Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wheels up :(

Chefs Mullen and Berman write:
Tonight was, simply put, amazing! We spent the evening at the Le Caniette winery with our new friends and countrymen from Ripatransone. The view, of course, is spectacular, overlooking the Ascoli Valley. We played host to the Mayor of Ripatransone, as well as many of those responsible for our adventure here. There were students, families, cooks, children and revelers, alike. The innovative kitchen was draped in glass, nary to miss one spectacular glance out the windows to see the grape vines stretching across the hillside.

Food? Our antipasti was a dry-cured pork loin dressed with a salad of radicchio, olive oil and 50-year old cooked wine. [Yes, cooked wine. Do not mistake cooking wine for this delicious ‘dressing.’] The primi piatta was pillows of pasta wrapped around a vegetable mixture of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes gently snuggled in with fresh mozzarella, all baked in a tomato-bechamel sauce. The entrée, a porkette-style treatment of turkey leg-thigh roast. Indescribable! The boned-out roast was stuffed with rosemary and garlic then rolled in a crust of salt and splashed with olive oil imported all the way from the side of the hill on which we were dining. Impeccable flavor. Amazing experience. Life-changing event of which we could not possibly have hoped to go any better as we wind down our journey through this province.

Tomorrow, we are gathering ingredients from local vendors and making our bon voyage meal at our host’s home. We will bid Italia a heart-breaking ‘ciao’ following dinner and, I am sure, a long night of reflecting on the journey. Nearly two years in the making, arduous fundraising, hurdles and challenges, this trip is coming to an end. Many of our students making the journey with TeamItalia will not be returning in the fall, as they have graduated and are finishing their tenure with our program as the plane touches down in Philadelphia. The others will have the classroom as their audience to share what was, hopefully, an experience worth sharing. Either way, the students and us as teachers, leave Italy as markedly changed individuals, hopefully wiser for the experience of the past two weeks and everything leading up to this moment. With this, we close this living journal and seal this chapter of our online presence in Italy. We will, as time goes by, drop in to share developments in promoting our “Cooking Without Borders” program. It is our hope to host students from Italy in the very near future and make a return trip to this wonderful place. We will also post reflections from the students on their escapades in Ripatransone after we return to the States.

So, for now, buona notte and ciao! Grazí to everybody that followed along and supported our mission. Wheels down in Philly on Wednesday!


  1. Thank you so much for allowing all of us to experience this journey with you! I'm sure that the words and photos only give us the slightest hint about how incredible this has been for all of you.

    Looking forward to seeing Kelsey and all of you shortly after wheels down.

  2. I am so glad you followed along! The blog was a great way to share what we were experiencing, to share with the world the adventure that this group of students got to be part of. Kelsey had the unique position of being the youngest to participate, so she will be the cheerleader for the next trip!
    Thanks, again, for all of your support!!