Written by Jorge, High School/Pre-College Student Correspondent for CET Florence: Italian Food, Art, and Society
Sure, Italy is remarkable for its food and this is an outstanding gift to share throughout the world, you never really know Italian food until you step inside the heart of it all. I didn’t know what to expect as it was my first time in Europe, the airport was just as rapid moving as the entire city. I have to say I was overwhelmed in the beginning but I feel that being thrown into the culture, rather than experiencing it from a phone, has made all the difference in my life.
The first day with CET surprised me as how quickly everyone got along. I’ve never been one to open up so fast but when I’m attending a once in a lifetime opportunity, I’ve come out of my shell and experienced this trip to the fullest extent. So far, every restaurant I’ve been to I’ve ordered something I’ve never heard of or had before, and I can say without exaggeration, that none of the food here has disappointed me and I doubt it ever will.
Going more into food, on our five-day trip to Siena (a smaller town south of Florence), I have to say I experienced probably the two best things I have on the trip so far. We start with Palio, a horse race that has been a tradition for hundreds of years in Siena and the streets were flooded with parades every other day, or just people of the Contradas (The different districts of Siena), chanting to support their horse in the race. In order to eat during these vibrantly passionate times, we made reservations at several restaurants that served me the best Italian food I’ve ever had in my life. Then the day before our departure we attended a Food culture class that taught me why to make the food, then right after we attended a cooking class that taught me how to make the food.
The cooking class was an amazing experience as we learned how to make Pici pasta, Gnocchi, Tortelli, and finally Biscotti. As I had never known, it was such a surreal experience as to how simple it was to make the food, but to knead dough and whisk potatoes can be a dread to some, I see it now as something I would definitely want to expand my knowledge in, and do for the rest of my life. As every second of this trip goes by, I know that it’s something special to be here living in Florence, Italy, and an honor to be among this culture.