Grazia Solazzi, of the website and cooking app, ‘Cook with Grazia’ will be joining us all the way from Lerici, Italy on Tuesday, February 2nd to demonstrate how to make tiramisu! Just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Tiramisu is probably the most famous Italian dessert, perfect for your Valentine dinner. This dish is super easy to make and only takes 20 minutes from start to finish. Tiramisu is really pretty recent compared to other traditional Italian dishes, it was likely born in the Sixties in a restaurant in Treviso, near Venice. The name literally means, 'pick me up' and is related to an Italian popular tradition of feeding children and sick people a batter of raw egg yolks and sugar to make them stronger (a sort of rustic, country tonic).
The batter was sometimes mixed with coffee, another energizer. There are so many bad recipes for the Tiramisu, and so many variations, ranging from interesting to downright odd. Looking for the real stuff? Here it is: intense, luscious, and very decadent without being heavy.
Grazia Solazzi has always loved food. She has studied it, written about it, cooked it for family and friends, and savored and delighted in it. As a child, her favorite toy was “il dolce forno,” a bright red plastic device heated by an ordinary light bulb. With it, she baked her first cake, a birthday present for her father. It was an 8-inch-round pastry, made from scratch and topped with Nutella and banana.
Her dad praised her for the messy cake, even though she could tell he wasn’t too keen on actually eating it. Her entire family shares the same high level of culinary standards. In fact, her dad was an excellent cook himself —he had learned from his mother, a classic southern Italian home cook. As she exhorted everyone to eat her huge Sunday lunches, she was already asking people what they wanted for supper. While her guests were sleeping off lunch, she would already be back in the kitchen, creating something new.
Grazia grew up in Northern Italy, Asola, a small town in Lombardy in the province of Mantua, but her grandmother was from the southern Italian town of Bari, in Apulia, and she taught her many traditional recipes. Thanks to her grandmother, Grazia acquired a taste for the strong flavors of the south, and her grandmother’s enthusiasm in the kitchen inspires her everyday. She could transform simple ingredients—even leftovers—into delicacies. She cooked with what she had on hand, most of which came from the backyard garden and hen house. She was Grazia’s introduction to local, sustainable ingredients!
Grazia’s mother also cooks like a pro, especially when it comes to northern meat recipes and filled pastas, from tortellini to ravioli to agnoli. She comes from a northern Italian family of farmers and winemakers, and she knows how to choose—and grow—the best ingredients. As a hobby, she learned organic and biodynamic techniques, and she gave Grazia the freedom from a young age to get her hands dirty in the kitchen, to try new things, make mistakes, and even use knives.
Grazia’s career has focused on food. She started writing articles for the Italian magazine ‘Food’ while studying business and economics at the University of Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region. This area is a culinary heaven, named ‘The Food Valley’ because it’s home to delicacies such as Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. She stayed for 10 wonderful years. Later, she lived in Amsterdam and Milano, where she earned a master’s degree in journalism. Grazia has also worked for websites and has freelanced for food and travel publications, such as, ‘Slow Food.’
Grazia moved to Oregon in 2001 and spent the better part of 17 years in Portland. In Portland, she was busy raising three kids, juggling family, work —and getting dinner on the table quickly. Grazia was the founder of, Scuola Italiana di Portland, where she served on the board of directors as president for 11 years.
Grazia feels blessed to have lived in Portland, a city enthusiastic about food. She now lives in Lerici, Italy, a coastal village close to the Cinque Terre. It’s a one-hour drive from Parma and Florence, where she is able to enjoy the authentic Italian flavors that she hopes to share through her app and food blog, ‘Cook with Grazia!’ She looks forward to cooking with you!
Please click here to register. A link will be sent the day before the event. REGISTRATION.