Real food. Proper food. Home cooked, handmade, fresh, goodness. On the boat we aim to live as chemical free as possible, we shop largely at markets and generally plan for three days of meals in each shop. Our fridge isn't huge and we don't have a freezer or a microwave. Our kitchen is simple, a top loading fridge and a gas cooker but we enjoy cooking in it and try to take inspiration from the places we are visiting.
Captain and I both wanted to do a Tuscan cooking class, so we booked one online at Walkabout Florence. There were fancier ones available online, elaborate dishes cooked in grand Chateaux, but Walkabout offered a beautiful Tuscan farmhouse kitchen with dishes you might actually stand a chance of recreating yourself ( and it was a fair price for a day at €80).
We met at 10am, our Venezulan guide Valeria and our small team of tourists. USA, Auz, Brazil, England, South Africa and NZ all represented. It was a bonus to chat to others our age, to be honest it was a bonus to chat to anyone other than Captain! Most days, all day, he's only got my patter to listen to. We listen to a lot of tunes.
First up was a walk around central Florence with a bit of local food history from our guide.
Valeria pointed out a wine tabernacle, which in the good olde times was like an ATM for wine. Now that is my kind of hole in the wall! You rock up with a vessel and a coin, place both in the hole and your vessel shall brim. How did they ever fall out of fashion?
Heres a few facts from Valeria : * Leonardo invented the fork ' It set us apart from eating like animals' * Florence abolished capital punishment in 1783, they were well ahead of the game *Tuscan Olive oil is spicier as it is picked from the tree before ripening, don't touch anything thats not extra virgin *Earliest salaries were paid in salt *Italians never touch Cappuccino after 11 ( if they do its due to a hangover) *The Italians have the Americans to thank for importing tomatoes, can you imagine Italian food without tomatoes.
After buying our produce for cooking at the market we clambered on a bus to our Tuscan farmhouse to cook up an Italian storm.
Under the guidance of Camilla the charismatic head chef you are lead through an array of dishes. Lovely Molly translates as we work our way through Bruschetta (Italians don't pronounce the 'h'), fresh pasta, Ragu sauce, proper italian Pizza, Pork with roast Potatoes, Tiramisu, Gelato... all of which you get to wash down with copious amounts of Chianti.
The Pizza puppeteers were as lush as the pizza itself; half way through the afternoon we all flocked around the wood fired pizza oven (which doesn't seem necessary in this heat) until the pizza makers introduce themselves, and it all makes complete sense!
We laughed as much as we ate with our new international friends. Camilla likes to sing as she cooks 'the food can feel the love' so preparations for this cooking course should simple be learning the chorus of 'Thats Amore'. She's onto something, it was delicious.