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An Experiential Foodie Class Is Just the Ticket for Your Next Atlanta Trip

January 23, 2020

Learn how to make perfect Neapolitan pizza, meatballs, cocktails or even feta cheese at these Atlanta spots where you can perfect a cooking skill or just grab a bite to eat.

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Photo: Andrew Thomas

Neapolitan Pizza Perfection

Chef and owner Luca Varuni of Atlanta's Varuni Napoli Pizza really cares about ingredients — authentic, imported San Marzano tomatoes, heritage Italian olive oil, specially imported Mozzarella di Bufala — and he sources them in shipping containers that ferry a taste of Italy right to Atlanta's door. But if you want to go really deep and find out just what goes into perfect Italian pizza, you'll want to take a hand's-on class at the restaurant. I can attest to upping my own personal pan game with a class that taught the basics of oven temperature, dough handling and, of course, the necessity of authentic, time-tested ingredients. I don't have Chef Luca's gorgeous blue-tiled pizza ovens or his years of experience, but his class did give me the skills to turn mediocre homemade pizza into a mid-week meal to get excited about. Chef Luca’s brother and lead pizzaioulo, Benedetto Varuni, leads classes at Varuni Napoli's Morningside-Lenox Park location (they also have a restaurant at the lively Krog Street Market food hall) every Wednesday and Thursday from 3-4 p.m. and on Saturday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Chef Benedetto shares the secrets and art of authentic Neapolitan pizza making with groups of six. Call 404-709-2690 to reserve a spot.

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Photo: Visit Sandy Springs

CalyRoad Creamery

Atlanta is a food-centric town and a number of shops have sprung up to satisfy curious foodies looking for the best selection and for ideas, whether at the bespoke liquor store Holeman and Finch Bottle Shop or hand-crafted, small batch chocolate destination Xocolatl. The Sandy Springs shop CalyRoad Creamery is a micro-creamery specializing in artisan cheese founded by two sisters. The dairy-centric sisters not only make cheese, they also offer an array of locally and regionally produced goods in their cozy Atlanta shop that will inspired you to fill your suitcase with Southern goodies. Fellow cheese nuts can learn how to make a variety of cheeses at classes — which include a wine and cheese tasting — held on the third Saturday of every month at CalyRoad. Better still, you get to take home the cheese you make.

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Photo: Il Giallo

Il Giallo Osteria & Bar

This beloved Atlanta Italian spot in the Sandy Springs neighborhood is a local favorite for personality plus chef Jamie Adams (he overcame quadruple bypass surgery! His pasta is delicious!). Chef Jamie of Il Gallio is something of a cult hero and so is his pasta-making class where fans get up close and personal with this personable foodie celeb. The class is held the first Saturday of every month and fills up quickly. One participant has even attended every class since they began in 2016. A fun weekend activity for foodie types, the class gives you some insider-y tips on pasta-making from a pro (get there early before the sublime biscotti runs out) but also offers the mind candy delights of watching Jamie feed dough endlessly into a pasta-maker. Can you say "hypnotic"? Part banter-centric cooking show, part class, Jamie and crew end with a feast where you can get to know your classmates even better, featuring the restaurant's incredible pastas — good enough to have been spotlighted on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

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Photo: Jonathan Wade

East Pole Coffee Company

Want to perfect a better cuppa? It all starts with knowing what you like and don't like in coffee and the essential features that make up a great cup. Hit up Atlanta's East Pole Coffee Company's weekly drop-in cupping classes held every Saturday at the coffee spot to enhance your java knowledge. The classes are free and there are new themes and coffees to taste each week but the essence of the classes is learning about the quality, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, balance and sweetness of various coffees by sampling a variety of brews. It's like wine tasting, but you can still drive home afterwards!

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