We walked along narrow, crooked alley-ways, far from regular tourist paths of central Florence, scanning numbers above well worn, often ancient doors. Workshops with carpenters working on religious statues destined for alters, artists focussing on the canvas in front of them in paint splattered studios, and cafes packed with locals passing the time of day over tiny cups of coffee , bread and games of dominos . Finally, we found ‘In Tavola’, the professional cooking school we were to spend the afternoon in . My daughter and I introduced ourselves to Fabrezio, the owner and chef of the school, and his assistant. He asked us to come through to the kitchen so we could get started. I asked if we should wait for the rest of the class – he quickly answered that we were the only ones in the class. So for fifty-five Euros , the equivalent of approximately seventy dollars, (depending on the day), we had a professional chef and his assistant for 3 hours …..absolute bliss!
The afternoon went quickly, and was filled with creating and cooking, as Fabrezio instructed us on each step of the typical Italian lunch we would later devour. We learned how to bone a whole chicken, make gnocchi from scratch , which started with boiling potatoes, two different types of tomato sauce, a fabulously tasty chicken dish, and the grand finale which was the most delicious and simplest tiramisu I have ever made or tasted.
Just when we were feeling tired, and ravenous , Fabrezio plunked a local bottle of red wine on a table set for the two of us, set out two platters of gnocchi, one with each tomato sauce, and a fresh loaf of bread. We dug in, trying not to eat too much, as we knew that we had the chicken dish and dessert as well. The gnocchi was the lightest and best tasting ever, and each sauce was deliciously divine. The chicken dish is one I have made several times since, and I cannot remember how many times since I have made the tiramisu , every time to rave reviews.
Even though we saw the original Michelangelo and all other Florence must-see destinations, our cooking class stands out as the highlight of my trip.