Hi! It has been forever since I’ve posted anything, figuratively speaking.
I became wildly jet lagged upon my return home to California at the end of April, and took my time recovering. Adjusting to life back at home is odd. It’s weird to feel out-of-place in your regular house and miss a city in a foreign country across the Atlantic. Of course the perks of coming home were getting to see my family, pet my dog Leonard again, and spend real-life time with my boyfriend again. Surprisingly, I got to work my entire summer job alongside one of my study abroad buddies, Olivia 🙂
Even though I’ve adjusted now, I still miss Italy. Florence was a new and exciting home, a new life. A mysterious and romantic existence of late night walks in a shining city. Rain on a misty river, and sunshine on a hundred rooftops. A life I got to share with a new group of friends, who pretty much became my family there. I miss tea with Talita and Katerina. I miss baking with Jen. I miss Chanie’s voice — her laughter and shouts of amusement. I miss the isolation which allowed me to meet myself for the first time, away from the clamour of my regular Californian life.
Without my family, I met myself, and realised my strengths and weaknesses. It’s been so long since I’ve written anything. After being nudged to finish this lovely blog by my mom all summer, here I suddenly find myself sitting and typing. I realise I never really said good-bye to Florence.
But that city will always be there, waiting for me. What I’ll miss most is the special time I had there studying abroad. My Italian shopkeeper and restaurant friends, my late night walks around the city. Risotto for dinner with my girl friends. The gluten-free cinnamon rolls Jen made me. The good friends I discovered in the most unexpected people. I cherish the time I had in Florence, and I could go on and on, and get really sappy, so I’ll stop now.
Florence, I love you, and thank you for helping me grow up and remember how to love life. I pasted a quote I like onto my face below 🙂 Arrivederci! -F
I’ve been wildly busy; my days are filled with schoolwork, friends, food, some sleep, skyping my mom and boyfriend, photography and blogging, weekend trips, and Florence. I’ve finished blogging about Rome! I have Switzerland left, Vinci, Bologna and Prague, as well as the second soccer game, San Gimignano and Siena. I pour my heart and hours of time into my blog, which is why the posts are flowing s l o w and steady.
I requested gluten-free adjustments from AIFS before this cooking class — I had a great gluten-free meal! So happy!
My classmates with one of the chefs (the guy on the very right).
My Nor-Cal people: (L-R) Katerina S., Elizabeth M., Kaitlin J., Cameron F., and that one chef-guy. On the left are some of the So-Cal girls also studying abroad with AIFS.
Preparing the eggplant Caprese salad ingredients.
Mixing the gluten-free gnocchi at my table.
Then rolling them out into strips and chopping them up into little pieces!
Fun fact: the gluten-free gnocchi won’t stick to each other like the regular pieces will.
Our instructor Francesco instructing.
The gluten-free gnocchi and eggplant Caprese at my table!!
Elizabeth M. and Cameron F.’s hand trying to ruin her gnocchi-modelling.
Potato Gnocchi in Sugo al’Aglione (Tomato & Garlic Pasta Sauce).
Francesco demonstrating how to roll up the chocolatey dessert mix that is called “Sweet ‘Salami’.”
(It’s made of sugar, egg yolks, butter, bitter cocoa powder, sweet liquor, and crumbled cookies. They substituted the cookies for gluten-free ones!).
It’s wrapped up in foil, and its shape resembled a piece of salami. It is typically frozen for about 2 hours (but in the restaurant’s super-powerful freezer it only took 20 minutes).
My gluten-free “Sweet Salami” !!
It tasted really good! I had Elizabeth M. taste-test the difference between my gluten-free sweet salami and the regular one — mine tasted chocolatier and she liked it better.
The brave, gluten-free-Italian-cooking AIFS classmates at my table, including Katelyn C., Katie G., Carly B., Jackie P., and Ayla B.
Kaitlin J., Katerina S. and Elizabeth M., my dinner buddies!
I really like the AIFS cooking classes, and the efforts the restaurant (In Tavola) made to adjust to my food-needs was really awesome. I had a great, gluten-free vegetarian dinner with my AIFS people.
The restaurant did remarkably well tolerating me poking into every group to snap pictures and following Francesco about to listen to his instructions to other groups. We ate dinner below the restaurant like last time (see the previous Italian cooking class post here). We even all received little recipe menus afterward, just like last time 🙂
It’s a fun experience — I definitely recommend taking an Italian cooking class, especially through AIFS! Just let AIFS/your program know before-hand if you have any dietary-restrictions 🙂
Tips for Italian cooking classes:
Definitely take one!
Don’t wear black/clothes you’re worried about getting dirty. It’s unlikely, but it could happen.
Don’t walk home alone afterward if it ends late in the evening!!! Have someone walk you. I walked with some AIFS girls that live near my house this time.
Bring a jacket for when it gets cold on the way home.
I signed up to take the Italian cooking class offered through my study abroad program, AIFS!
Ponte Vecchio = Old Bridge.
We met on the Ponte Vecchio and were led to the kitchen of the restaurant “In Tavola” across the bridge by an AIFS staff member. I let AIFS know before hand that I’m gluten free so that they could inform the restaurant and make adjustments for me.
We entered the kitchen through a back street, put on plastic aprons, and right after that the lead chef yelled out “who is my gluten-free?!” I yelled back “me!” and immediately got put in charge of stirring panna cotta on the stove top.
Ravioli di spinaci e ricotta (Spinach and ricotta ravioli).
Sformato di verdure (An artichoke soufflé).
Panna Cotta (A cold, Italian custard).
A group of my classmates blending the sformato.
Mikaela and I in our awesome plastic aprons.
My team making the (spinach) ravioli filling.
The teacher/chef demonstrating how to make the ravioli pasta.
We got to use a pasta machine!
We learned how to shape raviolis too! (These are not gluten free)
Since the sformato contained some gluten, the teacher/chef made me an artichoke appetizer.
Sformato di verdure!
After we finished cooking, we were led downstairs to a room of the restaurant where we got to eat the dinner we had made together 🙂
Ravioli di spinaci e ricotta!
The teacher/chef made me my own (huge) bowl of gluten free pasta with tomato sauce — it was really good.
Dinner in a cool, underground room!
And finally.. Panna cotta for dessert! There is some strawberry sauce poured on top (just strawberries and sugar blended into smithereens). I’m a panna cotta fan so I enjoyed myself!
At the end we were given a little booklet with all the recipes we’d made that day.
Tips for Italian cooking classes:
Sign up for one!
Don’t wear black — the flour can go everywhere.
If you don’t get a booklet of recipes, write everything down!
If your class ends in the evening, make sure someone walks you home! A classmate walked me home and it was great to not walk back in the dark alone!