Saturday, 11 August 2012

Florence, Italy: Pizza and Gelato Making Masterclass

Kate: In late spring this year Chelsie and I visited the beautiful city of Florence, in the Italian region of Tuscany. Florence has an incredibly rich history, with its most prominent mark taking place in medieval Europe. The city is widely accredited as the birth place of the Renaissance, and even in the present day the architecture and art that became synoptic with this era is proudly embedded everywhere in the city.

As you walk along Florence's bustling streets, you will be in constant amazement at the sights you are beholding but that doesn't mean your other senses are safe from being captivated by the city. Being that you are in Italy, food is an integral part of the lifestyle and the mouthwatering aroma coming from the pizza stores not to mention the beautifully presented gelato (ice cream) is too good to resist! Chelsie and I are both avid fans of pizza and gelato, and seeing as we were in the home of both it seemed a fun and great idea to attend a masterclass so we could finally recreate them authentically.

Chelsie: Feeling terribly excited we met up with our fellow masterclass members in the centre of the city. The masterclass is held in a private workshop, which is spacious, clean and most importantly has a large marble table for pizza creating. Every member of the masterclass was given a little booklet listing the recipes and a step by step guide, an apron to borrow, and complementary water as our pizzaiolo (pizza chef) proceeded to demonstrate and describe to us the secrets of creating Italian pizza.

After our demonstration we were split into smaller groups, and allowed to create our very own pizza from scratch. The intimacy of the groups, allowed a great atmosphere amongst the masterclass as we really got to know one another, and exchange stories of our travels. The first stage of the pizza making involved creating the dough, before you can begin to stretch it out and create a wafer thin base. I did find this stage rather tricky, but our pizzaiolo and assistant were always close to hand to aid us or offer valuable insight during the process. 

Kate: When we had our bases made, we could decide the all important toppings! The masterclass provided us with copious amounts of fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato sauce and other toppings which was a really nice touch. On completion of our pizza, we then headed to the traditional Italian oven to bake them! I really enjoyed, how throughout the pizza making the whole masterclass mingled, meaning we all got to try each others creations and comment accordingly. In total we made two pizza's each, the first pizza I made was Calzone (which is a folder pizza) and the second salami adorned.

The final stage of the masterclass entailed gelato creating! This stage due to the nature of gelato creation was not as interactive as the pizza making, however this part was extremely informative as we were educated in the history of gelato making, the development of different flavours, and the heating and freezing techniques employed to ensure the taste of your gelato. On this occasion we were given delicious rich, smooth chocolate ice cream to enjoy alongside a glass of Italian red or white wine. At the end of the class we were all presented with a named certificate for successfully completing the course.

Chelsie and I really enjoyed our masterclass, and we would strong recommend this for anybody that loves to cook, and embrace the Italian culture. The class is fun, achievable and a great experience for all those taking part. The best part? Tucking into a delicious pizza, made all by yourself! 

The activity Includes:
- Pizza and gelato lesson with a famous local chef
- Use of apron and cooking utensils
- All ingredients for pizza and gelato making
- Dinner with wine tastings (soft drinks for children)
- Graduation certificate

Duration: 3 hours
 Monday Wednesday Friday at 18:00

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