Recently, I was scrolling through my phone and came across some photos and videos from an activity I booked a few days before departing from Florence. Now, I must say this was by far one of the best activities I did while there. Of course, I am somewhat biased since I am obsessed with all things culinary, but even the other participant couldn’t stop commenting on how amazing a time they were having.
In case you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m referring to a cooking class, but this wasn’t just a regular cooking class. I mean, we were practically preparing a farm-to-table meal (I’ll share more about this, little later on).
The booking process was seamless – I was referred to them by someone showing me their apartment for rent. A quick exchange of contact information and boom – I began making arrangements with Chef Giorgio Pinto of Florence Food Studio to join his “Botteghe Shopping + Pasta making” course.
The activity started in Piazza Santo Spirito where we met chef Giorgio. While we hand-selected our ingredients from stands at the local farmers’ market, we learned more about the produce – seasonality, food pairings, and local dishes prepared with them. From the farmers’ market, we made our way to the food studio, making one quick stop at Sandro & Ivana – Formaggi & Salumi, a staple in the neighborhood for decades, where we selected the cheeses for our fresh pasta dish and dessert.
The front room of the food studio was inviting and cozy (as was the rest of the space). As we settled in and made ourselves comfortable, we enjoyed a quick espresso and headed into the kitchen where we prepared the appetizer (a pumpkin potato soup with homemade garlic croutons), the filling for one of the pasta dishes, the sauce for another pasta dish, and partially prepared our dessert. Before we knew it, it was time to move on to the “pasta making” part of the course and we transitioned to the dining room, where our stations were ready for us to prepare fresh homemade pasta. I thought this experience couldn’t get any better, and then on came the music – Sade! (I’m not gonna lie, I was quite surprised that this album was on the chef’s playlist, but I was also extremely happy about it and made sure he knew I approved).
Ok, so if you’ve ever made pasta from scratch before, you’ll appreciate what I’m about to say. After kneading the dough and setting it aside to rest for a few minutes, we were also ready to rest. While we couldn’t very well take a nap, we settled for the next best thing – glasses of prosecco, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and Tuscan bread (word of caution, be careful not to consume too much at this stage so you’ll have room for the 4-course meal at the end of the class)!
Once our pasta was ready to cook, chef Giorgio took over while we resumed sipping on glasses of prosecco, listening to Sade, and exchanging conversation. In no time at all, we were dining on the dishes we had just prepared. After the second pasta course, I think we had forgotten about the desert, but it hadn’t forgotten us (and chef Giorgio made sure we hadn’t forgotten it either)! We eagerly re-entered the kitchen and took turns plating the desert – a ricotta cheesecake with caramelized pears and a chocolate drizzle. Just when I thought I couldn’t eat another bite, I found myself raising a forkful of dessert to my mouth, and another, and yet another, until there was only one lonely crumb from the crust left stranded on the plate.
Five hours later, I had officially completed my first pasta-making class, could have probably rolled myself out of the studio, and was beyond ready for a nap, but it was five hours well spent!
Hands down, this is the perfect activity to try any time of year, and you can book directly on their site. If you’re heading to Florence, be sure to take advantage of this experience – you won’t be disappointed.