Holy Smokes! I don’t know how I will keep you posted on all that is happening, but here is a try. First a few shots of the market we visited on Friday. I bought at least a kilo of clementines and it was 1 euro, then she threw in 2 for free. They are fabulous. Here are some shots of the cheese stand, some gorgeous eggplants and look at the size of those peppers!! See those beautiful shiny snakes – they are capitone or eel and they are delicious. Had them in Naples on New Years Eve, but we always ate them on Christmas Eve.
These are a few pics of the food we ate last night and today at lunch and the cheese tasting we did this morning. The comparison of ricottas took 15 minutes and even their worst stuff was light years ahead of what we have. We had a ricotta made from milk from cows that grazed on fields with a lot of chives in them. It was so good, but I know I will never be able to bring this stuff back.
After tasting cheeses we went to olive oils and we got the real skinny on the differences of production. I gained a boost to my confidence when I tasted the first olive oil and it was awful, thought it was rancid, but the executive chef sitting next to me thought it was great. In the end, the teacher said it was rancid, score one for trusting myself.
We moved to education on balsamic vinegar and tastings of that, followed by olive tastings, more cheese tastings and introduction to sugars, flours, leavenings, vegetables and three different types of risotto rice, plus all sorts of info on each. They are absolutely about no chemicals here, just pure clean food.
I am so excited about this program. I have harbored some silent concerns and reservations because it was pretty close to a shot in the dark for me. With only one reference to go on and so much hassle and confusion in getting all the documents I needed for the VISA I was worried. Those reservations are gone. John is a Bronx born Italian kid so I totally get where he is coming from and he is direct and his language can be salty, all fine, but he is truly knowledgeable. There are some things that I am very knowledgeable about and I used that as a barometer for veracity.
My thoughts about what I might want to do for Nonna’s is evolving after just one day. I am sure that this is just the beginning. I am so grateful to all of you who have been supportive in so many ways. I would never have gotten here if it was not for you all. I hope to bring home and share as much of this experience as I possibly can.
Ciao and grazie