Our journey started in the wee morning hours as we zigzagged our way across the Tuscan hills to reach the 700 year-old mill that was tucked away in the front pocket of Orgia, Italy. The mill was converted into an enormous kitchen with a circular marble work station and stone walls that kept the place cool under the hot Tuscan sun.
I need all the help I can get in the kitchen and so the idea of a one-day cooking lesson in Tuscany sounded like a great plan.
Me and Nicky, my brother-in-law, are here trying out the pasta maker…could he look any more serious? I think maybe they should have started doling out the wine sooner (just kidding of course…it was only 10:00 a.m.!).
We chopped and chatted the whole morning and even took some time out to play with the local kittens that were frolicking in the garden. Gina, from Ecco la cucina, was a wealth of knowledge about the history of Tuscan cooking and shared many useful tips.
As a mix of aromas serenaded us from oven to stove-top my stomach was grumbling loudly and ready for a feast. We prepared a bread salad with fresh tomatoes, basil and zucchini flowers, chicken with black olives and other yummy ingredients, the greenest beans you have ever seen, of course fresh pasta and an apricot pie!
The day wrapped up on a garden terrace where the food and wine was served while stories were shared freely like an old family that had been together for years. A true Italian lunch, the festivities ended sometime around 4:00 p.m. With full bellies, happy smiles and Gina’s cookbook clutched in our hands we said a fond farewell to our new friends.
I highly recommend Gina’s class, it was everything I imagined it would be and so much more.
Note: If you want the recipes for any of this I suggest you visit Gina’s website, www.eccolacucina.com and order her book 🙂