Food Adventures

Friday, July 14, 2006

As I mentioned in my last post, I am continuing to research the quality of pastries in Florence and, at this particular time, I am focusing on bomboloni con crema (doughnuts with pastry cream). This morning, I decided to try a pastry shop recommended by a trusted source—I dolci di Patrizio Cosi. Well, Patrizio needs to rethink his doughnuts, since the one I had had not risen well and was certainly not cooked enough: it was very pale and too soft and after the very first enthusiastic bite I knew that this place was no competition for Robioli, the place where I usually eat doughnuts with cream in the morning. The other pastries looked o.k., even though the brioche (or cornetti) were somewhat wrinkled. A note is probably in order here about brioche or cornetti are. Italian brioche or cornetto (the words are interchangeable) is almost the equivalent of a French croissant. The dough is slightly different (a little less butter), but they are still buttery, flakey, multi-layered pastries, either empty or filled with chocolate, jam or pastry cream (my personal favorite).

O.k., now that I have provided an update on my pastry research, we can move on to other things. I think I might have mentioned a couple of (hundred) times that the classrooms are quite hot and that when the AC is not working, they are even hotter. All of us (including the instructors) have done our fair share of complaining about the temperature and wishing the rooms were cooler. Well, be careful what you wish for! Today, there was a group of people in our classroom, so we had to use one of the demo classrooms. The demo classrooms are much smaller and less well equipped than the regular ones. They are also freezing!!! The temperature today was 18C (sorry I don't have a conversion table available right now, but trust me that IS cold). After we turned the AC down and the temp climbed to 25C, it was still freezing, so we had to open a window to let some warm air in!

In more interesting news: we discussed Sardinia today and learned some interesting facts about this somewhat isolated island between Corsica and Sicily (much closer to the former). We also made some wonderful Sardinian dishes, including a dessert with pecorino, the most famous Sardinian cheese (there is also a pecorino romano, made around Rome, mostly by Sardinians). I am not eager to visit Sardinia and taste the wonderful things we learned about, except the cheese with live worms. We made mussel soup—mussels in wine and tomato broth served over toasted bread rubbed with garlic—and ravioli stuffed with a mixture of pecorino and lemon peel, fried and drizzled with honey. Yum!!!

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