Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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Girl vs. Ravioli

08.07.2013

Girl vs. Ravioli

08.07.2013

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You guessed it, in that slightly-cheesy photo, I am quite literally beating the beejesus out of some pasta dough.

Just another Tuesday, right?

Wrong. My first foray into the wonderful world of ravioli started at the ripe age of 28 years old. Store bought pasta always suited me just fine even if I admit I was very jealous of any episode of Masterchef where the contestants whipped up a succulent plate of tortellini.

So how, when and where did I make my first steps into this culinary paradise? I was invited by a friend to make ravioli with Food for Friend, culinary classes run by two awesome women in the historical center of Florence in a beautiful palazzo. The first plus, it was conveniently located on my bus route – score! I arrived at 11am hoping that everyone else was as inept at making dough as I was to avoid a brutta figura. I consider myself a pretty good cook but when it comes to dough -the truth is non bueno. It either tastes funny or comes out rock hard or raw. #fail

This particular afternoon we were cooking vegetarian ravioli since the other two ‘cooks’ were both veggie eaters. While not a vegetarian myself, I probably eat like one 80% of the time just by habit. Though, but a bistecca alla fiorentina in front of me and you are more than welcome to chow down on my caprese salad while I take the steak.

Morrocan inspired lamps in the Palazzo

After ooing and aweing over the beautiful details in this historical palazzo, we met Jacqueline and Francesca, the owners behind Food for Friends. Jaqueline, bubbly (and refreshingly sarcastic) and English, calling Florence her home since the late 1980’s while Francesca {owner of the palazzo} is an antique dealer with a store located on via maggio with a plethora of passed down family recipes that inspire the dishes made in the cooking classes.

For me, what made this a truly awesome experience was them. I felt welcomed into a home, and into their lives — if only for an afternoon. No awkward moments, just a really relaxed intimate atmosphere where I could turn on my inner Tuscan Texan. Our ingredients included asparagus, eggs, fresh spinach, taleggio cheese, flour, ricotta and more.

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We started preparing the dough which is always a lot of fun. Like I said before, I am very very talented at making dough virtually inedible, but thankfully Francesca was on hand to correct my moves with a smile. We set our completed dough to the rest and then worked on the fillings. We made two types of ravioli – one filled with taleggio and asparagus and the other the classical spinach and ricotta. She added nutmeg to the ricotta and I was entranced, I am obsessed with spices and that just happens to be one of my favorites. I love that in Italy everyone has the entire nutmeg with a tiny little grater, we need this in the states!

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We stopped for a snack enjoying some cold white wine and homemade schiacciata filled with delicious bell peppers by Francesca. Next up? Time to roll out the dough and actually create our ravioli! This was fun and hence the picture of me ‘beating’ up the pasta comes from this phase in our cooking afternoon. You have to get the pasta to an even, thin layer which takes a bit before you can cut and start making your individual ravioli. In the meantime the fillings were simmering on the stove.

My initial ravioli came out humongous. I don’t know if this is because I am from Texas and automatically make everything exaggerated {a pretty good possibility} or if I just suck. Luckily for me they were patient and eventually mine got a little easier to present in public.

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The sauces we made for the pasta included a simple sage & butter sauce for the spinach & ricotta ravioli, while for the taleggio & asparagus filled masterpieces we made an almond and raisin sauce {heaven}. I was so excited to eat – It took me a moment to see that THIS is where were going to be enjoying our creations!

Right so were we in the Queen’s dining room in her summer residence? It really felt like that, these were some impressive noble like place settings. I felt like a member of the Medici family! Now time for the food.

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Yep that is me holding up my very large Texas ravioli while my friend Alexandra sits pristine like a princess waiting for her food. Surprisingly we actually all did a really good job. Everything was tasty and no ravioli exploded in the process {which can happen if you don’t close them properly}.

That’s what I call a success, we ended with un bel caffe that was fit for a queen. Plus I got to check out the inside of this magnificent palazzo, I wish I could close my eyes and wake up here every day!

If you are interested in taking a cooking class – I really enjoyed Food for Friends and just a little info — they work with smaller groups {which in my opinion is better so that it doesn’t becoming a ‘cooking show.’ }. So imagine 2-4/5 people. They also give you the recipes to take home which are currently on my refrigerator at home ready for when I have a little time and less fear in ‘dough.’

Food for Friends – website

For info & reservations – call Jacqueline: 335 838 3064 or email: [email protected]

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GirlInFlorence

Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as social media manager and content editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' Moscow mule and laughs with the girls.

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  • Avatar
    newmexicotoitaly 08.07.2013 at 13:23

    Thanks for reminding me that I’ve been wanting to do this!!! I’m leaving August 1 and don’t know anyone with the $ to do this right now, so if there’s anyone out there reading this who would like to take a class with me (or is already planning one and has room for one more), lemme know….

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      ggnitaly84 08.07.2013 at 13:36

      It was one of the best afternoons I have had in awhile, I need to actually try doing this again at home, but I don’t what to do without Francesca ;-). I would email them and see if they can put you together with some fun people. In my class was a lovely woman from England and my pal Alex!

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        newmexicotoitaly 08.07.2013 at 14:13

        Thanks! Ho già inviato un e-mail… spero…

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          ggnitaly84 08.07.2013 at 14:18

          let me know how it goes! possiamo essere tutte e due esperti a fare i ravioli! 😉

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            newmexicotoitaly 08.07.2013 at 14:21

            Certo!
            Ho fatto un corso per fare la pasta, ma non ravioli!!!
            Thank you for all your great suggestions which helped this past year!

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    newmexicotoitaly 08.07.2013 at 14:37

    By the way – the irony is that I can only afford to do this wonderful thing here in Italy because I am going back to the U.S. where I can make a living! L’erbe di vicino e sempre piu verde….

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      ggnitaly84 08.07.2013 at 14:41

      you are more normal than you may think. The best situation is if you can work remotely (for an American or Foreign company) in Italy. It really is the truth! Are planning on coming back?

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        newmexicotoitaly 08.07.2013 at 17:36

        Only to visit, not to live. It’s been a worthwhile experience for sure, with the biggest lesson being a newfound appreciation for our old home!

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    Sam 10.07.2013 at 22:47

    Beautiful ravioli! Looks delicious 🙂

    • Avatar
      ggnitaly84 11.07.2013 at 10:08

      it was awesomeeeeee!

    About Me

    About Me

    Hi There!

    Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who calls Florence, Italy home for the past 11 years. I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. My bylines have appeared in Lonely Planet, Luxos Magazine, and International Living. This blog is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling and living in Italy, weekend trips around Europe, and a monthly roundup of interesting events. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!

    Georgette

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