Cooking at a 13th Century Farmhouse in the Chianti Hills
Welcome to part one of my Tuscany Food and Wine series. Ciao from Toscana Mia in the Chianti Hills! A cooking school I arranged through a Vancouver company, Mama Margaret and Friends Cooking Adventures in Italy (I became familiar with about a decade ago).
I arrived utterly and completely jet lagged (2 planes, a taxi, a train, a hired car, a day and a six hour time change since I had left Toronto) to a wonderful dinner with the two Toscana Mia sisters Simonetta and Paola and the two other cooking enthusiasts Barbara and Ann (friends from Boulder). We all would be enjoying the beautiful restored 13th century farmhouse over the next few days. The dinner was delicious (I did have enough energy to chew) and then it was off to bed.
The next morning was a simple breakfast of bread, cheese, meat, jams and strong Italian coffee. Then a car ride to the close-by village of Radda with Paola, Barbara and Ann. We did a quick walk about and collected the groceries for the cooking class (later that afternoon) before visiting a local winery. Anyone who knows me and follows my blog understands that ‘all is good with Jane’ when there is scrumptious cheese around. This Canadian loving shop owner had many local artisan cheeses for me to sink my teeth into. YUM!
Back at Toscana Mia – cooking class started at 4 pm sharp (and I mean German sharp, not Italy sharp) and where am I – asleep in my room. I’m startled by a knock on my door by Paola, “Jane – Simonetta has started the cooking class!” I jump out of a deep sleep and join the other eight people in the class. We were five Canadians (including An and Jakub from Vancouver celebrating their honeymoon) and four Americans. It was a fun three hours of cooking with Simonetta, drinking Chianti Classico wines and learning about the other culinary struck students.
The menu for the class included:
- Crostini de Olive Nere
- Pici (a Tuscan pasta)
- Salsa al L’aglione
- Scallopinne al L’acto Balsamico (turkey breasts)
- Peperoni al Forno (baked peppers)
- Crostata di Ricotta, Pasteiera Napoletana and Panna Cotta
My favourite was the Pici with Salsa al L’aglione – so simple yet so fresh and delicious. We had a wonderful time at dinner where we were joined by Paola, her husband and their two daughers– great company, conversation, food and wine!
The next day after another simple breakfast (which I’m late for again – sleeping off the jet lag or is it the wine this time?) cooking class and local wine drinking began at 9:30 am. This class was just the three of us (Barbara, Ann and me) staying at the farmhouse and another newlywed couple Carla and Sergio from Brazil.
Did you know a fiasco is a glass cooking apparatus (similar to a Breaking Bad set prop or a piece of equipment from a Canadian grade 10 science class)? It was terrific learning about new ways of cooking – some I tested at the Villa (Part Three) and now at home.
That morning we made:
- Salsa al Gorgonzola
- Gnocchi Di Patate
- Stracccetti alla Pizzailoa (beef fillets)
- Fagioli al Fiasco (cannellini beans)
It was great getting to know Carla and Sergio and learning about Sao Paulo when we were cooking and eating.
The Gnocci Di Patate with the Salsa al Gorgonzola was my favourite from this class. Again, so simple, fresh and delicious – perfecto!
Next I’ll share with you Part 2 My Three Favourite Toscana Mia Recipes
& stay tuned for Part 3 The Tuscan Villa and Pietrafitta Winery!