The Language of Food

Now in its fifth year, the Language of Food is an immersive five-day food-writing workshop. Building on the cornerstones of the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, the course integrates hands-on cooking lessons and “arm-to-table” ingredient sourcing—from fruit-picking in the orchards to tours at the local cheesemaker and family winery—alongside writing lessons that explore all aspects of food-writing whilst always drawing on the visceral and edible surroundings. If you are writing about cherries, for example, you may pull a fistful from a tree, watch the jam-making in the courtyard, and page-through the extensive culinary library in the house. An essay about pizza will have a new dimension once you’ve shaped your own dough in the local hilltop pizzeria, Charlie Brown’s.


The workshop is not a retreat where writers work in solitude, but a nourishing community for people of all backgrounds and at all stages of writing life—from absolute beginners to professionals—to come together and develop their confidence and skills in writing about food. Set texts will range from staples of the genre such as Jane Grigson’s Good Things, Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking and The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink, to excerpts from contemporary writers such as Helen Rosner and Michelle Wildgen. Daily writing prompts will encourage low-stakes experimentation and spontaneous writing, and you will leave the course with the seeds and foundations to pursue future projects. Former students have continued to develop their work in varied ways, from organizing their family recipe collection, starting blogs, publishing freelance articles and essays, and developing book proposals that have led to published books.


The table is the heart of our workshop. Over our five breakfasts, lunches and lengthy dinners, we have talked and then written about kitchen stoves, the pursuit of the perfect oyster, a child’s view of whipped cream and Nelson Mandela, air-conditioning and tofu in Tokyo, the feminine nature of an apricot, and mulberries and Lady Macbeth. At the cooking school, late May will bring the first almonds, a steady stream of artichokes, fava beans and lentils, the sweetest flower-dotted pasture for ricotta, and the first of the summer’s fruit. Join us at this most beautiful time of the year.

Rachel Roddy was born in Southampton 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, Eater, National Geographic and has an award winning weekly column in The Guardian called Notes from an Italian kitchen. She lives in Rome with her Sicilian partner and son.


Single Room: €2,850

Double Room: €5,150

Costs include accommodation at Case Vecchie or one of the nearby cottages, and indicated lessons, meals, wine and excursions.

Example Program:


Monday, May 20th – Welcome

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

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

8:00 pm: Welcome dinner at Case Vecchie


Tuesday, May 21st – 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, May 22nd – 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 in the kitchen followed by dinner


Thursday, May 23rd – 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: Departure for pizza workshop


Friday, May 24th – 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, May 25th

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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