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Sunday, August 17, 2014

TUSCAN COOKING CLASS - TREVINANO, ITALY

TUSCAN COOKING CLASS
LA PAROLINA RISTORANTE
TUSCANY, ITALY 

 Upon check in at our hotel in Tuscany (Fonteverde), we asked the concierge if she could book us into a cooking class during our stay.  She said to give her some time and she would call our room if there was something available.  We got the call and were told to be at the front desk at 10:00 am the next day.  A driver was waiting and he drove down the winding Tuscan roads for about fifteen minutes before he turned on to what looked like a residential street in the middle of nowhere.  The houses were very nice and the views of the Tuscan valley were beautiful.  He parked in front of a home that had a small sign that read La Parolina Ristorante.  There was a nice patio on the right side with seating and views.  We entered La Parolina not knowing what to expect.  We were greeted by a young man who asked us to wait a bit for the chef.  I walked outside and enjoyed the view and then re-entered to find a smiling chef in a white jacket.  Her name was Di Iside e Ramano.  A charming and cute little chef I thought.  Chef Di Iside walked us into the kitchen where 3 to 4 cooks were busy prepping for the days service.  The kitchen was immaculate and appeared to be the kind of place a chef dreams of.  Great lighting, equipment, air conditioning and space to work.  Chef asked us if we wanted something to drink and mentioned a few things.  When champagne came up I said "sure" and happily consumed the bubbly liquid while we cooked.  We had no idea of what we would be cooking or that Di Iside was a well known chef with award winning talents.  When she told us that her restaurant had earned a Michelin Star I about dropped my champagne glass.  WTF I thought to myself.  Her we are cooking with a Michelin Star Chef in her personal kitchen.  It was the things a foodies dreams are made of.  Something unexpected and oh so perfect.  I was in awe now.  Living and enjoying every second of this experience.  Chef started us out making fresh pasta.  Simply flour, water, eggs and olive oil.  Seems so easy but it is an art to make the right dough with consistency and texture.  My wife did the mixing and we all pitched in to roll the dough into long thin pieces of pasta.
The pasta cooked up in seconds and really tasted good.  I began cubing day old bread for a traditional Tuscan Salad.  The bread was hard and took some hand work to cut through.  After cubing the Chef placed the bread in the oven to cook.  My daughter was busy cutting vegetables for the salad while my wife moved on to making pasta sauces.  I was given the task of cutting a filet of beef into tiny squares for a Beef Tartar dish.  I did this flawlessly (smile).  We asked Chef Di Iside if we could learn a few pasta sauces.  She asked which ones and we said Tomato, Carbonara and Cacio Pepe.  We had had all of these sauces during our visit to Rome and had really taking a liking to them.  Without hesitation the Chef began pulling out ingredients and asking that we prep.  She showed us the three sauces and we were able to enjoy a taste of each right there in the kitchen.  We finished up the Beef Tartar and Tuscan Salad along with a Chocolate desert with strawberries.  All looked great in the kitchen.  The Chef then asked us to take a walk next door to visit her rental property where we could possibly stay on another visit to Tuscany.  The two bedroom apartment was adjacent to the restaurant and dreams of staying here and cooking at La Parolina rushed through my head.  This was a cute little apartment that was clean, cozy and attached to a Michelin Star restaurant.  And don't forget the view. Simply beautiful from both rooms.  We strolled back to La Parolina and passed the Chefs herb garden right in front of the restaurant.  This is cooking to me.  Fresh and local ingredients grown on the property.  We went back into La Parolina and were seated at a table.  A nice glass of wine arrived and some fresh breads.  The breads were amazing.  Not only beautiful to look at but incredibly tasty.  I had one piece that had potato baked into the middle of it.  Wow...this was the bomb of breads.  Next came the food that we had spent the afternoon prepping and cooking.  First we enjoyed the Beef Tartar with the Tuscan Salad.  Have to admit this was delicious.  Next was the fresh homemade pasta with tomato sauce.  Light and fresh.  So simple and so perfect.  Delicious!  The restaurant staff used the remaining meat that was not cubed for the salad and made a great Filet of Beef with Zucchini.
Again simple preparation of quality ingredients and delicious.  We were all blown away by the desert we helped create in the kitchen.  A warm chocolate cake that oozed with chocolate.  Still can't figure out how the caked cooked all around and the center stayed gooey.  It was chocolate perfection.  Wow...what a great meal and we helped cook it.  This was a day that the entire family did not want to end.  We liked Chef Di Iside and her food so much we asked to make a reservation that same night for dinner.  After a few hours back the hotel we returned to La Parolina for dinner and enjoyed one of the best dinner of our entire lives.  That blog is next.  Cannot say enough good things about Chef Di Iside or La Parolina and our experience cooking here.  Truly and dream of a lifetime come true for me.  The cost of this class was a bargain when you look at the food we enjoyed and the hours that we spent with a Michelin Star Chef.  I would do this ten times over if I had the chance.

COOKING CLASS WITH CHEF DI ISIDE OF LA PAROLINA
LA PAROLINA IS LOCATED IN A RESIDENTIAL AREA HIGH IN THE TUSCAN HILLS
LA PAROLINA LOOKS LIKE A SMALL HOUSE
ENTRANCE TO LA PAROLINA
OUTDOOR SEATING WITH GREAT VIEWS
SEATING AREA WITH CANOPIES
LOVE THE VIEWS OF TUSCANY FROM LA PAROLINA
ENTRANCE TO LA PAROLIINA
SMALL WAITING AREA IN FRONT OF MAIN DINING ROOM
MAIN DINING ROOM 
BRIGHT, CLEAN AND ELEGANT
LIKE DINING IN A TUSCAN FARMHOUSE
TABLE SETTING AT LA PAROLINA
CHEF DI ISIDE PHOTO IN THE DINING ROOM.  THINK SHE LIKES CATS TOO
VIEW OF TUSCANY FROM LA PAROLINA
INCREDIBLE CLEAN AND MODERN KITCHEN
FIRST CLASS OPERATION IN THIS KITCHEN
WHAT A KITCHEN!
A LITTLE COOKING AND A LITTLE CHAMPAGNE FOR THIS CHEF
INGREDIENTS FOR FRESH PASTA
MIX UP THE DRY INGREDIENTS AND ADD EGG AND WATER
MAKING FRESH PASTA AT LA PAROLINA
GOTTA GET THE DOUGH JUST RIGHT
CHEF DI ISIDE SHOWS US HOW TO MAKE SPAGHETTI PASTA
EVERYONE STARTING ROLLING THE PASTA DOUGH
I GOT THE HANG OF IT AND WAS ROLLING PASTA ON THE STAINLESS STEEL
WE ROLLED OUT A PAN FULL OF FRESH PASTA
FRESH PASTA COOKED IN SECONDS NOT MINUTES
ROASTED TOMATO, BASIL, RED PEPPERS AND GARLIC
PANCETTA CUBED FOR THE CARBONARA SAUCE
A LITTLE PASTA WATER ADDED TO PANCETTA FOR THE CARBONARA
A FEW THINGS GOING ON AT ONCE HERE
CHEF SHOWS US THE WAY TO MAKE PASTA SAUCE
FRESH PASTA ADDED TO THE PANCETTA AND PASTA WATER
A LITTLE FRESH CRACKED PEPPER

CARBONARA IS NOW READY FOR THE EGG
CHEF USED A DOUBLE BOILER TO HEAT THE EGG AND WHISKED.
THIS WENT DOWN ON THE PLATE BEFORE SHE ADDED THE PASTA AND PANCETTA
PASTA ADDD TO EGG AND MIXED
PERFECT PASTA CARBONARA
ROASTED TOMATOES, BASIL, GARLIC AND OLIVE OIL
A PINCH OF SALT
FRESH PASTA WITH TOMATO SAUCE
MAKING CACIO PEPE PASTA
SIMPLY PARMESAN AND PECORINO CHEESE WITH PEPPER
CACIO PEPE PASTA IS AWESOME!
A FEW INGREDIENTS FOR THE BEEF TARTAR WITH TUSCAN SALAD
FILET OF BEEF
I HAD TO CUT MOST OF THIS FILET INTO SMALL CUBES FOR THE BEEF TARTAR
RAW BEEF CUT INTO SMALL CUBES
CHEF PULLS OUT THE MOLD FOR THIS ONE
TUSCAN SALAD ON BOTTOM AND BEEF ON TOP
NOT A BAD LOOKING DISH WE MADE
CHEF DI ISIDE SHOWS OFF OUR CREATION
DAYS OLD BREAD WAS HARD AS A ROCK
PREPPING THE VEGETABLES
EVERYONE WAS CUTTING SOMETHING
TWO GREAT CHEFS IN A MICHELIN STAR RESTAURANT
TUSCAN SALAD FRESH INGREDIENTS GO INTO A BOWL
COOKED OLD BREAD IS ADDED
CHOCOLATE AND BUTTER MELTED
MAKING A CHOCOLATE CAKE 
FINAL PRODUCT WAS AMAZING!
TOOK A BREAK FROM THE KITCHEN TO VIEW THE CHEFS RENTAL PROPERTY NEXT TO THE RESTAURANT
TWO BEDROOMS IN TUSCANY ATTACHED TO WORLD CLASS RESTAURANT AND CHEF
CHEF WITH HER SON
THE GUEST COTTAGE HAS BEAUTIFUL VIEWS
HERB GARDEN AT LA PAROLINA
DOES NOT GET FRESHER THAN THIS.  RIGHT FROM YOUR OWN YARD
THE BREADS AT LA PAROLINA ARE AMAZING
WARM BREAD WITH POTATO IN THE MIDDLE.  OH..SO GOOD!
TO THINK WE CREATED THIS DISH IN THE KITCHEN TODAY
OUR FRESH PASTA WITH TOMATO SAUCE WAS DELICIOUS
WISH I COULD RECREATE THIS AT HOME NOW
FILET OF BEEF WITH ZUCCHINI
THE CHOCOLATE CAKE WAS INCREDIBLE
THE CHOCOLATE OOZED OUT FROM THE CAKE
CHEF DI ISIDE COOKIES AND CHOCOLATES
SO HAPPY WITH OUR DAY WITH CHEF DI ISIDE AT LA PAROLINA
CHEF DI ISIDE AND ME....MAHALO FOR A GREAT DAY CHEF.  LOVE IT!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Well, I would love to take TUSCAN COOKING CLASS! Can you share some Tuscan food cooking tips online for me? Wow, the pictures you shared here for dining area are amazing and I would love to visit there to have some yummy food.

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