You have to admit that you've seen at least once a movie sequence of cooking in an Italian kitchen. Well, let me tell you something. I have seen a lot of movies before but I never thought that I could experience exactly the same thing. This is what I am going to tell you about in this article. About the most beautiful dining experience I've had so far. About two boys who stayed close to my heart. About the day I will remember for a long time from now on.
Tuscan Pasta Cooking Class
It's about the Tuscan pasta cooking class, more precisely, not even 15 minutes by train from Florence.
It all started with a proposal from a friend. I said that if we still end up in Florence it would be a shame not to learn the secrets of the local cuisine.
It started on a sunny morning when my girlfriend and I were rushing to get to the meeting point at the train station. They got there, a little shy (just kidding, only the first 10 min probably). I got to know Lorenzo and then the other participants in the course. On the train we realized that next to us there were 4 couples on their honeymoon, a couple in their 60s and all Americans. It was a funny moment when we were going to introduce ourselves. The first words were "We two are not on the honeymoon".
After we all laughed and got to know each other, we didn't even blink until we reached our destination. That's where Luca came and took us to their nest where the magic of pasta happens.
I want to specify that Luca and Lorenzzo are such cheerful and lively people that you feel like you have known them for a lifetime. But I'm not even talking about the sense of humor, the way they tease here can both be awarded. They are exceptional. And you realize that we haven't even started cooking pasta yet and I had already made up my mind.
An unforgettable culinary experience
Arriving in a beautiful courtyard where you can see the olive groves, the peace that surrounds you (the neighbor next to their little house....oh my life how they look). It was gorgeous. The terrace of the house had a long wooden table where we all sat down to admire everything for a start. Everything was so cozy. Then I spotted the domestic animals they had (chickens, ducklings roaming around the yard). They were very amused.
After a small introduction and a glass of prosecco, Luca set us to work. While Lorenzzo was preparing the space for cooking pasta, we learned the secrets of a different tiramisu that we were going to make.
Do you realize that I can't tell you the exact recipe, otherwise how can I convince you to go too?
But I can also tell you a secret. It's a tiramisu made with crackers cantuccini and a pinch of coarse salt at the end (the part with salt is strictly their version which I thought was brilliant).
And look, one by one, we each started to whip the cream, assemble the biscuits, put them in the cold and moved into the living room specially prepared for us.
Authentic Tuscan Pasta Cooking Session
For those who don't know, these guys hold their own the pasta classes right at their home. It's not a special place like some cold industrial kitchens where you go to learn to cook. They basically give you a totally authentic Italian experience, exactly how pasta was cooked back in the day.
Let's get back to pasta. Here I want to praise the guys because they paid attention to every little detail, including the decoration (the olive branches were gorgeous). Each apron had a tag with our name on it. I'm thinking so that we know how we call each other after thatteva wine glasses. Kidding.
The whole procedure seemed to be simple at first. We had before us dor an egg, flour, rolling pin and a fork. And so it is! If you listen carefully to every step that Lorenzzo says you will succeed too. They are very careful with you. I am here to help you with any need you may have. I scooped and swirled, mixed, kneaded then chopped. It's voila! Look at the forms for already tortellini I'm already ready. We were going to fill them with ricotta and spinach. Phew...easy peasy. In the end they looked like thist cute and little. They were my first tortellini ever made. They were like my children. After arranging them on a tray next to the others, I moved on to Tagliatelle.
I didn't know, but there is a special instrument that looks like a tambourine/harp/guitar. If I'm not mistaken, that's what it's called – pasta chitarra.
How exactly does it work?
After you spread the pasta dough on the table, you put it over those strings. Lightly press the rolling pin over the dough then bring out the musician side of you. You actually start playing this tool and you will notice how the tagliatelle slips easily. Funny isn't it? Believe me it was special to try this technique that has been used since the beginning of the ancestor of pasta.
After laughing and preparing the pasta, guess what? Break from prosecco, again! Wow, I love this kind of activity where I can feel good. Here the boys served us with o truffle cream with butter brilliant. I could eat this every day. Then they told us a little about them.
It is very interesting how he tries to combine Italian cuisine from two different areas, Luca being from the south of Italy and Lorenzzo from the north.
Just with a fork
Also here I wanted to dispel a myth: Is pasta eaten with a spoon and fork?
The response was as I expected – just with a fork.
In the north people are more delicate and eat with a spoon, but the reality is that only the fork is used. And yes, the pizza it is eaten with the hand, in the the pizza we can never ketchup and pineapple (as Americans do).
Next came the actual preparation of the pasta. We all went (of course with the glass of prosecco after me) let's participate. All the products used were from the garden boys, starting with egg, sage, tomatoes, basil, garlic, even olive oil is made by them.
While I sat there until the pasta was being prepared, I was actually drooling with appetite. I wanted to get to the part with sooner "Now let's eat!"
It didn't take long and my dream came true.
Pasta made like a true Tuscan in an authentic cooking session
Every time I experience such moments, I think, how could I give back to you, those from online, the smell I feel now, here. Effectively the fresh air from outside, combined with the smell of pasta, with a slight hint of garlic and basil, and sometimes a sour smell of prosecco. Life is beautiful! that's all i could say.
Of course he drank the wines and prosecco which the boys prepared. And on this occasion I learned that before drinking, it is very important to worship the glass. And here it is done in the following way.
Tap twice with the bottom of the table glass, look into the eyes of those at the table and then drink.
Pfff…long way to reach the mouth.
The most unpleasant part was that at some point we had to leave. Yes, I know, it was terribly sad. We were lucky to have a group of super funny people with us, but the atmosphere that Luca and Lorenzzo created was something like in the movies. Full of warmth and sincerity.
I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. Because I was lucky to have a first experience of this kind. It matters a lot how the first experience was in whatever you do. And this time these guys convinced me that I have to see them again every timend I will arrive in Florence.
The great sculptor Enrico Manfrini is Lorenzo's grandfather. It is famous for many sculptures and one of them is the gate of the Adoration of Mary of the Cathedral of Siena from 1958.
You can find this experience on:
If you're in Tuscany, you can't miss two of Italy's most beautiful cities: Florence and Pisa, respectively. Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region, full of historic buildings. The city is known as the cradle of the Italian Renaissance and is famous for artworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, among others. Among the city's most famous attractions are the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery. I recommend you to read the complete travel guide to Florence.
About an hour's drive/train from Florence is the city of Pisa, known for its Leaning Tower. This is just one of the four historic buildings in Piazza dei Miracoli, in addition to the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Camposanto Monumentale. Discover the Grandeur of Tuscany with the Pisa travel guide.
A visit to Florence and Pisa is a must for anyone visiting Tuscany!