Italia Per Due: Week 11
Il Primo Giorni delle mio Stage.
(The first day of my stage)
These last three weeks of our Italian Concentration is when we complete our stages. Many of us are sadly being separated from the little Italian family that we formed while living together, and I will miss everyone! Some students are staying in Puglia or close by, while other are going to be as far as three hours away. Still other are going as far as Florence and Milan for their experience!
I chose to do mine at a pasticceria or pastry shop in Casarano, about 20 minutes away from Ugento. The pastry chef, Ugo, came to the Castello one day a few weeks ago to lecture about chocolate, and perform a few demos. On my first day at the pastry shop, I tabled chocolate in order to temper it, I encased toys for children in chocolate eggs, and then spray painted them as gifts for Easter. Lastly, Ugo unmolded chocolate hens for Easter, which I then decorated and painted for display in his showcase.
I am so excited to discover what I’ll learn during this opportunity. I’m especially excited about all the desserts and chocolate showpieces we will make for Easter. In addition, Chef Ugo has asked me to be his assistant while he visits a culinary school nearby, which I am thrilled about! I cannot wait to share what I will learn.
By Angela Piccinich
Today was our last day of classes here in Ugento. So, we all went to dinner together for one last meal. All fifteen of us students plus some of the staff piled in cars and drove to a restaurant in a local village of Patu. The restaurant, Rua De li Travaj, is family owned and specializes in Pugliese cuisine. The meal started with homemade bread and an amazing wine made with Primitivo grapes, which had notes of red fruits and flowers. Then, the kitchen sent what seemed like a never-ending amount of antipasto! It included crostini topped with pesto, cheeses, salami, fava bean purée with chicory, chickpea stew, broccoli rabe fritters, and a potato and tomato salad that was dressed with olive oil and a little vinegar.
After this—and some more wine—the kitchen brought out large bowls of homemade Orecchiette with tomato sauce. The tomato sauce was super bright and amazingly fresh tasting on the homemade pasta. Of course, it paired perfectly with the red wine.
To end the meal, they brought out plates of fresh fruit as well as large blocks of dark chocolate that were served on wooden boards with a big knife. We took turns cutting off pieces of the delicious chocolate. Throughout the meal we all tried to take in the fact that this would be the last meal that we would be enjoying together in Italy. During our time living together, we have all gotten close and I have made some great new friends. We all now head our separate ways for a three-week stage before heading back to the United States.
Stay tuned for news about my time at Tormaresca Winery here in Puglia.
By Adam Shoemaker