Friday, May 7, 2010

Formaggio anyone?

Although I have previously written about Italian food, once more the subject has arisen! I AM SURROUNDED BY THE MOST DELICIOUS FOOD EVER!! The past three days have been filled will food, food, cheese, and more FOOD! Obviously I am in heaven because I feel thateating has always been one of my greatest strengths. So Tuesday I had the amazing opportunity to eat dinner with the Torre Contrada. This is a really big deal! (I am going to do a separate post about the contrade of Siena so everyone will understand how important they are to the Sienese). Our whole group was starving and so we were ready this time- I was like “Bring on the food!” Our primo piatto was pasta, secondo piatto turkey, and for desert- Crostata! Wow it was all delicious!! Then Wednesday I had my first cooking class here at Dante Alighieri.

This was our menu...

Insalata caterina (salad)

Ravioli di ricotta e spinaci al pomodoro (spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli with tomato sauce which we hand made!)

Spezzatino toscano (veal with sauce) and Vedure alla griglia (grilled vegetables)

Panna cotta con frutti di bosco (cooked cream with berries)

And guess what? I learned how to make it all! My specialties were the pana cotta (I shall definitely make this when I get home because it i

s delicious) and I was quite good at helping put the dough through the pasta press- after a few slow attempts, our group became very efficient (Debs, you would be proud!). Yes, we hand made the ravioli- bellissima! After all our hard work we sat down and ate our 3 courses and dessert- bliss!

Yesterday, we once more had a food adventure! (I am sort of starting to feel like Julie from “Julie and Julia” since I’m blogging so much about food!) Our group got the chance to go to Gino Cucino’s cheese and salami shop. Gino is the “re del pecorino” (the king of pecorino cheese). The shop smell so good! We learned all about parmesan cheese and pecorino, Salami, and Balsamic vinegar. Here are some cheesey facts for you (pun intended!)

- When they make the cheese they store it for years at a time! We saw some cheese from 2004. At different ages the cheese has a different taste. The older the cheese, the stronger the taste and the harder the texture. The younger cheese is softer and has a lighter taster. (to my untrained taste buds, this is the one I liked).

- Although it may look like it is wax that covers the big cheese wheel, it’s not; It’s all cheese!! They use a little hammer to hit the cheese- based on the sound they know how hard or soft the cheese is.

- Gino also had a 30 year old balsamic vinegar- the older it gets the sweeter the taste, almost to the point of tasting like molasses or syrup. But if you want to buy vinegar that old be prepared to spend a pretty penny on it- a tiny bottle costs 30 euros!

We had such a fun time tasting the different cheeses at different ages and also the meat! It was so good- I sort of felt like I was in the movie Ratatouille (even though that is France J).

Tonight- Guess what we are doing? COOKING MORE FOOD!!! I can’t even wait!! I shall tell you how it goes later!

Ciao for now!



  1. those courses look like heaven...and so professional...and to think... we were pleased with your speghetti but you cannot get away with that anymore. and wow... you're eyes are open!!!!! ish. I can't believe how perfect this is. Bellissima!!

  2. Freak out Kats, that food all looks so so so so yummy. I'm stoked to taste the berries and cream ("berries and cream..i'm a little lad who likes berries and cream")