The Scene: Home-cooked meals in Italy are a holy grail for any food-obsessed traveler, and thanks to Egeria Di Nallo, a sociology professor from Bologna, that elusive culinary quest is within reach. Since 2004, she’s anointed and galvanized an army of 100-plus cesarine, or “empresses of the kitchen,” to educate and cook for strangers in their homes—as well as at museums, castles, and delightfully decrepit farms—from Veneto to Sicily. The hands-on cultural organization prides itself on preserving traditions, so it’s not unusual for guests in, say, Piedmont to get a history lesson about the region’s white truffles, while their hostess perfumes the air with gossamer shavings.
Hot Plates: Nettle tagliatelle with ragu; roasted veal; flanlike “latte imperiale.”
The Lowdown: $60 average, $5 membership fee; frequency varies depending on the cesarine; 6–8 guests.