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San Baronto - Cooking and Beyond

ITALY | Sunday, 4 August 2013 | Views [336] | Comments [1]

July 22

A late start following a cafe across the road watching the passing parade of cyclists and the old guys on the corner.  Said goodbye to Cameron and Stacey who were off to Rome before going their separate ways.  We were transported to last nights restaurant at nearby Mungarino where we were to have our cooking class.  A light lunch of pasta and pate bruschetta and some aniseed wafers with some wine then we donned aprons and hats before the chef Salvatore demonstrated the making of the pasta for the ravioli and then the filling with the help of our Scottish interpreter Dawn.  Then into the caldo (hot) kitchen for pancake prep and cooking and then the spinach and cheese filling followed by the tomato sauce prep. Vegetable prep, seafood prep and desert prep were the other areas. We split into groups for each prep, Michelle the pasta and I went for the pannacotta. It was a great afternoon with everyone getting involved.  Then back to the hotel to clean up for the dinner of our labours.  Too much food.  The appetisers and without doubt the pannacotta got the most votes as it wash exceptionally smooth.  Too much wine, then the wonders of a home made blackberry liquor were introduced after the shuttle service back to the hotel commenced around 1115. So Andrew and I were in the last shuttle driven by Paola who also drove after the festa.

July 23

Tuesday saw Darren and Peter head off to the home of Ferrari for a tour while the rest of us went into Firenze meeting up with a friend from AUS Suzie for a walk, lunch and a little shopping.  Eric rang with news that the health of Michelle's sister Kathryn had deteriorated. We headed back up to San Baronto for the odd Campari and soda and a light dinner in the courtyard of the hotel while waiting for the Ferrari boys to return.

July 24 

We all went for our daily morning stroll to the local ristorante / bar for our morning fix of coffee (& fruit salad if available....).  Every morning the chairs outside the ristorante are occupied by a group of local gentlemen who spend their day sitting on their chairs watching the groups of bicycle riders who ride up to San Baranto. There is a very strong bicycling community here and quite a few professional teams are located in the area.  Every day you see groups of professional teams going up / down the mountain followed by their team cars.  The roads up to San Baranto from Lamporrecchio and Pistoia have recently been resurfaced and they are the best roads in the area.  The reason being is that the UCU Road World Championship (http://www.toscana2013.it/?lang=en) are being held there in September.  As one taxi driver said Italy may be broke but the government can still spend the $$$ on a road and "that is Italy!".
A relatively quiet day as no tours.  Well having said that the boys headed off to Pistoia for a supermarket fix.  Darren had some postage to send home so the rest of us waited, waited some more and after 37 minutes he returned - happy faces.  Then we couldn't find the Coop.  Stopped to look at a map and discuss our situation while also looking for a local to request help when the boom gates went down for a train.  Traffic banked up and were found our local who said it was about 500 m down to the left after the railway.  He was of course correct so we armed ourselves with little red trollies and commenced to fill them with bread, salads, award winning prosciutto , cheese, seafood, wine and Campari - Lifes staples.
That evening we dined at a local hotel ristorante which was walking distance from our accommodation and were joined by Paola and Mario (their son Paolo is married to Andrew's sister Jane).  Paola and Mario did a lot of the pre-organising for us and it was great to have them join us for dinner.




We will be traveling to Italy this June, and have rented a small villa near San Baronto. Loved reading your journal. Our wives want to take a day of Tuscan cooking classes near the villa, and my brother and I hope to rent some road bikes for a few days to do some cycling. Can you give me any tips or contact people in that area?

  Steve Mar 25, 2014 11:28 AM

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