incredible cooking experience...
Bless our JW
Network of Classified Advertisers for this suggestion.
It was Karen Herbst of The
International Kitchen that arranged for
my Tuscan cooking class with Silvia Maccari (right
in her Florence home). Cooking is not one of my strong
points but because of Silvia, who enjoys sharing her
love of life, good food, expertise and meeting people,
this was definitely one of the highlights of my trip
Our day started
with a tour of San Lorenzo
Market -- my teacher greeting her favorite
merchants and choosing only the freshest ingredients
to be used for our class. Then on to her kitchen where
Silvia handed me an apron and we began our hands-on
cooking class. While preparing our five-course meal,
I learned simple cooking techniques and shared lots
of interesting girl talk and travellers' tales.
It was a lovely
sunny morning -- Silvia kept the doors to the small
balcony off her kitchen open -- when the recipe required
it, she stepped out to snip fresh basil growing in
outdoor clay pots. Our class menu included: pie with
cheese, onions & olives, risotto with shrimps
& vegetables, stuffed veal chops, tomatoes with
porchini mushrooms & leek stuffing, as well as
biscotti and vin santo to close the meal. Julia Child
once said that the sign of a good cook is that she
can have all dishes ready at just about the same time.
Silvia was right on with everything including the
risotto which only has a five-minute window for perfect
my teacher morphed from a Tuscan chef to a fine Italian
host. Her dining room table was beautifully set with
simple white porcelain dishes and red napkins on a
vibrant orange-red Indian cover. A pot of yellow flowers
sat in the center along with three bottles of wine
-- white, red, and dessert.
Silvia, who speaks
excellent English, learned to cook from her Florentine
grandmother who passed on a wealth of family recipes.
I am grateful to both of these women for the gorgeous
meal I enjoyed. Once the main course was on the table,
Silvia joined me. This was no ordinary meal and no
ordinary classroom. It was a true immersion into the
Italian culture. I was welcomed into another woman's
kitchen where she shared her expertise and her company.
While other travel experiences may fade, I know that
this one will not. Bravo Silvia and thanks, again,
to The International Kitchen for making this adventure
possible. For further information call 1.800.945.8606
or visit: www.theinternationalkitchen.com.