The Language of Food

The Language of Food

15 June 2020 – 20 June 2020 all-day

Visit the inspiring beauty of the Sicilian countryside in the summer to hone your skills as a food-writer on this creative workshop led by Guardian food writer and cookbook author Rachel Roddy alongside creative writer and New York Times contributor Erica Berry. During the workshop, readings and craft talks will be followed by group discussions, writing exercises and space in which to execute them.

We aim to provide an atmosphere of both relaxed creativity and thought-provoking experimentation, and there will be plenty of time for both solitary writing and communal sharing. On the final day, each participant will have time to meet with Erica and Rachel to discuss personal writing projects and goals more specifically. The schedule below is flexible according to the group’s’ needs and the way the week evolves.

Rachel Roddy was born in Southhampton in 1972 but grew up in London. Trained as an actress she moved to Rome in 2005 where she began writing, mostly about food, on her blog Racheleats. Her first book, Five Quarters was published in 2015 and won both the André Simon Food Book Award and The Guild of Foodwriters First Book Award. Her second book Two Kitchens was published in 2017. She has written for The Financial Times, The Telegraph, Conde Nast Travel, Delicious Magazine and has an award winning weekly column in The Guardian called A Kitchen in Rome. She lives in Rome with her Sicilian partner and son.

Erica Berry feels lucky to have called Case Vecchie home between 2014 and 2015, where she helped to produce Fabrizia’s documentary, Amuri: Sacred Flavors of Sicily. Born in Portland, Oregon, she now lives in Minneapolis, where she is a freelance writer and creative writing instructor at the University of Minnesota, where she is finishing her MFA thesis. Her essays and journalism can be found with publications such as Eating Well, NPR Food, Creative Nonfiction’s “True Story” magazine, The Atlantic, and Pacific Standard magazine, and her Guernica essay on Instagrammed food made Eater’s 21 Best Longform Food Stories of 2015 list. She recently won The Southeast Review’s 2017 Award in Narrative Nonfiction and the 2017 Kurt Brown Prize for Creative Nonfiction. See more of her work here.

June 15 – 20, 2020


Single Room: €2,850

Double Room: €5,150

**From now until January 30, 2020 we’re offering a “buy one, get one half off promotion.” Book with a friend (share a room or get two single rooms) and you’ll have a 50% discount on the second person.**

This year we are delighted to be offering a full scholarship for the Language of Food. Those wishing to apply should send a 250 word letter outlining their reasons for wanting to do the course. Also an example of their food writing. This can be an essay, review, section of a blog post of roughly 800 words. Please remember that we are not looking for overly polished or clever work, that perfect editing, spelling or grammar is much much less important than originality and a spirit of adventure. Please contact Rachel directly for more information. Scholarship post is contingent on the sign up of 10 people and applicants will know of their position by March 1, 2020. You must be willing to keep your schedule open for the program dates. 

Costs include accommodation at Case Vecchie or one of the nearby cottages and indicated lessons, meals, wine, and excursions. Workshops mix together the best of many worlds. You will have access to special guests and activities that are outside of the typical Case Vecchie schedule. However, you can always plan on delicious meals with seasonal ingredients. Lunch and dinner are served with wines from the Tasca d’Almerita estate, and breakfast is a bounty of homemade cakes, jams and coffee, and tea. Typical meals and cooking lessons include three or four courses. 

Example Program:

Monday, June 15th – Welcome 

3:00 to 5:00 pm: Arrival and settle into the accommodations

6:30 pm: Meet at Case Vecchie for introductions and aperitivo in the courtyard

8:00 pm: Welcome dinner at Case Vecchie

Tuesday, June 16th – Looking to Sicily

8:30 am: Breakfast

9:00 to 10:00 am: Session 1 – Instruction to Food Writing

10:30 to 1:00 pm: Classic Sicilian cooking lesson leading into lunch

4:00 to 6:00 pm: Session 2 – Arrival 

6:00 pm: Garden walk

7:30 pm: Aperitivo and dinner 

Wednesday, June 17th – Memory

7:45 am: Pick up from Case Vecchie for cheese making, breakfast and writing session at Fillippo the shepherds with picnic breakfast.

11:30 am: Return to school for garden tour, cheese tasting and light lunch

4:00 to 6:00 pm: Session 3 – Objects and Memory

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Aperitivo and Flavor Thesaurus workshop in the kitchen followed by dinner 

Thursday, June 18th – Finding the Words and the Way

8:30 to 9:30 am: Breakfast

9:30 to 11:30 am: Session 4 – The Lyrical Essay 

11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Free writing time

12:30 am: Aperitivo and Lunch 

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Wine Tasting

5:45 pm: Pizza workshop 

Friday, June 19th – Putting Pieces Together

8:00 am: Vineyard walk 

9:00 am: Breakfast

10:00 – 11:30 am: Session 5 – Perspective and Vision

12:30 – 2:30 pm: Light Lunch 

3:30 – 5:30 pm: Session 6 – Final session 

5:30 pm: Cooking cous cous in the kitchen into dinner

Saturday, June 20th 

8:30 to 9:30 am: Breakfast and goodbyes.

*Airfare and transportation to and from Case Vecchie are not included in the price. Please request transportation arrangements at the time of booking if you would like us to book a car to and from the estate.

**Please note, due to the seasonal rhythm of life and agriculture in Sicily, planned activities and schedules may change at short notice. If this is the case, an equally engaging activity will be arranged.

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