When we think of Italian Cuisine, we think of pastas, pizzas, stews and soups. These popular dishes originated from Italy, and are considered their staples. It is also through my stay in Florence that I found out more on the origins of the Italian’s hearty meat heavy one dish meals, and other staples such as pastas, pizzas, sausages and love for salamis. It is all part of their history.
Pastas and pizzas are really popular dishes here in Singapore, and they provide a good alternative to our daily staple of rice meals. Therefore, When I visited Florence back in 2014, I knew I wanted to join a ‘food tour + cooking’ journey for a day. I mean Florence is after all the capital of Tuscany, which is known for its wines, cuisine and fashion, and it would be a pity to not immense myself in their food culture.
We signed up with the Food and Wine Academy of Florence for a half-day ‘Wanna be Italiano: Italian Cooking Class’, which included a trip to their wet market.
It is similar to the wet markets in Singapore, other than the much cooler weather in Florence. We did not spot any fish stalls in the market (or I probably missed it), but I did notice the wide range of cured Italian meat available, a wide variety of sausages, and offals sold in their wet market.
When we got back to the kitchen with our instructor (really friendly Italian guy where we spoke about house prices in Italy and Singapore, and politics, other than food), we started to mince, dice and make our meals for lunch. That is also when I found out why Italians are such meat lovers.
According to our instructor, Italy isn’t a particularly wealthy country. Their food choices are usually easily available ingredients such as offals, sausages (mash of offals and other meat cuts), and one-dish meal consisting of vegetables or chunks of meat. The much loved pastas and pizzas are heavy on carbohydrate and meat to keep them filled, while minestrone is the classic example of a one dish meal.
Another discovery was when we started to make Tiramisu. We found out that classic tiramisu from Italy is alcohol-free. Nope, there is no alcohol in Tiramisu, just really strong coffee!
Wow. It was a really insightful afternoon and we really appreciated the bits of information. It was nice to bond over great conversations, food that we bought from the wet market, made, and eventually ate.
When we were done, we departed Florence City for Chianti. You can view more photos of the beautiful wine region Chianti here!