Having visited Florence before, I had done all the major sightseeing and really wanted to take it easy a bit. Of course, this did not happen, as I kept myself busy doing all sorts of new things, including a wonderful one day cooking course.
For those who are regular readers of my blog, you know food is an integral part of my life – dining out, cooking and trying new recipes, including making healthy eating exciting and fun. So when I saw this activity listed among the various tours one could do from Florence, I booked it.
The tour hosted by the great team at Walkabout Florence (my second time using this great tour company) and would start in Florence itself, and as predicted, I got lost trying to find the meeting spot. Let me just say that this time, Google Maps led me astray. Getting lost meant being late, which meant keeping the group waiting, which made me angry, cause I hate making people wait, but woosah – let’s continue.
Our wonderful guide, Valeria first took us to the various markets, where we picked up the various main ingredients for preparing our menu for the day. Quite an interesting little walk, as we learnt which types of tomatoes were best for sauces or for bruschetta, for example, sampled cheese and also had a very important stop before heading to the bus that would take us to the farmhouse – a coffee stop. I am sure it was a bit of a lesson for some of the Americans on the tour to learn that frappuccinos are a Starbucks invention and Italians’ idea of a cold coffee beverage is the shakerato – espresso and ice cubes shaken in a cocktail shaker with a bit of syrup, and served. For the hot day, everyone had one of these except me – gimme a cappuccino, buddy. Give it!!!
|Fresh veggies at the market - ready for our bellies|
|Picking up our awesome pork loin for roasting at San Lorenzo Market|
|Shakerato - espresso shaken (not stirred) and my lonesome but awesome cappuccino|
Next stop – the farmhouse, in the hills not too far from Florence, but absolutely gorgeous. Here we would meet our ‘teacher’ for the day, the lovely Carmela who spoke no English but her passion for her cooking and for food was evident. Our guides, Valeria and Lavinia took us through what we would be doing for the day and our menu included
- Fresh homemade egg pasta
- Ragu meat sauce
- Roast pork
- Patata al rosamarino (Roast potatoes with rosemary)
- Florentine gelato
This was the best fun and the best tour I have done. While the dishes themselves were not that hard, there were little gems shared during the day which would serve me well in the future with my own cooking. While I do a fair amount of cooking myself, I was always a bit gun shy about going to a class, but this was a lot of fun, with a great bunch of people.
|Check me out cutting up that bread for our bruschetta|
|Aren't our tomatoes sexy?|
|Bread toasting and wine - Round 1. lol.|
|Always amazed at how simple but how amazing bruschetta is. I heart bruschetta!|
It seemed to be a great bonding activity for couples especially, with newlyweds, not so newlyweds, and newly engaged couples, joining us three single solo travelling girls on this culinary adventure. My favourite part was preparing the pasta, which I always thought was beyond my amateur skills, but it is so easy it is ridiculous.
|My pasta - the finished product - left to dry for 30mins before boiling (and eating!)|
|Our ragu doing its thing - slow cooked for 2 hours!|
|The end result of our hard work - this was so nom nom|
Oh wait – that was my second favourite part, after eating the pasta and all the other goodies we slaved over a hot kitchen table in 40 degree heat to prepare.
|We also made our own pizzas and washed that down with Italian beer|
|Our roasted potatoes|
|This pork was everything. I have already replicated this awesomeness since being back|
|A for Awesome - Awesome tiramisu. A is also my first initial.|
Eating and drinking. We did a lot of drinking too. A lot! Lol.
|The belle of the ball - Chianti Classico. And our hosts were not stingy with it either.|
I would do this again in a heartbeat and it is such a great activity for single girlfriends, or couples to do together as an aside from the sightseeing. I met some wonderful people, learnt how to make some of my favourite foods, ate a lot (soooo much food!!!) drank some amazing Chianti reds (and beer) and made a lot of great memories. Thanks to the Walkabout Team for a great day and to great peeps like - yes, gonna give you a shout out - Danielle, Jamie, Libra, and Sarah - for the laughs and the good times.
You can check out more tours on Viator or go directly to Walkabout Florence and just choose one or two, or five! They are a great bunch! My next post will feature Walkabout again as I took a trip out of Florence for some coastal fun.