After a week of Italian cooking classes and a few language classes mixed in . . . I can now announce "molto deliziosa!" after each and every bite of our creations in class. In our first class, Traditional Tuscan Cooking, we made a baked rigatoni with eggplant and zucchini, then meatballs, and as a treat, "donuts" made with potato, kind of like gnocchi but sweet and desserty! The next day we took a Regional Cuisine class and learned the art of risotto making (lots and lots of stirring!), grilled balsamic pork fillets, and baked a traditional Florentine dessert similar to a spongecake with orange zest, vanilla beans, and saffron. All very creative and flavorful.
Each time I take a step today, my sore hamstrings remind me of the AMAZING day yesterday spent biking through the hills of the Chianti region. We started the day with a tour of a Tuscan castle-turned-winery, where we took part in wine tasting and olive oil tasting - both tasted delish to me! I'm working on developing my love for red wines while in Chianti . . . I know, such hard work!
Then we rode through 13 miles of gorgeous green rolling hills, little towns with beautiful homes and neighborhood schools, and of course stopped for pasta to fuel up for the "monster hill" ahead of us. It was the perfect way to see Tuscany!
Ciao! The Italian adventure has officially begun! After a long day of travel yesterday, we finally moved into our totally authentic Italian apartamento, which has a big rustic kitchen, brick walls, (neon yellow corduroy couches, which we quickly covered with other more appealing blankets), and overlooks the Mercato Centrale - AKA the biggest and best daily farmer's market I've ever been to!
I could do a whole post just on the Mercado Centrale. So happy we are mere steps from this fresh food heaven, since we plan to go all the time to pick up fruits, breads, cheeses, veggies, meats, and pastries. This is my ideal spot for recipe inspiration! Seeing the bright and plump heirloom tomatoes made me daydream about caprese salad with fancy Italian olive oil & balsamic drizzled on top. Then I got to the homemade pastas that had just been rolled and shaped by the little pasta man into penne, bowties, and gnocchi . . . drool! We tried to blend in with the exotic, gourmet Italians, picking up their special market ingredients, but the rusty Italian and blatant American accents gave us right away . . . gotta work on that!
I'm a Southern California foodie who lives for a great meal, has a serious weakness for sweets, and loves to spread happiness by cooking for friends and family. I welcome you to WeekNight Bite - where you'll find cooking tips, tricks, and videos of healthy and delicious recipes that are quick and effortless - perfect for any night of the week!