Speak and cook Italian! 

Speak and Cook Italian

International House Bristol is proud to present the first Italian cookery workshop in Bristol run entirely in Italian.

International House Bristol and Al Bacio restaurant are putting their skills together in order to offer this exceptional workshop bound to be of interest to anyone learning Italian or with a love of Italian cuisine!

What better way to improve your linguistic skills than by extending your gastronomic repertoire? Suitable for adults of all ages, the course is designed to maximise exposure to the language in a relaxed social setting with the added bonus that you create a delicious meal to be enjoyed by all involved.

The Theoretical Component

The aim of the course is to improve your Italian while learning how to cook Italian dishes, emphasising speaking and listening skills, and to enable participants to acquire the necessary vocabulary to complete the cooking task under the instruction and guidance of Al Bacio’s expert, native-speaker Chef, Stefano Galbiati. Participants will be supported by their very enthusiastic Italian teacher, Simona Marante, who will be on hand to deal with all linguistic queries.  The session will be conducted entirely in Italian, thereby maximising the benefits to participants. Not only do you get to listen and respond to native Italians, you also get to eat the result of your efforts!

The Practical Component

The objective is to be able to produce the following; Orecchiette e Cavatelli al Pesto, Gnocchi alla Sorrentina con Pomodoro fresco, Mozzarella e Basilico, and a traditional Italian desert, Tiramisù. Participants will watch and listen to Stefano as he demonstrates his skills thereby learning how to produce these beautiful Italian dishes. Learning a language through doing a task is a well-recognised method and adds an element of fun and excitement. In addition to preparing and eating the meal, participants will be introduced to a number of Italian wines allowing them to choose the best one to accompany their mini-masterpiece.

Workshop n.1 

Recipe for a 2 course meal of 2 different pasta dishes and a delicious Italian desert:

Main dishes: 

  • Orecchiette e Cavatelli al Pesto
  • Gnocchi alla Sorrentina con Pomodoro fresco, Mozzarella e Basilico


  • Tiramisù 

In this workshop, you will learn the origin of fresh pasta and how to make it. Pasta has an old pedigree, going back hundreds – if not thousands – of years. Unravelling the long and often complex history of this dish, you will have a look at its origins and some of the myths surrounding it.

You will learn to make the sauces to go with it and why each pasta shape has its own different sauce.

Date: 29th March 2016
Times: The workshop runs for 3 hours from 6.30-9.30pm and is open to all students of Italian.
Location: Al Bacio restaurant, 95 Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1LW, Bristol.
Maximum number of participants per workshop: 12.
Cost per person: £30 for a 2 course meal including drinks (a glass of Italian wine (or two!) that matches the food prepared on the evening) and all the teaching involved!

For bookings: Register your interest by filling the enrolment form at http://www.ihbristol.com/languages/italian1 or call us on 0117 9067660 to book your space by 24th March.

International House Bristol contact person: 
Yaelle Hartley (Foreign Languages Coordinator)
Tel: 0117 9067660  Email: yaelle@ihbristol.com

Working hours:
Mon-Tue: 9-12.45pm,  Thur: 9-2.15pm, Fri: 11-3.45pm

Celebrate Valentine’s Day Italian Style

Known as La Festa Degli Innamorati, Valentine’s Day in Italy is a true celebration between loved ones and sweethearts, and when it comes to romance, Italians don’t do anything by halves. With its romantic towns and backdrops for unforgettable cinematic love scenes, exquisite art and food, Italy can really put on a spectacular show for your special occasion. At Al Bacio, we want to make this 14th February one to remember. After all, if there’s a reason to celebrate, we want to share it with you.

For those of you who look forward to getting dressed up and going out for the most romantic meal of the year, look no further than Al Bacio where you won’t be disappointed. Welcomed with a delicious red fruits cocktail to set the romantic mood, you’ll have your choice from many aphrodisiac foods including smoked salmon stuffed with crab meat, prawns, and chives tartare, fresh lobster, risotto with champagne and smoked Scamorza cheese, and succulent steak. Finished off with a special mandarin and almond meringue gratin for dessert, or perhaps something a little more chocolatey, you’re sure to give your loved one a spectacular Italian treat.

But as every year rolls around, you can wind up doing the same old thing for every Valentine’s Day. So this year, why not show your loved one just how much you care by doing something a little different? If you’ve booked a jam packed day with little room for a three course meal, come on by our restaurant early for a quieter, romantic setting where you can enjoy a delectable Italian dish before heading off to your surprise for the evening. Or perhaps after that late theatre show you’ve planned, swing by Al Bacio for a delicious dessert and glass of wine. And to make your day even more special, if you book a table from 5.00pm to 5.30pm and 10.00pm to 10.30pm we will treat you with a free bottle of wine.

So, this Valentine’s Day, do something that your loved one will remember in the years to come, and experience authentic Italian food with a celebratory glass of wine at Al Bacio. We want to help you make memories!

Experience Sunday lunch Italian style

To Italians, food is everything. And on Sunday in particular, food is the centrepiece of the day. As the week slows down, friends and families gather together for a leisurely Sunday lunch to enjoy delicious food and great company, much like how we at Al Bacio like to dine. We pride ourselves on creating that extraordinary moment with authentic Italian food and a welcoming atmosphere where you can celebrate life’s best moments.

Such a huge cultural tradition in Italy deserves recognition. Sunday lunch, or as Italians call it pranzo della domenica, is a chance to gather all relatives together under one roof and reflect on the week together around a great feast. It’s common to arrive for lunch at 12.30, allowing the meal to last for two to three hours, or even more. So, if you are planning on visiting a restaurant in Italy around Sunday lunch, reserve ahead of time and prepare for your afternoon to be swallowed up by a true Italian treat. However, on Sunday, the majority of Italians will escape the city and scatter to their mother’s or grandmother’s house, leaving piazzas, bars, and church doors closed for the day.

The first course will be antipasti, often comprising of bruschetta, cheeses and salami, and sometimes seafood. At Al Bacio, delight your taste buds with our very own Italian antipasto with salami, parma ham & Italian cheese served with mixed vegetables in wine vinegar. Pasta is a common theme served for the second course, so come and enjoy our fresh homemade pasta with bacon, egg yolk, asparagus, parmesan cheese & truffle (carbonara tartufata). And for the third, at home you may be served chicken, rabbit or duck, whereas at a restaurant, you’ll be served a selection of roasted meats. Vegetables or salad is usually served as the next course. Finally, after everyone’s devoured seconds, there will be dole (dessert) and coffee to finish.

This may sound a lot like the Christmas dinner you prepare once every year, but for Italians, this is a weekly event. To kick back this Sunday, join us at Al Bacio for an exquisite Italian experience of Sunday lunch.

A slice of Italian pizza history

If Italian cuisine is known for one such thing, it’s pizza or pasta. And until you’ve really tried the genuine article, the pizza most people know is far from what Italy intended it to be. At Al Bacio, you can taste the true delicacy of Italy’s most famous dish with our authentic Italian ingredients and dedicated team, all of whom hail from Italian shores.

It all started in the heat of the Mediterranean, where pizza was simply flatbread used as an edible plate when eating dishes, such as stews or broths. Very much like what focaccia is to us today. By the Middle Ages, olive oil and herbs were added, not to mention the very favourite topping, mozzarella cheese. At Al Bacio, we pride ourselves on sourcing the very best ingredients and top our classic Italian pizzas with fior de latte mozzarella and buffalo mozzarella.

It wasn’t until the peasants of Naples around the 18th and early 19th century began to introduce tomatoes to this dish that things really started to kick off. It took some time for the local aristocracy to deign to eat peasant food, but once the taste of ripe tomatoes combined with melted mozzarella and fresh basil entered their world, it was never the same again. The street of Naples was littered with the most delicious dish Italy had ever tasted, and everyone wanted a slice of the action. With the rising popularity, pizza was sold from shops instead of only street vendors, and many more toppings were introduced. According to pizzaprinces.com, the first true pizzeria, the Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, in Naples was established in 1830, and is still equipping Italy with divine masterpieces.

The Margherita Pizza, inspired by Queen Margherita, was to signify the Italian flag, using the red of the tomato, the white of the mozzarella, and green basil. Over the years, various regions have tweaked their pizzas. Bologna added meat, and the Neapolitan Pizza introduced garlic and Neapolitan cheeses.

So, come and join us at Al Bacio and rip into the hot, rustic crust, and experience the tantalisingly rich flavours as they dance on your taste buds. Book a table now and grab your slice!

Warm your cockles with Italian winter dishes

This winter, amidst the blustery weather and hot flasks gripped by frosty hands, keep warm with delicious Italian steaming soups and homey stuffed pasta and risotto. At Al Bacio, we have it all, from exquisite homemade soup with crunchy Italian bread to comforting roast lamb cutlets with onions and tasty tarragon sauce.

As daylight runs out and darkness settles in earlier and earlier, a toasty, bright home is desperately sought after. And nothing beats a home filled with the comforting aromas of good Italian home cooking made with fresh ingredients. Try the classic Italian favourite, tomato and basil soup to warm you throughout. This is quick and simple, but perfect for those days you arrive home from work, shattered and cold to the bone. To add flavour, serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. For something a little meatier, be inspired by our warm winter recipe of succulent chicken breast with Italian sausage, peppers, tomato sauce, and fresh basil.

Getting your five a day has never been more important than in the chilly months, so pack them in with a cosy dish that will keep you both warm and healthy. A creamy spinach risotto will strengthen your immune system and allow you to indulge in a delicious and wholesome meal to beat those winter sniffles, or for a truly home-inspired meal, enjoy chicken with lemon and thyme, and add some hearty mash on the side.

Filling up at winter is a must, so treat yourself to an irresistible Italian dessert to bookend your perfect winter meal properly. Enjoy our divine torta di cioccolato (chocolate cake), a slice of creamy cheesecake, or dunk biscotti into your steaming cup of coffee.

Celebrate this beautiful season with us at Al Bacio. It may be cold, but we have just the thing to warm your cockles. So, come and visit us today and find out how the Italians keep warm in the bitter months.


Fight the winter blues with feel good food

When the dark, cold nights draw in and the rain and hail drown you before you manage to get to your front door, there’s only one thing to keep the blues at bay – comfort food. And not just any comfort food, but mouth watering dishes from the tastiest culture around. Brave the bitter winds and join us at Al Bacio so we can get to work in providing you with the most authentic Italian dish to boost any mood.

We’re not just talking about warming foods here, we’re talking about guilty pleasures that in any other season may not be as acceptable concerning the ever-tiresome diet. But in these cold months, it’s only right to let loose a little and enjoy some of Italy’s most luscious dishes. If healthy warming food is your first choice of comfort food, then get your frosty hands on a bowl of thick bread soup from Tuscany, pasta e fagiolo (pasta and beans) from the city of Rome, or polenta or tortellini in brodo hailing from the north. Sit down and relax in our restaurant with a steaming bowl of homemade soup with rustic bread or tagliatelle ragù (pasta ribbons with beef and tomato ragù).

However, if you are into something a little more adventurous, our creamy, salty spaghetti carbonara may be more up your street, fixed with our intensely rich torta di cioccolato or our sweet, cream-filled profiteroles topped with chocolate sauce. Indulge in our marinated baby peppers stuffed with crumbly feta cheese, our hearty homemade lasagna, with a vegetarian option, or a classic sirloin steak served with king prawns, garlic & sweet spicy tomato sauce. And why not send your mood soaring with a slab of our rich, smooth cheesecake?

This winter, wrap up warm and enjoy what Italian cuisine has to offer. We have it all from hot thick soups to creamy pasta baked dishes to meaty, cheesy pizzas. So, feed your body well this winter and come and join us at Al Bacio.

Kick off your new years resolutions with Italy

Making New Year’s resolutions is a common tradition, and except for the one where we all promise to purchase a gym membership to trim off the Christmas weight, one of the most common resolutions we make is to learn about a new culture. So this New Years, why not dip your toe into the beautiful waters of Italy?

Learning a new language is often the first thing people think of when wishing to discover a different culture. Italy is adorned with great beauty and rich history, and learning to speak the romantic language will give you an even tastier flavour of the culture. This language is particularly beneficial if you’re involved in occupations, such as fashion, the culinary arts, and interior design, not to mention many more.

The best way to really soak up a new language is by visiting the country itself and spending time with people who speak it as their first language. So why not add to your New Year’s resolution list ‘Visit Italy’? You’ll have the experience of a lifetime and you’ll be able to tick off two goals at the same time. Italy is a stunning country to feast your eyes upon, and will stir all five of your senses up a treat. We have it all – the luscious landscapes, artistic treasures, rich history and exquisite food.

And if you visit Italy, you’ll have to add another resolution to your list. Make it your aim to discover the beauty of Italian cuisine. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed. And although this one may override your original ‘lose weight’ resolution, this one is so much more worth it. Although pizza and pasta may first come to mind, introducing your taste buds to our delectable food doesn’t rule out your healthy eating resolution. If you don’t happen to visit Italy this year, you can still tick this one off by joining us in our restaurant and tucking into a delicious rocket salad with cured beef or a classic risotto with tiger prawns, saffron and pistachios.

Come and celebrate the New Year with us at Al Bacio and make your New Year’s resolutions ones to look forward to.

Explore Italian cuisine across all regions

Pizza and pasta are commonly known as the genuine Italian food experience. As true as that is in one region, in many others, this isn’t the case. Each Italian region has its own unique flavour, and with its own history, every individual region has left a different mark on Italian cooking.

The one great thing about Italy is its regional diversity. There’s a story behind every single dish, each one born from roots in the past and traditions of that specific region.

In the north, Italians heavily rely on butter (or lard), rice, corn, and cheeses for cream sauces. Of course there is diversity within the northern regions, but for most parts, northern Italian cuisine is fairly similar. From the region of Piemonte, you’ll find the fonduta, a delicious melted cheese dip consisting of milk, eggs, and white truffles (tartufi bianchi). Lombardia is well known for its rice dishes, such as Risotto alla Milanese. If you’re a fan of pesto sauce, Liguria is where you want to dine. Famous for their basil pesto sauce, this region is an exception in the north with their reliance on olive oil. The northern regions also tend to include rabbit, quail, or grouse in their main dishes, and more on the coast, shellfish and seafood.

On the flip side, southern regions can’t get enough of olive oil and rich and spicy tomato sauces. Campania is where the modern pizza began, and where you’ll find a mouth watering dish of spaghetti topped with their famous tomato sauce, pommarola. And if you didn’t know, this is the spot where the famous cheese, Mozzarella di Bufala, comes from, as well as ricotta and mascarpone. Sicily is known for its fruits, and Sardinia makes great bread, sausages, and spicy fish soups.

If you want a bite of authenticity, don’t go straight for the usual spaghetti and meatballs, but try something a little different and see what every region has to offer. Book a table at Al Bacio today and see where your taste buds take you.