Ciao! I had a very relaxing time this week, and it was much needed. This trip has been a lot of fun, but I definitely needed a weekend where I was not traveling. So, I stayed in Florence to catch up on homework and sleep. Luckily, we had every afternoon free this week which meant I was able to relax but also hang out with my friends more than usual.
My roommate wanted to make burgers one night so I decided it would be a good idea to make French fries from scratch. I had only done it one time before, but I was determined for them to turn out great. I was making French fries for hours but they turned out even better than the first time. Somehow all of the fries were evenly cut and fried to perfection. I was very proud of myself even though I was too tired to eat them when they were done. My friends loved them, and that is all that matters.
In terms of group experiences, we visited two wineries this week, and it was so much fun. Our tour guide, Todd, told us a few stories about the significance of one of the castles. It was used to have conversations in order to avoid someone spying on them. He also mentioned that there was an assassination in a church that a priest actually took part in. They were trying to kill two young adults that had just previously been given power. One assassination was successful but the other was not.
We also learned about the winemaking process which was very interesting. They have a machine that takes the grapes off of the stems without breaking them up too much which I did not know about. A lot of white wines are aged in wood barrels that can create a more oaky or caramelized flavor while red wine can be aged in steel barrels. When making wine, it is important to keep the grapes moving in order to develop flavor and color which means they have to go out and essentially stir the barrels a couple of times a day.
While we were at the winery, we were served lunch and it was different. They served multiple courses but the appetizer was the most interesting to me. There was a liver pâté and two different types of quiches that tasted… interesting. They did not taste bad, but it was different. We were also served a delicious pumpkin risotto, and it was my favorite of the food we tried. The dessert seemed to be some type of frozen orange custard, and it was good too.
My highlight of the wineries was definitely finding two red wines that I actually liked, and I found a new favorite white wine. I definitely bought one of each!
That’s it for this week. Check back next week to see more reflections about the foods I’ve tried while traveling, and make sure to read Meghan’s post – she talks a little about the cooking class we took!