When Mauricio and I returned to Florence in July 2014, we decided that we wanted to try something new. I love to cook, Mauricio desperately needs to learn how to cook, and we both love, love, love to eat, so we thought, what better activity to do than an Italian cooking class* in the capital of Tuscany?
We had such so much fun in our class at the Florence Food & Wine Academy* and we learned how to make a lot of delicious, authentic Italian food, like pappardelle, ravioli, and tiramisu! In fact, everything was so yummy that we’ve been using the recipes we learned at home… weekly!
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First, the group of about 25 cooking students met at the Academy, and we took a short stroll over to the Mercato Centrale to pick up our farm-fresh ingredients.
Chef Davide gave us a quick tour of the market and he informed us about the typical Italian products and ingredients that you usually find in an Italian farmers’ market.
The most interesting to us was a typical Florentine dish, called lampredotto, that is basically a sandwich of a cow’s fourth and final stomach. It must be good, because all of the Florentines go crazy for lampredotto, but it’s safe to say that we didn’t try it!
After we fetched our ingredients for the day, we headed back to the Academy where we learned how to make traditional pappardelle and ravioli pasta, delicious Bolognese sauce, and decadent tiramisu, all from scratch.
During the class, as an appetizer, the chefs brought us some bruschetta and pesto which was so simple, but absolutely delightful.
There was also some friendly competition going on to see who could get the eggs for the tiramisu to rise the quickest (which, by the way, is pretty hard work without an electric mixer) and whose dough would be the softest. It really was a lot of fun.
Cooking in general is hard work, but when everything is from scratch, it’s some pretty tough manual labor. I was definitely sweating trying to whisk egg whites and roll out my rock-hard dough, but hey, that’s what makes the food taste that much better!
Imagine the amazing reward of a feast we had when we ate everything we created: pappardelle with bolognese sauce, ricotta cheese stuffed raviolis with butter and sage cream, and traditional tiramisu for dessert, accompanied by plenty of Chianti wine.
It was simply amazing; it was one of those meals that you wish you could rewind and eat all over again. But actually, there was no need to rewind, there was so much food, I had three or four plates. It was that good.
We were so stuffed afterward that it was a little difficult to get out of our chairs and start walking around the city again.
After our 5.5 hour cooking class, we were about ready to sign up for another pizza and gelato class for later that day, but we decided we better go explore the city instead. So until next time, Florence Food & Wine Academy!
From our über friendly and helpful chefs, we learned some useful Italian cooking tips and recipes that we will probably use for the rest of our lives. The food was great, the group was delightful, and we had an overall awesome experience at our cooking class in Florence. If you will be visiting Florence soon, we highly recommend a class with these guys; but if not, then be sure to check out the recipes so you can also make a delicious Italian feast for you and your family!
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Have you taken a cooking class abroad before? If so, where, and how was it? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!