Friday, April 18, 2008

Week 3 - Guest Chefs from Veneto and Friuli Giulia

Buon giorno tutti,
Week three is finished. All in all, a quiet week. This week we studied the regions of Veneto and Friuli Giulia.

On Monday our guest chef, Bruno Barbieri, was from the Veneto region – specifically the city of Verona. He came with 4 assistants … it was a little amusing, given the size of the kitchen. Anyway, he is apparently quite famous in Italy, appearing on their version of the Food Network regularly. He actually reminded me of an Italian version of Bobby Flay. I’m attaching a picture of our class with him. He’s on the far right without a toque. (Yes, that’s me standing in the back row!) I loved his basic philosophy on foods – (paraphrased) “remember, mediocre ingredients give you a mediocre dish. It’s important to bring your personality to your food; it will translate to your guest.” The foods Veneto are described as being the most elegant of the northern regions. In our wine class we tasted some really lovely spumante and soave wines from the region.

On Wednesday our guest chef was Andrea Canton, from the Fruili region. He apprenticed under Gualtiero Marchesi, the founder of ALMA. He was really wonderful, a total contrast from the personality of Bruno – quiet and reserved. Fruili Giulia is another of the very northern regions that has a very basic rural cuisine, blending Italian with Slavic and Austrian nuances. A lot of farming and vineyards. I did like the dishes Chef Andrea created – one of which I got to help one. (I am happy to inform you that I make the best quenelles in the class! Lol) I wish I actually had a picture to show you – one of my classmates took a video shot of me making the stuffed gnocchi (in the shape of a quenelle) but not a still. I tried to email the short video but the file is too big. Oh well!

We cooked on all of the other days, making dishes from the two regions. I’m attaching some of them for you to see. I guess my favorite was the Cialzon – yes, sounds very similar to “calzone.” From the Fruili region it’s a stuffed pasta with many different kinds of fillings. Literally you could go from village to village, and each would claim theirs as traditional. Generally speaking the most traditional is made with a plum filling. The one we made was a combination of savory and sweet, filled with spinach, bread, parsley, raisins, chocolate. Topped with a savory cheese from the region. The other dish I got a real kick out of making was the Cuttlefish with Black Risotto. I used the ink sac from my cuttlefish to color the risotto.

So, no school sponsored field trips this week. So on Saturday I did my shopping and laundry and on Sunday walked around Parma.

I am really looking forward to this week. Larry is arriving on Tuesday. On Thursday and Friday this week we are taking a school field trip, and he is going to come along. (yeah!!) We’re going to be studying the Toscana (Tuscany) region this week. On Thursday – our anniversary - we’ll be in Siena visiting olive oil and parma ham producers and Friday two vineyards. We’re thinking we’ll spend the weekend seeing Florence and Pisa, then drive back along the coast to Cinque Terra on Monday. (Yes, I am cutting school for a day!) But enough of that .. lets save that for next week’s installment!

Have a great week and enjoy the photos!
Molto Amore!

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