Wednesday 19 June 2019

Manchester's Festa Italiana 26-28 July Pasta Masterclass Taster (with Salvi's Mozzarella Bar)

Ahead of Manchester's Festa Italiana, which takes place 26th-28th July, we were all invited to a very special Family Pasta Master Class at Salvi's Mozzarella Bar in the Corn Exchange, with Carmela Serano Hayes of Carmela’s Kitchen.

Collage of pasta making photos Festa Italiana

Italian food is very much family orientated and there is a whole programme of events during Manchester's Festa Italiana especially for families with children. One of the highlights will be the FREE Kids Pasta Master Classes with Carmela, where children can learn first hand just how easy it is to make your own pasta and have a go at creating some different shapes and textures to match with different dishes and sauces.

Table of pasta making equipment. Rolling pins cutters, bowls, pasta machine

I'm a firm believer in cooking with children from a young age, so we were all excited about our Pasta Master Class. This was taking place downstairs at Salvi's, a restaurant and deli in the Manchester Corn Exchange.

Salvi's chiller full of fresh Italian food in Manchester Cannoli Meats Cheese Cream

I've never been into Salvi's before and I think my eyes nearly popped when I saw the huge range of genuine Italian foods they sell. My young boys' eyes were wide too - pizza and pasta are two favourite dishes with both of them.

Maurizio Cecco, the founder of Festa Italiana talks to everyone and Carmela, our Pastaiolo (Pasta Chef) stands beside

Downstairs into what felt like a secret, but really spacious, dining area and we were introduced to Salvi's owner, Maurizio Cecco, the founder of Festa Italiana and Carmela, our Pastaiolo (Pasta Chef).

Pasta Masterclass Dough making in a long line with Carmen Serano Hayes

I have made my own fresh pasta before, but I didn't have any clue just how easy it is to create some great shapes.  With a quick demonstration and the use of a specially patterned wooden paddle we were making our own Garganelli in no time and with very little effort.

My youngest son making Gargonelli twirly pasta and grinning

Carmela Serano Hayes (of Carmella's Kitchen) is an excellent and very well-practised teacher, who had plenty of time to chat with the children as she worked, and could assess who needed any pointers with one quick glance around the room.

My son proud with his Gargonelli Twisty pasta

In fact her methods and instruction made it so easy that we really didn't need help, we were proudly pasta-making and getting excited about what we'd be eating with it.

collage of 4 photos showing how to make striped farfalle and tube pasta

We were all proud of our pasta to take home, and that evening ate it with a tomato sauce my 10 year old made entirely by himself. Inspired, he's made 2 other dishes with only a little help since, and is eager to try ravioli....

Carmen Serano Hayes making lasagne sheets

The Festa Italiana is the UK's biggest celebration of Italian food, drink and culture and includes lots of hands-on activities, workshops, demonstrations, music and dancing, as well as an opportunity to sample and buy some amazing Italian foods.

Salvis Manchester pizza being devoured by my boys

The Kids Pasta Master Class workshop will be available free of charge regularly throughout the Festa Italiana, and is 'drop in', no booking required. A special area for children, the Bambini Garden, will be situated on site at Cathedral Gardens, with bell tents housing the different activities, including Venetian mask making, vegetable pot planting, face painting, jugglers and performers, Carmella's Pasta-Making Masterclasses and lots more.

my 2 boys with Carmen Serano Hayes Manchester Festa Italiana

Open from 11am until 11pm throughout Festa weekend 26th -28th July, the whole Festa Italiana programme is huge and entry is free. The child-friendly events are FREE, centred around the Bambini Garden and close at 6pm. Find out more on the Festa Italiana website. As this is a live event and almost anything can happen, follow them on social media for updates! 

*A special note for the maitre'd of the Corn Exchange, who honestly treated us like royalty when we asked where Salvi's Restaurant was. The bar is inside and the restaurant entrance is outside. He walked us all of the way with a lovely smile and we felt like he was delighted to be of help. I wasn't sure if I should give him a hug when I said thank you. As warm a welcome like that is priceless and set the tone for a lovely day.

Our workshop was free, and we were testing the FREE workshop which will be available to anyone during Festa Italiana weekend. We also had a gorgeous breakfast of Cannoli and coffee, plus pizza for lunch courtesy of Salvi's.

Salvis manchester cannoli on a tray for breakfast

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