This article was first published on our original site MyCityLife way back on the 3rd March 2014
Melissa Loh is one of Brisbane’s top foodie bloggers extraordinaire. My City Life was invited to sample the delights of this event, and Melissa was definitely the perfect person for this Tuscan task.
If I asked you when your last proper holiday was, would your reply be last month? Or last year? Or would it be so long ago, those memories have now faded away into a monochromatic silent movie? No matter how long ago, we all experience the same overwhelming ache in our souls when our feet touch home soil to turn back with our bags to explore further and beyond again. That’s why the Travel Team and celebrity chef Dominique Rizzo recently held A Taste of Tuscany: a cooking demonstration and dinner invitation to tempt attendees to join Dominique on a culinary journey into the Tuscan Hills in June later this year.
Attendees arrived at Black Pearl Epicure to sip and savour Lindeman‘s Early Harvest wines and tease their tastebuds with the rich creaminess of a selection of aged cheeses, before the presentation and cooking demonstration. Travel Team’s Nicole Howard began by introducing the trip’s itinerary – eight days of food, wine and culture beginning in Florence – before inviting Dominique to work her magic in the kitchen.
Dominique Rizzo was an animated and engaging chef, grinning along with her laughing audience at her brutal honesty about past travel woes and her lust for experiencing culture through the sensory exploration of food.
All this time, Dominique was whipping up a mountain of fresh hearty Italian dishes (with a little help from members of the audience of course), including the classic Panzanella salad full of fresh Roma tomatoes with crusty toasted bread and a delightfully light version of cannelloni made with crepes and ricotta. Even something as simple as bread soaked in milk and eggs would be turned into a moist base for a zucchini and potato tart. ‘Peasant food,’ Dominique quipped as she flashed a smile and moved onto roasting the asparagus.
Her demonstration was a revelation into how versatile and simple the cuisine can be, especially as audience members queried whether travelling with dietary restrictions in a country famous for its fierce loyalty to traditions would be an issue. Vegetarians, celiacs and those with allergies take heart that travelling with an experienced guide, such as Dominique would have no trouble finding comfort in the wide range of fresh seasonal produce that might have been picked that very morning.
By the end, the long table was covered with wide platters of food and everyone was invited to simply help themselves. The sheer abundance of food might seem excessively opulent, but everything was so fresh. If this is how the peasants eat in Tuscany, sign me up and I’ll pack my bags!
Photo credit: Melissa Loh