• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
divina

eG Foodblog: divina - Over the Tuscan Stove

138 posts in this topic

Welcome to my life!

The short and sweet of it is that I moved here from San Francisco in 1984 and opened a cooking school right in front of the Central Market in 1988.

My web presence started with my first site in 1997, with a dining guide for Florence and Chianti as well as recipes online.

This is a work week for me so bear with me.

I am meeting students for a walking tour and lunch, then three days of cooking and a Friday day trip to Chianti. The weekend I will be in Certaldo ( near San Gimignano) and catch a local market and visit my neighbors, the Coopertive olive oil mill that is in full swing!

Join us!

Right now I am off to have breakfast at the market..

(My husband and I have formed a team and he helps me with the cleaning etc so by the time I get up... the kitchen is already cleaned and he is ready for a second breakfast!)

more later!

this is great that the Italy food board is also doing Tuscany this month.

Bon Appetito!


Edited by divina (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

divina, how wonderful. I am so in the mood for Tuscan food! happy blogging!

I have some questions right away :smile: What's your background in Italian cooking? Are you italian, or is that you 'adopted' nationality, and what kind of culinary training did you have before opening your Cooking School?


Edited by Chufi (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am regular American girl, all mixed up. My mother was raised in China with a Russian mother and a Father that was born in Paris with a turkish Father and an English mother.

My mom lived in Shanghai, Japan, Okinawa etc... before escaping when the communists came in and then lived in NY and DC.

She ended up in San Francisco marrying a normal English Irish guy and here I am!

First born.. in Memphis Tennessee??? ( they transfered for a year)

I learned nothing from my mom's side of the family.

My grandmother made Russian donuts for us( toasted bagels with halvah on them)

My grandfather made us french pancakes.

My mom made a great beef stew, curry and stirfry.

So I quess there is a predisposition for travel.. will that mix in my blood!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked for 7 years at the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco CA, which was 5 stars,

There I started my passion for food. It was run by Jim Nassikas and back in 1978 already had a wood burning oven for hte main dining room!

they were trend setters.

Fabulous REAL European food. Lot's of French, but also Greek and Italian.

I found my way into the kitchen as a pastry chef, decided that food could take me around the world.

I had gotten the travel bug right out of high school and I was addicted!

Italy.. who knows?

I never liked ITalian food in the states, deep dish pizza. green ice cream?

So I arrived first in France in 1984, and did a month checking out places that I could come back to when I KNEW I wouldn't like Italy.

I chose Florence to study Italian for a month so I could travel around doing research.

It was love at first site!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spent some time in Florence as a student, so will be following this with great interest. Where inrelation to the mercato centrale are you? I have fond memories of my first ever tagliatelle ai noci (it probably wasn't all that great, but still..) at Za-Za...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, THIS is gonna be fun!! Happy blogging, Judy. May your dial up be fast and reliable! For those of you who who have high speed internet, that works even when its rainy, or windy, you have no idea how 'challenging' Italian internet is!! :laugh::laugh:

Judy, can you explain more about the oil cooperative? Farmers contribute their olives, and do they only get their olive oil back? Does it get combined? What is the government role in the cooperatives? Or is it only at the commune level?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yep, that's pretty stunning, divina!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Divina, when I first read this, I thought, "Central Market? In Austin?" :wacko: What a glorious view you have; it appears much "calmer" than I'd pictured it.

What fun -- I can't wait to see your life. My goal is to open a cooking school, and part of the research is visiting as many as I can here and abroad. Europe is next year and the year after, so your blog is going to be informative for me as well. Woo hoo!


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hathor.. the COOP near me, invested money to build the olive press and have tractors in common. they then press the oil, usually leaving oil in lieu of payment.

When I go to buy my oil, then the mill receives their money for running the place.

no govenment involved in this one. Very small. When I go on the weekend I will get more info on this.

But you bring in your olives and get your oil back. Not like one of the larger Wine coops where they crush together and then sell under one label.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yay! More time abroad, and no need to clear customs.

Molto Grazie for blogging.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prego!

As Hathor said.. blogging in a computer illiterate country is challenging!

In FLorence, where I mostly work, I usually go to the internet cafe...

but have recently disocvered WIFI connection under my house... that sometimes I can pickup!

we will see!

working on the first market and lunch shots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Starting my day at the Market..

gallery_28661_3841_55408.jpg

having a fabulous cappuccino and a ciambellone ( donut) at Claudio's today.

gallery_28661_3841_84823.jpg

Claudio had been a professional waiter in the town of Viareggio and Montecatini when that is where the "Signori" hung out. It was a seasonal job.

He heard about the stand being for sale inside the Mercato Central when going to donate blood for a friends sick uncle.

The Bar belonged to the uncle.

Claudio and his wife Alma have had the bar from 32 years, and although claudio is of legal age to retire... the bar is his life!

here is the price list.

one Euro is about $1.30 US

gallery_28661_3841_34633.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After living in Asia for so long, that menu doesn't even look like it's in a foreign language! Ah to learn a language with cognates again!

Is the mineral water really only 0.30 euros? I think that's cheaper than here.

What kind of people attend your cooking school? Do you get a mix of skill levels?

eta: What's "punch"? Is it...punch?


Edited by nakji (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As part of work today we toured the town some and then toured the market followed by lunch.

We started with snacks at Pork's, a Sicilian run bar, with lots of great eggplant recipes.

I will post foto's tomorrow with some of what Benita makes.

Lunch was at a simple little fish place near me called LOBS, looks like a fish shack from back east.

our meal was:

gallery_28661_3841_6930.jpg

Pasta with fresh salmon and pesto

gallery_28661_3841_61673.jpg

Pasta with fresh swordfish and porcini

gallery_28661_3841_16155.jpg

Spigola in Acqua Pazza with Potatoes.

We drank dessert!

gallery_28661_3841_88651.jpg

Sgroppino a venetion recipe, lemon sorbet whipped with prosecco and vodka

gallery_28661_3841_9613.jpg

lemon/Basil sorbet with vodka

when you serve any ice cream or sorbet with alchol, it is called corretto.. or affogatto.

We stirred it up so it was like an icey vodka margarita? or Granita with a kick

gallery_28661_3841_49328.jpg

then a lemon marscarpone tart

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nakji, water by the glass. But if I went to buy a bottle of the local stuff it would be from 35 to 60 euro cents for a liter and a half.

Punch is a liquore from Livorno sold HOT. With a lemon twist.

I will have to have Claudio make us one! with cold mornings like we are getting now, it is perfect to kickstart the days!

As for students. I get mostly people with a passion for food.

Some professionals as I was a chef it is fun to come have the market right there and a kitchen!!!

But since I take so few students ( 6 max) we really cook!

already the ladies today have their eyes on the wild boar ( pasta sauce or stew?)

potato gnocchi, grilled pumpkin, some lovely salads with the new oil and tradtional balsamic vinegar.

I decide the menu's daily with the students so who knows? That is what makes it fun for me, every day a new challenge.

Tuscan Iron Chef?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

welnoo,

I don't eat at Nerbone weekly myself but we do stop there on my tour of the market and I offer a sandwich to anyone that wants to try, either the boiled beef or the Lampredotto.

I do ADORE eating there!

But when you are teaching a full on menu, hard to fill them up first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As Hathor said.. blogging in a computer illiterate country is challenging!

In FLorence, where I mostly work, I usually go to the internet cafe...

First, Divina, it's great to see that you're blogging at this time of year!

I imagine that you have a fairly set schedule for the days you spend with your classes, but I hope that if the market at Sant'Ambrogio is on your itinerary, you'll take us there. I'm especially interested in seeing different types of zucche and learning how you prepare them. It's too late for chartreuse green peaches, but are there blood oranges from Sicily yet?

There's a thread devoted to great Italian sandwiches that's all about your beloved Central Market. Hathor challenged Andrew Fenton's boasts by showing us porchetta in Umbria. I would love it if you could take us to a place with arista--like the little hole in the wall where San Pier Maggiore used to be, near the big post office or wherever you like to go. Maybe a tripe stand, too.

* * *

Not really about culinary matters, but related to blogging: What I don't understand about your problems with Italian internet service is the fact that back in the early 90's it seemed that banners and storefronts throughout Florence all promoted Apple. It was so easy to find shops selling cords for foreign laptops, printing files, etc. Nowadays, there's an internet business on virtually every commercial block. Is domestic service so bad because most people rely on these businesses and don't have connections at home?

* * *

P.S. Just saw your new post. Sigh. Thanks for showing the price list after your breakfast this morning which all of us North Americans can use to compare to our options.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Internet first.

I am at an internet place now... so I pay by the minute for fast service. that is ok.

But at home in FLorence with my regualr phone, I was only getting a 35K connection!

that is horrible!

At my home in Certaldo I get 54K.

I was paying for theISDN line which allowed me to get phone calls and be online at the same time and was supposed to double my speed!

no luck so I had them remove it.

I won't be going to San Ambrogio for work sorry!

I shop San Lorenzo.

I did however already take a pumpkin shot for you.

gallery_28661_3841_23084.jpg

gallery_28661_3841_42718.jpg

Monday is a slow day at the market so there was not a whole porchetta ( I get mine at PORKS) and will also show you the pig parts!

After my presentation at IACP last year with Fergus Henderson... I am the Diva of going whole hog, there are some great shots and recipes on my whole hog blog..

We will got for tripe of course and a lesson in bodyparts! not for the weak!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Divina,

I was a regular at Internet Train in florence... there's one not far from where you are - my street names in florence are deserting me... so that's where I'm picturing you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By ElsieD
      We are at the airport waiting to board our flight.  As we seem to have interested folks from different parts of the world who may not know too much about our province,  I thought I would start this blog by giving you an overview of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).
       
      Before Newfoundland  became part of Canada in 1949, it was a British Colony.  Cupids, a town on Conception Bay, was settled 406 years ago, and is the oldest continuously settled official British community in Canada.  Most of the early permanent settlers came from southwest England and southeast Ireland although  the French also settled here and in the 17th century Newfoundland was more French than English.  French is still spoken in Port au Port Penninsula, on the western side of the island, with English spoken everywhere else.   Just off the coast of south west Newfoundland, St. Pierre et Miquelon are islands that are still a colony of France.  There is a regular ferry service between Fortune, NL and St. Pierre et Miquelon.
       
      Geographically, the capital of St. John's is on the same latitude as Paris, France and Seattle, Washington.  In size, Newfoundland and Labrador is a little smaller than California, slightly bigger than Japan and twice the size of the United Kingdon.  NL covers 405,212 sq. kilometers (156,453 sq. miles) with over 29,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) of coastline.  By itself, the island of Newfoundland covers 111,390 square kilometers (43,008 sq. miles).
       
      The population of NL is 510,000, of whom 181,000 live in St. John's.  While there are some larger towns, vast areas are sparsely populated.
       
      In Newfoundland there are no snakes, skunks, racoons, poisonous insects or arachnids.  There is also no ragweed - allergy sufferers rejoice!  There are over 120,000 moose and it is home to one of the world's biggest caribou herds.   They also have some of the continent's biggest black bears.
       
      Note: This information was taken from the official Newfoundland and Labrador web site.
    • By Gunnsr42
      Hello foodies. Tell us what work of art you're cooking for your meals these days. 
    • By chefmd
      My son married a lovely young lady from Yakeshi, Inner Mongolia, China.   Mongolian: ᠶᠠᠠᠠᠰᠢ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ (Ягши хот); Chinese: 牙克石; pinyin: Yákèshí
       
      We had a wedding in the US but her family also wanted to have a traditional wedding in China.  DH and I have never being to China so this was an exciting opportunity for us!  We spent a few days in Beijing doing touristy stuff and then flew to Hailar.  There is only one flight a day on Air China that we took at 6 in the morning.  Yakeshi is about an hour drive from Hailar on a beautiful toll road with no cars on it.  I wish we took pictures of free roaming sheep and cows along the way.  The original free range meat.
       
      The family met us at the airport.  We were greeted with a shot of a traditional Chinese spirit from a traditional leather vessel.  Nothing says welcome like a stiff drink at 9 AM.  We were supposed to have a three shots (may be they were joking) but family took pity on us and limited it to one only.
       

       
    • By Panaderia Canadiense
      Wow, this is my third foodblog for the eGullet….  Welcome!   I'll be with you from Palm Sunday through Holy Sunday to give you all a taste of the veritable food festival that is Easter in Ecuador.  As usual, I intend to eat on the streets, visit a plethora of small shops and vendors, and talk about (and eat copious amounts of ) the specialty dishes of the holiday.
       
      A bit of background on me and where I am.  I'm Elizabeth; I'm 33 years old and since the last foodblog I've ceased to be a Canadian expat in Ecuador, and become a full-fledged Ecuadorian citizen.  I run a catering bakery out of Ambato, and I deliver to clients on the entire mainland.  I've got a large customer base in nearby Baños de Agua Santa, a hot-springs town about an hour downslope of me to the east; I'll be visiting it on Wednesday with close to 100 kg of baked goods for delivery.  Ambato, the capital of Tungurahua province, is located almost exactly in the geographic centre of Ecuador.  It's at an average elevation of 2,850 meters above sea level (slightly higher than Quito, the capital) - but this is measured in the downtown central park, which is significantly lower than most of the rest of the city, which extends up the sides of the river valley and onto the high plain above.  We've got what amounts to eternal late springtime weather, with two well-marked rainy seasons.  Ambato has about 300,000 people in its metro area; it's the fourth largest city in the country.  But maybe the most important thing about Ambato, especially to foodies, is that it's a transport hub for the country.  Anything travelling just about anywhere has to pass through Ambato on the way; it gives us the largest, best-stocked food market in South America.  I have simply staggering variety at my fingertips.
       

       
      This view, which was a teaser for the blog, was taken from my rooftop terrazzo.  It is a fraction of the panorama of the river valley that I see every morning, and since Easter is traditionally somewhat miserable weather-wise, the clouds stick to the hilltops.  The barrio you can see in the middle distance is Ficoa, one of the most luxury districts in the city.  Ambato is notable amongst Ecuadorian cities for having small fruit farms (300-500 m2) still operating within city limits and even within its most established barrios - it's from this that the Ambato gets one of its two sobriquets: The City of Fruits and Flowers.  The tendency for even the poorest barrios to take tremendous pride in their greenspaces gives the other: The Garden City.  My barrio, Miraflores Alto, is a working-class mixture of professors and labourers, and my neighbours keep a mixture of chickens, turkeys, and ducks in their yards; someone down the hill has a cow that I frequently hear but have never seen.  Consequently, if the season is right I can buy duck eggs from my neighbours (and if the season is wrong, entire Muscovy ducks for roasting.)
       

       
      Today, I'll be doing my largest fresh-food shopping at the Mercado Mayorista, the largest market of its kind in South America - this place covers nearly 30 square blocks, and it exists to both buy and sell produce from across the country.  Sundays and Mondays it also opens up to a huge, raucous farmer's market where smaller quantities are available for purchase.  Sunday is the day of the freshest food and the largest number of vendors.  And I'm going to cross more than half the city to get there - I've moved since the last blog, and my new house, on the slopes of the river valley is further away than the old one on the high plain.  I promise to take many pictures of this - particularly close to the High Holy days, the Mayorista is alive with vendors and there will be special sections cordoned off for sales of bacalao, truly enormous squashes, and if it follows the previous years' trends, a festival of Hornado (about which more later).  Apart from mangoes, which are just finishing up their season, it is harvest time across the country, and the Mayorista will be well stocked with all manner of fruits and vegetables.
       

       
      To start us off, I'll demystify one of my teasers a bit.
       

       
      The Minion head that peeks out of my cupboard every day belongs to my jar of ChocoListo, the Ecuadorian equivalent of chocolate Ovaltine.  Since I gave up coffee for Lent, it's my go-to morning beverage.  ChocoListo normally comes in the plain white jar with orange lid that you see in front of the Minion; that's now my hot chocolate jar because I just couldn't resist when the company came out with the specialty jars.  I firmly believe that one is never too old to have whimsical things!
       

    • By therese
      Good morning, y’all, and welcome to the party chez Therese.
      As per the teaser, this week’s foodblog does indeed come to you from Atlanta, where I live with my two children (hereafter known as Girl and Boy) and husband (hereafter known as The Man). Girl is 11, Boy is 14, and The Man is old enough to know better.
      Atlanta’s huge: the total metro population is about 4 million, and there are no physical boundaries to growth like rivers or mountain ranges, so people just keep moving (and commuting) farther and farther out of town. Atlantans can be divided into ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter), the perimeter referring to the interstate freeway that encircles the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, separating it from outlying suburbs. The politically minded may note that these areas could be designated red and blue. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
      We’re about as ITP as it gets, with home, work, school, and restaurants all in walking distance. The neighborhood’s called Druid Hills, the setting for the play/movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. The houses date from the 1920s, and because Atlanta has so little in the way of “old” buildings the neighborhood’s on the National Register as a Historic District. Charming, sure, buts lots of the houses need some updating, and ours (purchased in 1996) was no exception. So we remodeled last year, including an addition with a new kitchen, and this week’s blog will look at the finished product.
      So, some encouragement for those of you presently involved in kitchen renovation, some ideas for those who are considering it.
      But never mind all that for the moment: What’s for breakfast?


      Dutch babies, that’s what. And even better, these Dutch babies are produced by my children, the aforementioned Girl and Boy. The first picture is right from the oven, the second is after the somewhat messy job of sifting powdered sugar on top. They are delicious (the Dutch babies, I mean, not the children) and a great weekend treat.

      The Man drinks coffee in the morning whereas I prefer tea. He's not up yet, having played poker last night. I'm hoping he makes it out of bed in time for dinner.

      I also eat fruit whereas he prefers, well, anything but fruit. This is not such a bad thing, as it means that I don’t have to share the fruit. Pomegranates are a pain to eat, but not so bad if you’re reading the newspaper at the same time. This one’s from California, but you can also grow them here if you’ve got enough sunshine (which I don’t).
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.