It’s been a huge three days, and I know most of you have an inbox on Monday morning jammed with emails, let me just tell you about my Friday. I’ll save Saturday and Sunday’s adventures for my next post.
I fear this is becoming a food blog… but then my Italian teachers assure me that the most important words to learn in Italian are how to say ‘lunch, dinner, food, pizza, pasta…’ you get the idea!
I did the most fabulous cooking course after my morning at school. Picture this: a small, modern, Italian restaurant in Piano di Sorrento (the much quieter town just next to Sorrento), 5 people sitting around a large square Carrara marble table at 3pm preparing a four course degustation set menu for the restaurant patrons who will arrive at 8pm and pay 18 euros to eat the dinner the cooking school prepares.
And so, we began by making the pasta. All hands on! Tortelloni (slightly bigger than tortellini) with spinach, smoked cheese, ricotta, parmesan and pecorino… we then peel the prawns (“di dove sono?” I ask… where are they from?, the chef replies “Argentina!”… ok…), we then flour, egg and bread crumb them, then we make the porcini mushroom sauce for the pork fillet, and then move on to the dessert – cannelloni, filled with ricotta, cream and sugar and passed through a sieve. It may seem like a relatively simple menu but this took us 5 hours to prepare before we were then seated at the table, along with the restaurant guests who had arrived by this time, and began eating the four courses. My favourite was the tortelloni. I’m not usually a big fan of this type of pasta, but having been made fresh, it was light even despite the butter sage sauce that was drizzled over it.
At 10pm, seven hours, four courses and three jugs of vino rosso della casa later, it was time to leave Mammi Camilla’s (the name of the restaurant). Before leaving, Erika and I probed the American sous-chef for a fun local wine bar where we could avoid the tourists (it’s true, I no longer consider myself to be one!), then headed out to the bar that spills out onto the steps of the church next door, and watched the Italian girls arrive in their sky high heels, tight jeans and leather jackets (sooo trendy!) and the guys in their jeans, fitted collared shirts and Ralph Lauren blazers. Two things I know for sure: I will never tire of ‘people watching’ the Italians or eating their food!