Better late than never, a month by month look at 2013:
Coming off a San Francisco to Newark (3 hour layover) to Rome flight I was feeling the jet lag! But, when in Rome…you don’t sleep your time away.
To keep us awake and try to beat the exhaustion we took a stroll to
the Vatican and joined the 10am mass presided on by none other than the man himself, Pope Francis.
Then the jet lag won and a nap was demanded, but our night didn’t end there (that would be a rookie mistake!). We had an easy night with drinks in front of the Pantheon and then dinner at Parmaroma (dessert of course was gelato at Groma) before officially calling an end to our first day in Italy.
My first trip to Italy was for my 30th birthday and I have to say the country did not disappoint. We spent a great deal of time in Florence, but could easily have spent more time there if the weather had been slightly warmer (it was early March). Definitely on my repeat list! Here is a view of the Duomo from atop some hill we hiked up (sheesh, my old brain has already forgotten, anyone else know the name?)
What was your favorite part of Italy? Would you go back again?
|Still working on making that curry|
After ingredients were prepped, we headed out to the backyard, fired up our individual wooden stoves, topped them with our woks and learned to make our dishes. The food itself wasn’t terribly memorable, but the chance to see the market with a local, learn new ingredients and labor over the process has stuck with me…even after 10 years.
|Everyone at their burner|
My second cooking class was more recent and was part of a 30th birthday trip to Italy. Since my birthday is in early March, we were looking for things to do in Florence that had us indoors at least some of the time.
Of course a cooking class came up as an option and we ultimately ended up booking a class through Food and Wine Academy of Florence. The day, much like our last cooking class, started with a walk over to the market in Florence. We wandered the market, sampling olive oils, picking out fresh vegetables, and purchasing meat.
|Finding the ingredients for our meal|
After that we returned to the kitchen, donned our aprons, opened a bottle of vino and got to work. The menu included handmade pasta, meatballs, and tiramisu. Again, the kitchen gadgets I love and adore were nowhere to be found, we didn’t have a pasta maker, but instead rolled the dough out by hand, rough cutting it in to tagliatelle.
|Eggs and Flour, That’s all you need for pasta|
|Rolling the Dough|
We soaked bread for meatballs and lady fingers for tiramisu, all while asking our chef questions about where he grew up, the Italian economy, and other great restaurants we had to visit in Florence.
|Dusting the meatballs in flour|
|The finished product, so good!|
More recently we visited Guatemala and took a cooking class in Antigua. Unlike our prior two classes, we didn’t get a chance to tour the market, but we did get all you can drink beer/wine….so, there was that.
We took our class through El Frijol Feliz. The menu included Pepian, Chilaquiles, and Bunuelos. We diligently chopped, sauteed, stirred, and whipped (the refried beans in Guatamela are amazing, I could and did eat them every day!).
|Toasting the ingredients for Pepian|
|Pepian – the finished product|
Again we learned about why the dishes are made the way they are, which occasions warranted a special dish, and the general local politics/economy (what discussion in Central America would be complete without commentary on the drug cartels and their role in the area?).