Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Is For Family

Sunday. Day of rest, food, and family.

Finally time to recap some of what has been going on here in Colorno since us crazy Americans got here a week ago. Tonight most of the group is getting together upstairs for a potluck family dinner complete with a jug of red wine and what is sure to be too much pasta and attitude.

The past week has been incredible. I'm finally getting on Italian time which was a pretty big struggle earlier in the week. I found myself fighting the urge to doze off in class every morning, even though what we've been doing has been unbelievably interesting. On Thursday we had another chef demo with Michelin starred Chef Flavio Costa. His demo went along with our history lesson for the day that focused on the area and cuisine of Liguria.

Chef Costa brought with him some of his favorite recipes and also a Ligurian favorite, pesto genovese. Liguria, being on the Mediterranean coast, has a food culture centered around seafood however, the color green was also a theme throughout Chef Costa's dishes. We were told that Ligurian people love to eat foods that remind them of the richness of the land (in the form of the color and use of herbs and vegitables) because they spend so much time on the sea making their livings as fishermen.

Chef Costa also made for us two styles of the beloved pesto genovese, a Ligurian favorite and personally one of mine as well. One pesto was made the traditional way with a mortar and pestle that Chef Costa had brought with him. This thing was enormous! it was made of marble and looked as if he had stolen it from the Vatican museum it was so old and weathered. Traditionally, pesto is made this way, each ingredient being added one and a time to infuse the final product with the most flavor possible.

The second version was made the modern and easy way, in about 30 seconds with a VitaPrep mixer. Chef Costa plated them both side by side and let us, the budding chefs, decide which one we preferred. The difference in taste was outstanding; the pesto made by hand had the most incredibly rich flavor, you could really taste each ingredient shining through. The blended pesto was good, but next to the other was a mild imposter.

Along with his beautiful dishes, including his sea bream dish above, Chef Costa brought along some beautiful products from his native Liguria. A few of the most notable were the artichokes, the high quality extra virgin olive oil, and the black truffles. This picture is of a cross section made of one of the truffles and words cannot express how gorgeous it is! Who doesn't love truffles, right?

So now I must retire to bed, it is far past my bed time and I need to wake up in a few short hours for 8am Italian class.

Ciao Tutti!

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