We arrived in the evening for our 2-day cooking school in the heart of Chianti country. We were staying at the farm house with the owners of the cooking school and enjoyed a welcoming dinner that evening with them and their family.
The following morning we enjoyed a breakfast of toast with homemade fig, apricot and quince jams along with some different varieties of grapes, and other fruits also a pastry made with fresh grapes called Schiacciata con L'uva. We were then ready to begin our day of cooking! We entered the classroom kitchen and were given aprons and the recipes for the day. We started with the beans (fagioli) as they would take a while to cook. We cooked them in a way called “fiasco” which was basically a glass beaker with herbs, garlic and onion and the beaker was placed directly on the burner of the stove to cook.
We were then on to the tiramisu for dessert as that had to chill which was made with the traditional Italian lady finger cookies, espresso, sugar, mascarpone cheese and just a touch of brandy. Chicken (pollo) was up next which was prepared all Toscana which was a tomato sauce with olives….yummy! Now onto the pasta while the chicken simmers. We made a pasta called “Pici” which was round and long like spaghetti but much thicker. We kneaded, rolled, cut and then hand rolled the pic and left it to dry. Now for the pasta sauces; we made two, a fresh tomato sauce and a carbonara sauce. Now that everything was prepared it was time to eat and what a feast we had!!! We had a bit of time to relax and then we were off to tour a winery and do wine tasting of Chianti Classico. We enjoyed some beautiful vistas of the Tuscan countryside on our way to the winery. At the winery we had a private tour of the winery learning of its history and process for making their wine followed by a tasting. We made a short stop in the town of Radda on the way back to the farm to see the sunset over the Tuscan hills then continued back to the farm for dinner with the family.
The following morning we met for breakfast, which included a lovely ricotta type cake, before beginning our next day of cooking. We took a trip back into Radda in the morning to the farmers market for fresh produce that we would be using for our recipes along with a stop in the grocery market. The menu for that day consisted of turkey breast (Tacchino Farcito Alle Erbe), tagliatelle pasta with tomato sauce, spinach knudi, an artichoke side dish (Carciofi All’ Etrusca) and panna cotta for dessert. The pasta we made today was a slightly different recipe and could also be used for lasagna noodles, ravioli, and several other types of pasta. After another fun morning or cooking we all sat down to lunch to enjoy everything we had made.
We then had to bid farewell to our new Tuscan friends and travel to Montevarchi to board the train to Florence and then another overnight train for our next stop Vienna, Austria!