Pizza Making Class at Eataly Florence

By Isabella Blue (California State University in Florence)

In the center of Florence, tucked between the beautiful Cathedral di Santa Maria Fiore and Palazzo Medici Riccardi is a small market called “Eataly,” where this week I had the opportunity to attend a pizza-making class for the first time. Eataly is a corporation dedicated to educating and providing its consumers with authentic Italian cuisine. Its employees serve pure, raw Italian ingredients (with some foreign imports, such as champagne). Eataly has expanded to several countries and major cities around the world, spreading the passion of “promoting a real understanding of high-quality food and drink.” At the market here in Florence, you can grocery shop, stop at the lower-level restaurant for amazing Italian food, visit upstairs to try the guest restaurant they might be temporarily hosting, and take a number of affordable classes.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this experience, but three other students and I were welcomed in and given a brief presentation about Eataly’s mission while we watched the chef behind the counter prepare a pizza, expertly and effortlessly.

I have to admit, I don’t enjoy cooking and I’m terrible at it. Back home in the states, I love Taco Trucks and McDonald’s on almost a daily basis. I’ve often said I could burn water. However, as a new student in Florence, I figure I should try new things and immerse myself in this beautiful culture.

Fun Fact: In high school, I worked at an Italian restaurant in Arizona, USA. I would be lying if I said Italian food on the Mexican-American border is any comparison to the exquisite authentic dishes in Florence. While America packs on the pizza calories- cheese, thick stuffed crust, a multitude of toppings- Italian pizza is simplistic, fresh and beautiful. The dish we made was nothing but carefully tended ten-year-old yeast, flour, olive oil and a small spoonful of tomato sauce and cheese, toasted to perfection and topped with basil. You can taste the passion and the quality in your dish.

I created a slightly deformed pizza with a hole in the center, which our gracious teacher enthusiastically called a “heart.” If you’re terrible at shaping the dough like I am, the instructors are happy to help you out! Even if you’re a complete beginner like me, Eataly classes lead you to culinary success, and the best part is that you can eat your own masterpiece. I highly recommend taking a class if you have the opportunity. It’s affordable (even on a university student budget), and so much fun!

 

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