Cooking in Chianti

Our full day at the Cooking School/B&B started off with a little European Breakfast with the family and the dinner couple from last night before our cooking class began—“for lunch based on our own efforts.” We met the B&B host (Simonetta) and her cooking class lead (Kulinka) over in the other house around 10:30 and spent the next 2.5 hours preparing a lunch-time feast that was a heavier meal than anyone needed but was quite enjoyable nonetheless.

Our menu for today’s lunch—grilled endive salad with gorgonzola and bacon, bowtie pasta with a cacio e peppe sauce, stuffed chicken with parmesan cheese and mortadella, and then tiramisu. So, for this light lunch, we generally worked our way backwards—making dessert first, prepping the pasta, making the salad and entrée, and then finishing the pasta.

For any that are interested, my mom had the “privilege” of taking very detailed notes on the ingredients and the steps to each of the items that were made so I’ll only go into some cursory level details here. Highlights of the cooking included—my mom whipping the egg-white mixture of the tiramisu and finding out it was done when Simonetta held the mixture over her head and it didn’t fall, my mom going too far rogue on the pasta making process and having to start over, watching my dad try to make the bow-tie pasta shapes, Debbie’s mom being super excited that her pasta was the most rectangular of the group, Dan’s precision into the pasta lay-out, and of course, just the general taste of the food.

We worked very hard for our lunch and were certainly excited when the time presented itself to eat the day’s efforts—we had somehow made it through the cooking portion of the day with no real mishaps, potentially decent instructions from my mom, an entire cookbook from the B&B (but not necessarily what we had cooked), and very full stomachs for such a late lunch.

After the cooking class, the excitement of the day occurred. Dan needed a nap to recover from the jet lag and Gary needed some time to work, so the HoneyMeyers and the mothers decided we’d walk into town to see what’s going on. Walking into town meant a 5k (3.2 mile) walk nearly 100% downhill, although nothing too steep in that direction, with zero turns for about 75 minutes per google. 

We began on the walk and the mothers told us that they’d walk slower so just to be aware of that which was fine. Every few minutes Debbie and I would turn around to make sure they were following and the first 10 or so checks seemed to have no issue at all. 

We started to get a little more separation when all of a sudden my phone rings and my mom tells me that they are lost. Confused at how this could happen on a road with no turns, Debbie and I turn around to begin the search party. The service is pretty terrible but after a few minutes of phone calls not working, I’m able to explain via text how to share locations so we can see where they are. 

After they’ve been spotted on the map and Debbie and I reunite after splitting up to look for them, we begin our route to them and then all of a sudden another text comes through. “We are in car with Kalinika- meet you in Greve”

My immediate thought was I can’t believe they called for help but I’m glad they’re ok. Before we have time to process, the car shows up and Kalinika invites us in. As we’re driving down, the mothers explain that as they’re walking up Kalinika came to pass them and stopped and later offered them a ride to town. We squeeze in but do make it down as planned. 

The town square had a lot more going on than you’d expect for it being late afternoon on a Sunday in Italy. There was some sort of merchants market with tons of tents in the main square, the end of some sort of parade, a cake the size of many tables to celebrate someone or somethings 20th (awful casting take), and tons of stores. 

We walked around for a little buying a few things here and there (including some well needed but well spotted Mother’s Day presents) and made our way to the visitors center to arrange a car ride back up to the top of the mountain. It was probably about 5 pm by the time we arranged a car and we were lucky they could find someone as I’m not sure the mothers would have made it up the hill before dinner time. 

We got back and everyone hung out in the main lodge area before heading over to dinner at the house next door. Tonight’s dinner guests were two folks from North Germany that were staying 9 nights here and using it as main base for their driving trips around the area. Their English wasn’t so great but you really have to appreciate the effort that they, and all non-English speaking persons make, when they interact with those of us that can only converse in one language. 

The meal wasn’t as good as dinner last night or lunch today – we started with a sausage and cheese crostini which all enjoyed, followed by a Tuscan bean soup and a main course of meat loaf over some sort of leafy green, concluding with a panna cotta for dessert. 

As usual, the company was more important than the food and we were able to have a lovely Mother’s Day dinner for the second year in a row with both mothers. 

Next up- we’re headed out of the B&B mid morning and making our way back into Florence for unknown activities yet. Tonight we’re eating at my favorite restaurant from my Europe trip 7 years ago so we (read: I) are very excited for what’s ahead!

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