Published: September 27th 2011September 28th 2011
Massive spanish onions
these red onions were about 15 cm in diameter, and from the butchers own garden along with garlic and other produce. He showed me photos of his current pumpkin crop with a 100kg pumpkin
Cooking class with Divina Cucina
Today I enjoyed my true Tuscan experience of a cooking class with Judy Witts from Divina Cucina. Lucky me, I was the only one in the class today, so I got to pick what we would cook.
We started with a coffee and cake of course at the patisserie, because that is how a true Italian starts their day! Not being a coffee drinker I asked for hot cioccolata . I should have learnt after 3 weeks to ask for cioccolata calda con latte (hot chocolate with milk) and even though they look at you very strangely for wanting milk with your hot chocolate, without milk, you get hot pure melted chocolate in a cup! Quite rich and thick for my tastes!
We then ventured to the local butcher, whose family has had the butcher’s shop for 500 years. Every thing is fresh and the locals will come every day for their meat as there is very little in the way of preservatives, or hormones etc in the meat. He has no prepared mince, and grinds it when you ask for it, as they believe it starts to oxidize (or something (?) when
you mince it). Those who know me well, know I don’t cope well with the butcher bagging the meat, taking my money and/or card with his 'meaty’ paws then passing me my credit card with a chunk of mince on the corner! And meat residue on the outside of the shopping bag drives me nuts! I like it all nice and packaged up.
This butcher was an experience, the chickens still had their heads and all, and they had many gorgeous looking prosciutto's that they cure themselves. They also had their home grown onions, pumpkins, garlic etc.
From there we visited the bread maker and grocer for the last vital ingredients and decision making about our cooking adventure.
I think though once we started I showed my true non-chef self, as I haven’t made dough or pastry since high school home economics, so I did not know how to knead properly, and am not at all skilled with a knife! We made pizza, picci –(handrolled thick spaghetti, but more like a noodle dough) with ragu (meat) sauce, a herb rub for the pork belly, beans with tomatoes and herbs, bread, grilled & marinated pumpkin, and fig pie
for desert! John joined us back at Judy’s studio then for the eating and enjoying our spoils part of the day!
On the way back from Colle Di Val D’Elsa where the cooking class was, we finally braved the parking at San Gimignano and had a walk around the town. It was such a pretty little town we were really happy that we made the effort to stop in. It was maybe a good time, as it might not have been as busy as earlier in the day. We were rewarded with a lovely panorama view from the edge of town, but unfortunately didn’t have the video/panorama camera with us! Still sore from cycling we did not walk the 200+ steps up the tower for even more amazing photos. Saving our legs for a day out in Florence tomorrow.
There are more photos below