Italia Per Due Week 6: Adam, Angela, and the Italian Concentration
It is crazy to think we have been here for more than a month and how fast the time has gone by! Recently, on my favorite day of class so far, a pastry chef in Casarano who specializes in chocolate and specialty cakes came and spent the day with us doing chocolate demos! His pastry shop is only about a 20-minute drive from Ugento, and I will be spending time for my stage during our last three weeks in Italy.
When we first arrived, gorgeous chocolate showpieces were presented in the pastry kitchen. At the same time, all our stations were set up to prepare us to temper chocolate by tabling and then make our own shell-molded chocolates. Chef Ugo, the pastry chef, explained to us the history of chocolate and the process of how it is made. We were also told how he has won many chocolate competitions in Milan for his beautiful work! After making shell-molded chocolates, truffles, and mini showpieces I truly was able to appreciate how much I love working with chocolate. I was always slightly uncomfortable with tabling chocolate when I temper it, because during our AOS classes at CIA we typically use the seeding method. After this day of class, I became more comfortable with it and am ready to learn more techniques. I am extremely grateful to soon be able to continue working with Chef Ugo and learn more about his particular techniques.
By Angela Piccinich
Friuli Venezia Giulia’s Cuisine
Today in class we made cuisine from the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, which found in northwestern Italy. Friuli borders Slovenia and Austria, which both heavily influence the cuisine here. Austrian ingredients that are prevalent in the region include cabbage and pastries such as strucolo, a thin layer of dough that is rolled around a filling of ricotta, sugar, and raisins. Italy also has German influences, resulting in a unique overall cuisine.
In class, we made dishes such as Rambasicci, Lasagne ai semi di Papavero, and Iota. Rambasicci is a beef and veal mixture that is seasoned beautifully with Grana Padano, paprika, and minced garlic, and then is rolled up inside a cabbage leaf that is stewed in a mixture of butter, onion, and vegetable broth. The result is a delicious and moist meat filling that has been steamed in the cabbage. The Lasagne ai semi di Papavero was probably my favorite dish of this day. It is fresh pasta that is then tossed in a sauce made with butter, sugar, and poppy seeds. The sauce is slightly sweet with crunch from the poppy seeds. It flavors the delicate pasta perfectly. Iota is made by cooking borlotti beans in water with diced pork meat and skin to perfectly flavors the beans. While the beans are cooking, we sautéed pancetta, added in sauerkraut, and thickened it with mais flour. When this mixture was nicely cooked down, it was added to the beans and stewed down into a thick soup. The result is thick and rich with the flavor of all the pork that was cooked in the dish and had a slightly sour flavor coming from the sauerkraut—a true German influence.
This was my favorite class day so far because the flavors of all the cuisines came together to make a great family meal. It is amazing to see how so many different countries’ cuisine can come together with the Italian products to create something truly special. I am excited to keep learning about how different all the regions are!
By Adam Shoemaker