A “cooking lesson” is a banal understatement to describe our day at the farm estate near Spoleto of Gianluca Polidori. Here’s a tidbit of his invitation to an event centered on “food & territory promotion criteria based on the maintenance of a strong territorial identity”:
“The laboratory kitchen is the beating heart of a stately home of the late eighteenth century, where the farm is located. The proposal is based on the ancient agricultural and culinary traditions of Umbria: the kitchen and the museum (note: right nearby) are designed to re-create a fine atmosphere, reserved for a food-and-wine tourism.”
Jennifer (a guest in our Assisi apartment Nido Tranquillo) and I had no idea that this cooking class would start with Gianluca’s guided tours for us guests through the “museums” he has created in the family’s 18th-c olive oil mill and adjacent wine cellar:
In the adjacent wine cellar, Jennifer noted the antique wine jugs lined up above the smaller kegs and the small press used for the making of the vin santo (the sweet wine, made of grapes dried until they are almost raisins). Next to the press, a wooden box held tiny terra-cotta cups for the sipping of this “holy wine”:
…..and a table was set with local Umbrian country bonta’ (“goodness”) for an aperitivo before our cooking class. The antipasti were set out right in front of the old wooden door opening into the limonaia (sheltering about ten lemon trees in huge terra-cotta pots, perfumed lemons dangling from their branches)
Sheep’s milk ricotta from a local shepherd was a tasty highlight of our aperitivo:
Naturalmente, Gianluca offered buonissimi wines to all his guests:
I mostly took photos as everyone cooks – but had to get my hands on a sfoglia once again (nostalgia for the long-ago days when I made all our pasta…..):
Gianluca had brought glorious artichokes from Rome, carciofi romaneschi, for our tasty vegetable dish:
Outside the kitchen, we all feasted with our Umbrian bianchetto enhanced by the wines that guest Sabrina Morami had brought from her vineyards near Lake Trasimeno. As she poured the wines, Sabrina explained each one:
A perfect ending to an unforgettable day. I can only conclude with “Salute!” to each of the wonderful new friends I met – and a most sincere mille grazie to our gracious host, Gianluca Polidori.
Gianluca, I hope to be back, bringing others to share in a similar experience.
(Who’s ready to come with me?)
Click here to read about – and see – the Azienda Agricola Polidori