Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Ganzo, Wine Tasting, Last "real" day of class

Wednesday June 1, 2011

Yesterday for lunch I joined Becca and Erica at the Ganzo for lunch.  The Ganzo is Florence University’s “dining hall.”  It is set up more like a restaurant.  Once you are seated you are brought a basket of bread and water!  You are also handed a sheet you are to fill out to place your order.  You can make your own salad or Panini., order their pasta of the day, or a dessert.  I chose to build my own salad, which comes with greens, 5 choices of toppings (I chose pear, cucumber, onions, grilled chicken, and walnuts), and a choice of dressing. 

The salad was amazing!!! I feel like it has been days since I have eaten a plate of veggies.  The salad was HUGE, so I think I’m set on my veggies for the remainder of the week!!

Later in the evening was the wine tasting.  We went to a place called Pozzo Divino.  When we arrived we were taken to the basement where six other people were sitting that were joining our group of nine for the tasting. The basement used to be where prisoners would hide during the Renaissance. (fun fact…)

Lacey, Me, Missy, Erica

The beginning of the tasting we ate Tuscan bread with extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany, as well as a 10 year aged Balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese.  We were explained the origin of the olive oil and vinegar, how it was prepared, and the ingredients.  

Soon we were given our first wine, which was a Tuscany Chardonnay (Serparo Leonardo Chardonnay).  We were taught to look, smell, and taste the wine. If you are able to read your watch through the white wine, then it is perfecto!! They discussed the difference between French and Italian Chardonnay in that the Italians do not have to put theirs in barrels to preserve (therefore making the Italian chardonnay way better, of course…).  The wine was excellent!!  With the wine we were served Parma Proscuitto, which is what we had learned about in class yesterday!!

Looking at my watch through the Cardonnay

The second wine was a Chianti Classico, Tuscany’s most famous wine.  The bottle was labeled DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)   meanding that the grapes and ingredients are from Tuscany and prepared in the chianti region.  Chianti Classico must be made with 80% Sangiovese grapes, and the readt can be prepared with any other fruit.  The Chianti we drank contained cherries and flavorings of the wood from the barrel, which gave off a slight peppery taste.

Chianti Classico

After discussing the Chianti we were given two different salami’s to taste. We were to leave some of the Chianti to compare with the next wine, Super Tuscan, a red wine blend.  This was my favorite.  It contained green pepper, which I would have never been able to pick out if I was not told.  It also contained vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Super Tuscan- red wine blend

Our group with Pino!

After we finished we headed over to Grom’s for Gelato and then off to Galleria dell Accademia to see the famous David.  Admission was free tonight!! We went to see David immediately.  I was in awe as to how enormous the statue was, and the details were so specific.  You could see the veins in the hands, the indentations of bones and muscle.  We sat for about 10 minutes in awe of this gorgeous statue, reading from Audrey’s Rick Steves book!

After Erica and I decided to ride the carousel in Piazza De Repubblica.  We had been wanting to ride it since the day we arrived in Florence.  We were please to have crossed off 4 things on our list of things to do
1. Eat and The Ganzo
2. Wine Tasting
3. The David
4. Carousel

Today was our last true class before we take our final on Friday.  Tomorrow is an Italian National Holiday.  (June 2nd marks the day in 1946 when Italy voted in a referendum to abolish the monarchy and become a republic). 

We cooked Pannacotta and Veal Marsala today!! Erica and Liz worked on the pannacotta while I worked on the veal.  I had to remove the fat on the veal and then pound the veal to about ½ centimeter thick, which helps to make the veal tender.  Next I dredged it in flour and fried in a little butter and olive oil until medium rare, which is the typical way Italians cook the veal.  After the veal was cooked I added the marsala wine and 1 ladle of vegetable stock we made with water, celery, onion, and carrot.  The sauce had to reduce to half and then I added butter at the end to make the sauce creamy!  When Chef Tammaso acme to taste, it was the first time he did not tell us to put in more salt!!

The pannacatta was amazing!! It was easy to make, as well.  It is made up of  equal parts milk and heavy cream, as well as sugar, gelatin, and a vanilla bean.  These ingredients are heated in a sauce pan and then put in small tin serving dishes to be refridgerated.  Different sauces are usually put on the pannacotta.  In the winter chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffle are most often used.  In the summer fruit sauces are used.  Today we made a red wine reduction made with chiatni red wine, sugar, and 1 cinammon stick, reduced to half.  The sauce turned out beautifully!

It is raining right now L hopefully it will clear up so I can roam the town before a fabulous dinner at Aqua al 2 tonight for some blueberry steak and celebrating Liz’s (belated) birthday!!


Molly Jean!

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