There are many great things in Florence, Italy–the architecture, the art, the gardens–but there is no question that one of that best things is the food. So, while in Florence, why not learn to cook? Some lucky visitors stay for a week-long cooking course, but even if you have only a free day you can learn to make a decent pasta and tiramisu.
We went to a cooking class at the Food and Wine Academy of Florence. They offer a variety of cooking classes and tours, including pizza and gelato making, wine and olive tasting, a Tuscan wine trail tour, and our class, the “Chef for a Day” cooking class that included a trip to the Florence Central Market. We had, quite unusually, not planned in advance and considered ourselves extremely lucky to fit into a class the next day.
Our cooking class met in the morning and we took an easy stroll to the Central Market in Florence. You begin to understand why Florentine food is so great when you see what they start with.
There’s the funghi and the ham:
Every kind of delicacy:
And, of course, a classic Italian butcher:
We crammed into a little stall for a private tasting of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
We also tried a lot of tasty artisanal treats and came out with our winner, the truffle honey.
Once we had our supplies, we proceeded by foot to the cooking school. The kitchen was high-ceiled with smooth plaster and looked the way kitchens aspire to look after a high-end remodel. We were issued our aprons and found a place at the table.
First, we all ate some bruschetta with perfect tomatoes. We didn’t make this, but we were given the recipe and instructions to make it at home.
Next, we made our dessert, the tiramasu. We did a lot of whisking.
Then we layered our crema and chocolate in glass bowls. We all designed our tiramisu with a personal touch so that we could identify our own bowl later after the dessert chilled.
Then, the main event. We learned to make pasta and, while we were at it, a couple of different sauces. First the pappardelle:
And then the ravioli:
And the results were startlingly professional!
After we ate–sorry, too busy eating to take a picture–we all received our certificates. What a delicious and instructive way to spend a day in Florence!