With that said, this was probably the closest I ever came to being one. What a fun day! It always feels good to "play in the flour" and to create.
The Badia a Coltibuono cooking school was founded by Lorenza de' Medici (Stucchi). She was an editor to Vogue magazine, wrote children's books, and owned a woven goods store. Her yarns were used by famous designers like Calvin Klein and one of her fabrics was used for a wedding gown which is now in the Fashion Museum of Paris.
She wrote over a dozen books about food, recipes, and the heritage of Italian cooking. She had a television show on American PBS titled "The De' Medici Kitchen" and was named to a short list of the world's most famous cooks. In 1980 she started the culinary school here at age 54.
All ingredients were fresh and much came from the garden we saw outside the kitchen window.
Some noticed the beautiful stone sink which we learned was at least 400 years old--well worn to a smooth surface, but still in use. I loved the blue and white ceramic tiles used in the back splash.
Walls were lined with shelves and drawers filled with cooking utensils and hanging items like copper pots or molds. Spices, herbs, fresh, home-canned, and pickled ingredients filled the counter tops. Oh, to have this for our kitchen at home.
On the menu, schiacciata ("smashed") flat bread was tackled first. There were two styles--one with fresh tomatoes and one with house-produced olive oil and fresh rosemary.
Ravioli Pasta with ricotta and spinach filling in fresh tomato sauce was a highlight. We all got a chance to make and knead the dough, turn out the thin strips of pasta circles with the pasta roller, and fill the ravioli with cheese and spinach.
Benedetta worked on the pork filet in a vinsanto ("holy wine") sauce.
The parmigiana de melanzane was so fun to put together. It was stacked layers of baked eggplant slices, buffalo mozzarella cheese, garlic, olive oil, fresh chunky tomato sauce, parmigiana cheese, and oregano.
We ended the meal with a sweet dessert wine and almond biscotti cookies (homemade, but not by us).
We all really enjoyed this day of camaraderie and cooking, and agreed it was a highlight of the trip. We learned so much about ingredients, technique, herbs and spices, and food in general. I might even be inspired to try some of these recipes at home.
At last we retired to a sitting room for a mini snifter of grappa or cup of espresso and more biscotti. A perfect ending to the event ... that is if we couldn't have a nap.