Authored by Kendall College student Kim Haines
Well today Dean Zonka woke up with prosciutto abound in her room and we don’t know why. Party in Dean Zonka’s room! I just lost three credit hours for that one. You’re welcome. The day started off in uniform at the Universita Dei Sapori in Perugia to learn about the production of pasta. It began with a lecture: Pasta 101. The Italian diet is based on carbohydrates, where as our diet is based on protein or sugar and fat.
Next we were introduced to Chef Fabrizzio and Chef Stefano; real Italian men with real Italian pasta. They separated us into two groups to learn how to make ravioli and tagliatelle pasta with a meat ragu and fish sauce.
To make the ravioli, we had to make four different flavored doughs consisting of saffron, tomato paste, squid ink, and spinach. The doughs were these dazzling colors of yellow, red, black and green.
We kneaded the doughs, rolled them out, and combined them into layers. We also kneaded the dough for the tagliatelle and made it using the pasta machines.
We filled the raviolis with a salmon ricotta filling. If you can remember correctly, from my previous blog, ricotta is NOT a cheese.
The raviolis were served with the fish sauce and the tagliatelle was served with the meat ragu.
We presented this lunch to ourselves and other members of the university. We’re official now. We have the Italian diploma to prove it. Does that translate in the U.S.? Thank you Chef Fabrizzio and Stefano, you really touched our hearts, ti amo.
After lunch, we changed and walked out to the bus. Enter Marco. Marco has been with us since the beginning. Without him, we would not get anywhere as he is our bus driver. We have a different bus every day as each bus is smaller then the day before. Tomorrow, Marco may be picking up all twenty something of us in a four-person taxi cab. Grazie, Marco?
Marco must have had too much vino at lunch today, because he took off down the drive way without Sharim, myself, the Dean, and Chef Altieri. I proceeded to chase after him screaming newly learned Italian words.
We arrived at the olive groves and learned how very different the value of olive oil is from wine. We are used to olive oil tasting more like fat rather than the olives. This is not the best quality, but we may think it is. People are accustomed to paying more for better quality wine, but do not seem to care about the quality of olive oil.
Olive oil is aromatic and pungent. If it is of good quality, you do not need any kind of seasoning or salt. We tasted the olive oil by warming the cup of it in our hands, placing it in our mouths and then tasting the change of flavors. The taste of olive oil transitions from strong to bitter to nutty (like almonds) in a matter of thirty seconds. Can I swallow now?
If you go to an Italian restaurant in the states, you may be served olive oil with bread and parmesan cheese. For the olive oil tasting, we were served the olive oil with slices of bread. With this particular Italian olive oil, you do not need the parmesan cheese additive. It is perfecto by itself. It is fresh and savory. You do not taste only the fat; you taste the olives as well.
After the visit to the olive grove, we got back onto the bus only to realize that Marco had allowed a mosquito farm to form. Mamma Mia, Marco! We returned to the hotel to be presented with a pizza making dinner experience. The Universita and the dean of such came to teach us how to make and assemble real italian pizza! Is your mouth watering?
We also discovered that we are not the only guests at the hotel. I am starting to rethink this whole Italian man thing…maybe I should just stick with American men.
All in all, the day was bellissima full of fond memories and new friends. We go to Tuscany in a few days, so we will be savoring the last few moments here in Perugia. We continue to take you with us through every knead, every taste, and every bubble of mozzarella cheese. We miss you all dearly and we hold you close to our hearts through this once in a lifetime journey.
Wish you were here,