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Riding Through Umbria
By Linda Bernheim - (contact)

Day 6: Layover Assisi: Linda goes to Cooking School

Tuesday June 1, 2010

Today is my much-anticipated cooking class at "In Campagna" (www.incampagna.com). Right after breakfast I walked down to the bus terminal, and caught the 8:46 am bus to the nearby town of Santa Maria degli Angeli. The bus left a few minutes early for the quick 10 minute ride down to the town in the valley. My first goal there was finding the Angelucci Cicli bicycle shop to look for replacement gloves. I easily found the correct street, but walked and walked and didn't see the shop until fairly far out. The nice young man there showed me his modest selection of bicycle gloves - very large men's gloves, and rather small children's gloves. After trying them all on, I chose a pair of bright red ones in the child's size decorated with a seal balancing a ball on his nose. I wonder if anyone will notice these in the days to come!

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My fancy new gloves


Still having plenty of time I went into Santa Chiara to visit the Porziuncola, the tiny church-inside-a-church which dates from before 1000 AD. We were here two days ago, but it's nice to visit again in a more leisurely fashion. Lots of groups of priests and nuns here to see the chuch, too.

Next to the food shop, Terra Umbra, on the main street where the cooking class members are to meet our teacher at 10 am. Letizia gave an interesting talk about local food products, including truffles, olive oils, and balsamic vinegars as we were treated to a sampling. We learned about the olive oil certification system. This was followed by a sampling of meats, including proscuitto, wild boar and sausage, then bits of bread wth olive and truffle spread. Oh, and don't forget the cheese! The proscuitto here especially amazes me - it's so much more flavorful than what we can buy at home! It's hard to leave room for the food we'll cook this afternoon.

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Linda on the lovely terrace of "In Campagna"

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Outdoors at "In Campagna"

On by car to Letizia's agriturismo/cooking school. We seven students got to know each other over wine on the lovely terrace looking down at Assisi, while our teacher prepared the kitchen for us. We made panna cotta, two kinds of pasta (strangozzi, which has much less egg) and egg fettucine. Most interesting to me was that NO salt and NO water were added to the dough for the fettucine. Lots of laughing while those unfamiliar with a pasta machine quickly learned the techniques. Lightly battered sage leaves and squash blossoms were sauteed for our appetizer platter, joining the meats and cheese we voted best down at Terra Umbra. Appetizers consumed with more wine, again out on the terrace on this wonderful sunny day.

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Letizia explaining the finer points of pasta making

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Hard at work in the kitchen

Then, time to finish the sauces, and cook the pasta for just one minute. When Letizia said she would use 2 tablespoons of salt in the big pot of water, I was surprised to see her use a giant wooden cooking spoon twice. More like a fourth of a cup of salt, I think! This makes up for the salt-less dough, and didn't taste salty at all. We have a simple lemon-butter sauce, and a red wine and dried mushroom sauce, both delicious. Then our panna cotta for dessert. Those of us without a car took a taxi back to town to end a wonderful day.

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Enjoying the fruits of our labor on the terrace overlooking Assisi

Bill had nearly given up hope of my return, though I'd warned him the "half day" class might extend well through the afternoon. I recall it was around six o'clock when I got back. His day had been happily spent walking every corner of Assisi, and revisiting the Basilica.


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"Riding Through Umbria" Copyright © 2010-2014 By Linda Bernheim - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on March 14, 2010 20:52 PDT, last updated on May 20, 2014 17:58 PDT
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