Blogs: Suzanne Lesher

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Our second day in Italy started with a light hotel breakfast and a trip to a local vineyard. Fattoria Selvapiana is absolutely beautiful. Our guide, Frederico Giuntini Masseti, is one of the owners of the vineyard and walked us through the fermentation process of the fruit to the wine. We were able to see the wine cellar and learn about the ageing process of the wine and how every detail matters. From the temperature in the room to the age of the cork in the bottle, anything can affect the taste of the wine they sell. He also talked about how the changing weather and natural climate is affecting the picking seasons for the fruit. In response to crisis management, they have to be in the vineyard treating the plants and making sure any weather change won't have too much of an impact on the fermentation of the fruit.

After a light tasting and lesson on how to taste and appreciate the flavors that make up the wine, we spent some time snapping photos of the scenery and taking in the view.

When we got back to the city, we had some free time before our exciting dinner plans. During the free time, we were able to explore Florence and experience the culture. Since it is a Saturday, there was a bazaar in the street full of venders, artists, tourists, and locals. It reminded me of Rices Flea Market back home, including the excitement that came with bargaining for the lowest price!

We met back at the bus around 5:15 and drove to the Giglio Cooking School in Florence for a group cooking lesson of authentic Italian cuisine. Our instructor, Michella, was fantastic. She owned and operated the business and was telling us how much she enjoyed her work as an entrepreneur and loved sharing her knowledge of cooking with others.

Our menu was complete with handmade pasta noodles, wild boar stew, steak filet, sauteed mushrooms, and topped off with a light chocolate cake with fresh strawberry topping. Everything we made was from scratch and so fresh, I was thrilled to be able to have this experience. Michella also gave us copies of the recipes, so I will be sure to be making these recipes when I get back to the states.

The cooking class ended around 9:30. From there, we loaded onto the bus and drove to our next hotel. We didn't arrive until a bit after midnight, but we were excited to be in another city for a night.