It’s been a bit of radio silence from me these past couple of weeks, but I’m back! It was for a good reason: Ben and I took our first trip to Asia and spent the past two weeks in Thailand. It was everything I thought it would be and so much more. BUT more to come on that amazing country in the weeks ahead.
With summer travels arriving with rapid speed, I wanted to share my favorite insider tip on immersing yourself with a new culture with delicious speed: donning a chef’s hat — and taking a cooking class! This used to be something I got to do often for work (I know, such a tough gig and a major perk of working in travel PR) with journalists. We often took them to a new restaurant, hotel or winery where chefs could show off their stuff — and give them an inside look into their operations. It made for great articles… and the perfect way to understand local culture.
Most recently when traveling with my parents and Ben last month, my parents gifted us all with a fun afternoon with the Florence Food & Wine Academy. It was predicted to be a rainy day, so they (smartly) realized we would all be better off indoors. It wasn’t any of our first times to the city, so we didn’t need to spend our days traipsing around the Uffizi Gallery (though if you haven’t been to Florence, go! It’s fabulous — and book your tickets in advance).
We started our morning at Mercado Centrale, the large incredible market in the heart of the city. Here we met up with the group, picked up spices, meats and other needs. Just a hop skip and a jump from the market, we spent the following four hours listening to tales from childhoods spent with nonnas making pasta by hand, tricks on making the best bolognese sauce (mostly meat, minimal tomatoes — it overpowers), drinking chianti and munching happily on bruschetta. We made tiramisu (first so it could set), beef bolognese and ravioli by HAND. We left blissfully full and happy and promptly went back to our room for a cat nap while the rain continued around the city.
If you’re in Firenze, check out the Florence Food & Wine Academy — and if you’re anywhere else in the world look up a cooking class. We just did one in Chiang Mai through our hotel focusing on northern Thai dishes. Londoners, Jamie Oliver’s Recipease has so many classes and if you’re in NYC, you should try the Institute of Culinary Education. Happy cooking! x