At home, we are lulled to sleep by trams in the distance and the white noise of neighbours and cars, but in Bright it is silent and dark. It took a bit of getting used to.
Kudos to Kat and Renee for taxiing us around, Caz and Craig for raising enough money to send a Sierra Leone girl to school c/- Do it in a Dress, and to the other wonderful bloggers, CC, Megan, Trevor and Pip whose company and laughter I enjoyed immensely. Biggest props go to Kim from 365 Things to do in Bright, whose passion for her town is infectious (but not in a nasty virus kind of way) and her social media savviness is remarkable – you can learn a lot from Kim.
There is much to love about Bright. It’s a long trip for one night (3.5 hours) but thoroughly worth it. Next time, I have strict instructions to bring Husband, who was dead pissed when he missed out on the leftover gnocchi and cheese sauce the girls and I ate last night.