Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 13 - Umbria - My Cooking Class, Deruta and Assisi

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We left La Foresta at 8:00 to make sure we arrived at my cooking lesson in Deruta on time. We crossed the border of Tuscany and entered Umbria. The directions that Zoila gave to me were to get off the highway at Deruta north and follow the dead end road then continue on to a dirt road until we get to a villa with Iron Gates,   We found it and the Iron Gates slowly slid opened when we approached.

“Italy Loves to Cook” is run by two wonderful women, Zoila and Tiziana. The lessons take place in Tiziana’s villa, Villa Vincara," an elegant, antique villa of the early 1800s. Tiziana speaks a little English while Zoila is fluent after having spent many years in California. We prepared a very very large lunch.

This was our menu:


Mushroom Bruschetta, Zucchini and Bacon (pancetta) Bruschetta, Eggplant , tomato and mozzarella combinations

Primi Piatti: Umbrian Ragu, Gnocchi, Lasagne

Secondi Piatti: Tasty Involtini

Dessert: Rocetti al Vino

First we went out into the garden to pick the herbs and then we began preparing all the dishes.
We started with the Ragout so it would simmer while we prepared some of the other dishes. The gnocchi was fun to make and much easier than I thought it would be. I participated in all the cooking and learned tips about the food and the region along the way. “Italy Loves to Cook” can accommodate up to 12 people for a cooking class and more for lunch if companions don’t participate in the classes. They also can customize the menu or expand it over a few days.
When the cooking was almost done, Dan arrived to have lunch with us and I think it was the largest lunch we ever had. It was served on beautiful Deruta ceramic dishes which we commented on. While Dan was wandering around the town of Deruta, he said he saw the Deruta pieces everywhere. It turns out that Tiziana is friends with the owners at one of the best factories, so on our way to Assisi, we would make a quick stop...just to look. We said our good byes and continued on with our day...very full...but it was a great lesson with very good food.

We drove into Deruta and stopped by the “Ceramiche Artistiche – Gialletti Giulio “ factory where Michele, who spoke excellent English, gave us a tour. Along his side was Antonio one of the owners. Michele went through the entire process, the same process (with maybe some modern equipment), that has been used for centuries to make these renaissance ceramics.

The artists often use some of Michelangelo's techniques when he painted the Sistine chapel, to create the patterns on the ceramics. All the pieces are entirely hand-crafted and decorated and they are even working on a project now for Vatican city.

There are many ceramic factories around Deruta, but this one makes everything from the very beginning starting with the blocks of clay.
They are a very respected family and so very proud of their work, which is so beautiful. We just had to buy some plates to take home. I can’t wait to make my Umbrian dinner and serve it on our new plates! I will have to play an Italian opera during dinner – like Tiziana and Zoila did.

Our next stop was Assisi, best known as the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi.  It wasn't too busy the day we were there but it was very hot indeed!  We followed the winding medieval streets up to the city square, ignored for now while we searched for water to alleviate our thirst.

We had seen the work of an artist in Montepulciano..Massimo Cruciani..... and were told that he had a gallery in Assisi, so we went to the gallery and he happened to be there!  Massimo paints on glass which gives the work a very unique visual quality.  His work is so alive with colour  and is shown around the world.  He had been a photographer for many years before picking up his brushes so Dan chatted with him  for a while about photography. 

We left with a small beautiful painting that will always remind us of our trip to Italy.

It was time to head home...we were tired and hot. We had dinner and toasted to tomorrow...the market in San Gimignano and Volterra!


No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...