Friday, April 11, 2008

Buon Giorno! Week 2 in Italy

Buon Giorno!
So here I am, the end of week two, lots to tell you about! This week our guest chefs came from Piemonte and Trentino. The Trentino cuisine was surprisingly interesting and tasty. It’s a cross between Austrian and Italian. The chef was lot of fun. I’m attaching his web site to see some shots of his food. ( As you can see, his food is quite beautiful. The chef from Piemonte by contrast was almost 20 years his junior – but you could tell immediately how talented he was. One of the things about Italian cuisine that I find refreshing is their intense authenticity about their specific regional food. They use the food from their region with a great passion.

On Friday we took a field trip to the Piemonte region, starting out at 6:00 am. We visited the town of Alba famous around the world for tartufo (truffle) hunting. We didn’t actually go on a real hunt, as the industry is managed quite closely by the government. You need to have a license to hunt for them. I gather it’s some what like lobstering in the US. If you are caught you get either fined or can go to jail. So at our “mock” hunt, there were tartufo strategically “planted” for our enjoyment. It was quite amusing. After our hunt we went to a town named Roddi and met a family that trains the dogs that really do hunt. It was high up on a beautiful hill overlooking the Lange valley, famous for Barolo producing.

Our next stop- you got it – a vineyard. The Cappellano Winery, now managed by a fifth generation, was so lovely. It’s everything you could imagine in a small family run business in the heart of the Piedmont region. We spent almost two hours with the founder’s great-great grandson. He produces Barolo and a Barberesco wines. We got to taste several, and they were marvelous. (

Our last stop (yes, it was a long long day) was Torino at a wonderful massive food market called “Eataly.” (Someone in our group thought they were building one in NYC?) Food and wine every where – all Italian, and all completely awesome. I was of course immediately on overload, and immobilized. I wasn’t sure where to turn and start! (For you New Yorkers – think of Chelsea Market, but multiplied by 10!)

Saturday I headed to Venice with three of my comrades from class. It was a tough start as we got home at 2:00 am on Saturday morning. It was really hard getting up at 7:30 … but I’m so glad I did. The train ride was so civilized and picturesque! We arrived in Venice, via Bologna at around 1:30 in the afternoon. After getting lost for about an hour we found our hotel and headed out. The streets are tiny and winding. Around every corner you find wonderful little shops with Venitian blown glass and carnival masks. We shared a bottle of Prosecco at Florian, a famous caffe on the Piazza San Marco square, extablished in 1720. ( After that, another hour of searching for our restaraunt for dinner! We stayed through Sunday and made our way back to Parma this evening.

I hope you enjoy the attached photos .. I am also adding a couple of shots of food I made this week. One is my veal tonnatto. The sauce (a mayonnaise) is a fine emulsify of tuna, anchovy and capers. Chef Paolo seemed duly impressed with it. The other is ravioli I made with fresh egg pasta, filled with finely chopped veal, spinach and fresh ricotta, topped with a clarified butter. Another thumbs up. ☺

Ciao until next week! Maria

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