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 to Florence.
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 consistency.
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.