I posted a picture of schiacciata all’ uva on my Facebook page the other day and realized how GORGEOUS this focaccia is so, time to share on my blog and tie it to a great memory of a cooking school in Tuscany.
It was a gift from the hubby on my 40th birthday, a 4-day cooking school in Tuscany. After all I needed something to sustain the blow of going into the 4 decade of life!
We booked the adventure for the fall of the following year, this is my favorite time to travel to Europe or anywhere for that matter, and the class existed of us and my dad. It was PERFECT and Elena was the quintessential master chef!
Each day encompassed the lesson of a 4-course Italian extravaganza, all inclusive of eating our delicious preparations accompanied by the wine made at the farm. Good thing the wine flowed with lunch and not before as I doubt any of us would have made it through the instruction of course 1 much less course 4!
It was simply one of the BEST experiences of my life! Elena would reel off instructions in Italian, forgetting I was the only one who understood her, and when the boys stood with a blank stare her response was “beh….VAI”! She didn’t understand why they weren’t jumping to her command so I would quickly “shoo” them away with the instructions she spoke and a smile would make its way to Elena’s face; I knew it was part of the entire package.
As we learned, prepped, and cooked, Elena would explain all the reasons for the dishes, the history, the ingredients, and occasion. Each one had a special cooking vessel and serving dish/platter, all which were handed down to her from those who passed on the secrets…..it was magnificent.
Day 3 of the venture was no different than the first except that the dessert we prepared became a fast favorite of mine, the schiacciata all’uva. Not only was it delicious but also it was balanced so perfectly between savory with a dash of sweet and served with a beautiful Vin Santo dessert wine. This is one of the many reasons I love Italian food, the desserts are balanced and NOT sweet which leaves me so satisfied.
The schiacciata all’uva was made with grapes from the farm vineyard but throughout the year, could be substituted with blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, whatever you like but since I am in love with the traditional version, I freeze grapes from my sister’s vines and enjoy all year long.
So here’s to the memory of Elena, the 4-day cooking school, and the birthing of the 4th decade of my life…. —Eatentions