The epilogue of cooking class wine tasting near Florence starts with the group gathering in the courtyard of the castle.
Marta is ready to start her tour of the castle. So we are brainstormed about its glorious history before passing to visit it from the inside. Marta speaks very good English in the Yankee variety which makes her sound even more knowledgeable in all the things she is going to say. We may say she’ll be pivotal for our cooking class wine tasting near Florence.
The Castle – the nucleus of the estate, and now home to the owners was first constructed in 1184 by the noble Florentine banking family called Pazzi. At the height of Florence Renaissance in 1478, the Pazzi family masterminded in these halls the now infamous plot to kill two outstanding representatives of Florence ruling family, the Medici.
With the “Pazzi Conspiracy,” the family – long rivals of the Medici – intended to eliminate Lorenzo de’ Medici and so dethrone Florence ruler. Coconspirators with the Pazzi family were Pope Sixtus IV, and the enlightened Federico da Montefeltro, then Duke of Urbino.
Marta tells us that today, in the Castle’s nucleus, the magnificent “Conspiracy Room” can be admired. In homage to the story of the Conspiracy, The Trebbio estate has plentifully banked on the Pazzi origin. In fact it has given to some of their best wines, names inspired by this famous Florentine piece of history.
We slide through some of the halls on the ground floor and then we head to the wine cellars. Here Marta reveals all the great variety of vines and wines of the Trebbio estate about which I had already been instructed by Alberto Peroni upon my arrival at the Trebbio shop. Marta also makes an overture to the world of classic extra virgin olive oil which is also a key production of the Castello del Trebbio.
Our group now splits as a young Russian family and 2 couples from the USA opt for wine tasting . Maureen, Audrey and a Dutch lady on the contrary go on for fresh pasta cooking class . Maureen seems a tad surprised when I tell her that I don’t want to learn doing fresh pasta. I’ve seen it done at home by my grandmother and mother counteless times. Besides with a wife keen on tinkering with pots and pans I think I’ll be standing filming and taking pics.
The kitchen itself is well equipped and totally in keep with the stylish historical coating of the whole venue. Marta is still assisting with the translation while centre stage is being taken by chef Cristian Borchi.
His massive but agile hands move swiftly breaking the eggs and mixing the flour. The three ladies take turns at mixing, squeezing and rolling the dough flat. Then Cristian gently presses the dough with his right finger. When it elastically snaps back it means that it’s ready.
Slicing the dough with a sharp knife into tagliolini (narrower tagliatelle) is not that easy. Again Cristian’s hands move effortlessly up and down with a wavy lulling motion honed to mechanical precision. Unfortunately the 3 ladies cannot yet replicate it in the same flawless way. However the beauty of homemade pasta is that even the most uneven strings become delicious if the ingredients and the sauce are ok.
Chef Cristian has already prepared two sauces one meat and one vegetarian. But he also carefully explains how they are made. I bring home one cooking tip about the use of shallot instead of garlic and onion for the vegetarian sauce.