Flour, Eggs, & Olive Oil: The Perfect Companions For A Rockin’ Saturday Night.
Some friends of ours invited us to a pasta making class at a small apothecary-style shop called The Flavor Exchange in Southern Pines, North Carolina on Saturday. Only a forty-minute drive from our house, Southern Pines is a world apart from our typical, transient military surroundings. Filled with quaint, privately owned specialty stores, farm-to-table eateries, and sprawling equestrian estates, the cute village atmosphere is always worth the drive.
Upon entering the tiny store, Justin and I realized it was the place where our fantastically delicious favorite flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottles, gifted to us by our dear friends Matt and Danielle, had been purchased.
I gazed at shelf upon shelf of rocky sea salts, flavor-infused oils, exotic spices and jars of briny olives, and I knew — this was the worst possible place for someone with an addiction like mine.
Justin clenched his wallet. (Kidding! He’s as weak as I am when it comes to flavor.)
I deeply regret that I didn’t get a decent photo of one of the shop’s owners, Donna, because she was the sweetest. And her husband played incredible, ambient guitar music while Chef Maria Di Giovanni, a woman who has lived at least three lives while most of us can’t figure out one, demonstrated the simplicity of making fresh pasta.
The following three-and-a-half hours, as evidenced by the ninety-eight fuzzy iPhone photos (twenty-six of which are submitted here for evidence), were filled with laughter, learning, and a fair amount of red, red wine.
The Flavor Exchange
115 E. New Hampshire Ave.
Southern Pines, NC 28387
Our class cost $65 per couple (That’s $32.50 each for five pasta dishes with sauces made by a personal chef and the satisfaction of learning something new), but prices may vary depending on class, chef, time of year, ingredients, etc.
- Bring your own wine or beer – The Flavor Exchange will provide corkscrews and glassware.
- Bring an apron – unless you think flour is a fashion statement!
- Bring a fun attitude, a thirst for knowledge, a willingness to get your hands a little dirty in the name of food, and of course a little spendin’ cash for your own fancy bottles of black olive oil and authentic balsamic vinegar to take home with you.
- Aside from a variety of classes, The Flavor Exchange also offers various cooking demonstrations, tastings, and pairing suggestions. Call for details!
- They didn’t pay me or offer any freebies for any of this. I just really like them.
Becca and I found a place out here that has various flavored balsamic vinegar, and olive oil choices. Sampled a few and just about died. Eventually I’ll be going back to get a cinnamon pear balsamic…which will then have to followed up with the purchase of a Belgian waffle maker to make the waffles to put the vinegar on.
If we don’t delve into making our own pasta before, perhaps when/if Becca and I get a chance to come out for a visit all of us could venture out to The Flavor Exchange…?
We would LOVE to! It was so much fun, we’d totally do it again. And the waffle maker sounds awesome, but in the meantime try it on some vanilla sorbet – you’ll be shocked at how good it is!
Omg could Rick and I have used that class! We (mostly Rick) make our own pasta. We have the press with the ravioli attachment and do our best by following recipes. Most of our efforts have been favorable. Delicious pasta! Yesterday’s ravioli, not so much. Well, delicious, but most of the fillings ended up outside the pasta! It was our second try and we did better the first time. We’re learning as we go. But it would definitely be helpful to have an expert show us the proper technique. Maybe I can arrange a trip with Erin sometime in the future. It would be worth it! We had friends turn us on to infused olive oils and vinegars in Cleveland. We reorder all the time and always stop in when we’re visiting. So I know just how great an experience that must have been!!
I’m so impressed that you mostly make your own pasta! I’ll probably try again, now that I know how to do it, but as much as I want to stick to “real” food, I doubt it will be our fallback just because I’m still mostly lazy. But it WAS really tasty, so who knows? I suppose I’d have to buy a rolling pin, though. ;) Ravioli sounds awesome! I think they might be thinking about offering a ravioli class… Let me know if you guys come to town – I haven’t seen Erin in a year!! :)
That would be SO MUCH FUN!! Its much too far away for me, but I will be checking around MY neighborhood to see if I can find something like it – you never know what hidden gems are just outside your door until you look!! Also – you photo bombed yourself 6 by my count – love your red iphone!! :D
It was WAY fun! Definitely check and see – I never even knew that place was hidden there, and I’ve been to Southern Pines a million times. Haha, the only way I can ever manage to actually get in any photos is if I photo bomb myself. ;)
Wow what an awesome night one of my relatives actually took a similar class when they were on vacation in italy.
Wow, a pasta class in Italy? Now THAT’S cool!!
How fun! I would love to do that. Every dish looks just beautiful.
They tasted pretty lovely, too. :)
Very special olive oil and balsamic place in Portland you should check out called Benessere. Seriously.
I got a pasta maker a few years ago at Christmas. Still haven’t got around to using it, but this is inspiring me.
You know, I actually found I was faster at hand-rolling and cutting the pasta than the people using the machines. Sure, they weren’t perfect, but it was a lot less frustrating. :) Hope things are going well in Savannah!
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