Saturday, July 17, 2010

Italy Trip Day 12 - Cooking Class

We had a lazy morning, then went back to La Porta in Monticchiello for lunch. This time we had the crostini misti (simple, but tasty, and it's amazing how consistently great the liver pate is in Tuscany, we were becoming addicted) and then the same two pastas we had before (I know, we are boring), and another 500ml of house red.

We got back to La Bandita and hung out on our patio until 4pm, when we had scheduled our cooking class with David. He was cooking fish that night, but because there were a big 16 of us for dinner, he had done a lot of the prep before we got there (for which he apologized profusely, normally preferring to allow his students to jump in and help more). He showed us how to filet a flounder and a red mullet (he makes it look SO easy!), then we got to work on making a flourless chocolate cake and chopping some of the veggies for dinner. A race between Steve and David shelling fava beans was over well before it started, Steve never had a chance. David is very funny and charismatic, and the cooking class went by way too fast. (Though David, if you ever read this, we're still waiting for those recipes you said you'd send us!) :-)

After enjoying the meats, cheeses and prosecco, we sat down to what turned out to be my favorite meal at La Bandita. We started with a scallop in the shell on top of creamed leeks (the best dish of the entire trip), a roasted sea truffle (it looked like a clam and was very good, pictured on right), the light and delicious filet of flounder with peas, and red mullet with potatoes, the second best dish of the night. The chocolate cake we made was also very tasty. We drank our second bottle of Gattavecchi with this dinner. After dinner, we hung out again for hours, talking with the other guests. This night we met a couple who live in our town back home in L.A., and we became fast friends. We've hung out with them since returning home, and have another evening on the books. Not sure if we would have had the experience of getting to know our fellow travelers so well if we had been staying at any other place.

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