Wine Tasting, Survival Italian, and Cooking with MaryLou

This week during our class days some of my favorite things we did were wine tasting with Maurizio, having the italian middle school kids visit our italian class, and our first cooking lesson with MaryLou.

Our wine tasting aperitivo on Monday night followed our lecture on the history, business, and pleasure of wine drinking. Maurizio walked us through the origin of wine from Greece, wine culture in the Roman Empire, and wine production in Italy. Then we went over the basic tasting techniques. The traditional things to note at a tasting are as follows: transparency, color, fluidity, effervescence, aroma, intensity, persistency, and quality. The aperitivo was provided by the program with a wide range of cheese, crackers, meats, and salad. We tasted 6 different wines, 3 white and 3 red.

Survival Italian is essential to my experience here in Ariccia and my time in Italy as a whole. In our second lesson we learned how to ask for and understand directions. We had an Italian middle school class join us today to help. We all got paired up with partners and practiced. I’ve never been intimidated by middle schoolers but I was freaking out. I just do NOT know how to speak much Italian at all haha My first Italian class buddy was so sweet. It was a twelve year old boy that did not speak much English… so we were in the same boat. It was very difficult to communicate with him when we tried to talk about other things outside of our directions exercise, but I think overall it was very beneficial for both of us.

Cooking class with MaryLou is such a privilege. It’s like I am getting to have cooking lessons with the Italian version of Grammy!!! She is such a good cook and she is full of little nuggets of cooking wisdom. In our first class with her we made a nutella cake and pasta with Amatriciana sauce. Some golden rules of pasta that I learned was to boil a lot of water with a handful of salt, you can add a drop of olive oil to stop the water from boiling over, and put the pasta in the water ONLY when it is boiling and start counting the cooking time when it starts boiling again. Italian’s only serve their pasta “al dente”, so it must not be over cooked. Also, butter is never used. only olive

oil… and quite a lot of it. Amatriciana sauce is very good. Its a tomato based sauce with bacon, parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, and basil leaves. You can add chili pepper to the recipe and it becomes the “Arrabbiate” sauce (Angry sauce!) She really emphasized being inventive in the kitchen and to have fun.

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  1. Way to go Anna. Love that 12 year old intimidation factor. Learn lots so you can speak for me when I get there. Glad you are learning to cook Italian “grammy style”! Can’t wait to have you cook some pasta for us and try out your new skills. I want the angry sauce too! “Arrabbiate”!

    1. Thanks dad!!!! I will definitely have to cook for y’all when I get home! As far as the Italian goes… I’m trying my best hahaha

  2. What you did in Rome is a perfect itinerary for your Mom and Dad and Adam when you show them Roma. Tip. When you ask someone for directions just look at their hands; go in that direction and then ask someone else _etc. did you notice the McDonald ‘s at the Spanish Steps?

  3. I need to meet MaryLou! this summer, you are going to have to teach me all of the cooking things you learned…especially the nutella cake!

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