Guest post from Mary at Australian Womens Travel View upoming Tours here
Anyone who knows me at all, will know that the words “I hate cooking” emanate from my mouth quite frequently ( I do however LOVE eating)! But I kept hearing about people doing cooking classes in Tuscany and how wonderful it was , so I decided that I should really add it into my itinerary as an option for the group when we next visited Florence. I was secretly dreading it ,(remember in Mcleodganj in India girls, where I refused to join you all in the Tibetan Momo cooking class?) , but finally decided it had to be done!
After quite a bit if research I decided on a Cooking School on the Oltrarno side of Florence in Italy, only a 10 min walk from our hotel. Even though there were a lot of people attending from all over the world, it didn’t take long before we where provided with our white aprons & put into groups of 6 and set up at our work stations. There was 1 chef teacher per 2 work stations. We where so lucky to have a gorgeous young energetic chef called Alessandro as our mentor, and his passion for people and cooking was infectious!
We shared our work station with two Canadian guys who were great fun and it wasn’t long before the whole room was alive with laughter and chatting. At first I decided I may be able to hide my poor cooking skills by being the clean up lady, wiping the bench up after each little spill, not knowing at that stage that there were people employed to wipe down benches and take away all of your used pots and pans. But I soon found out, when the clean up person attached to our bench grabbed the cloth out of my hand and gave me a fierce scowl!
So I thought ,well if I can’t be the clean up lady then I will just have to get on with it and cook . However, it wasn’t long before Alessandro had us all chopping, whizzing , beating, stirring, sizzling, flipping crepes and all sorts of other cooking techniques, all done in a light hearted fun way! This was actually great fun !!!
Once all of the cooking was over we stripped off out aprons and where whisked away to a typical Italian type wine cellar, lined with old rolled bricks and decorated in typical rustic Italian farmhouse style. It was set up as beautiful
restaurant , and it was here that we got to partake of the fruits of our labour and enjoy the delicious 4 course meal we had prepared , served with a variety of Italian wines.
The atmosphere was great, everyone on a high from the cooking experience and it was a good opportunity to meet other people from different countries and share some travel stories. A great night over, we walked back to our hotel across the river ,great views of the reflected light on the River Arno greeted us as we made our way back.
Highly recommend doing something like this if you are ever in Florence and I have decided to add this as an option on all of my tours that include Florence.
- 3 Eggs separated
- 100g Sugar
- 300g Mascarpone Cheese
- Savoiardi Cookie ( I used Italian kind of prepacked sponge fingers)
- 1 cup of Italian Coffee
- Tsp Brandy Liqueur ( I substituted Chocolate Grappa )
- Cocoa Powder
Whip together 3 parts sugar and egg yolk until very well mixed. Beat eggs whites and 1 part sugar with a mixer until firm but not stiff. Add Mascarpone cheese to sugar/egg yolk mixture. Once incorporated gently fold your egg white mix into Mascarpone base. Put a layer of this mixture into the bottom of your serving container ( Can be one large that you share from or individual portions) Quickly dip the Savoiardi cookies in the coffee /brandy mixture to wet them but be sure not to soak them Put a layer of the cookies into your serving container and then another layer of the mixture on top. Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving