Today we got ‘hands on’ with some agritourism at the fondo Galatea working farm. The proprietor, Mary Lou, started by explaining the nature of a mixed farm in this area of Italy. They specialise in producing extra virgin olive oil (green olives pressed only once), oranges and lemons, milk, beef, cured pork products, eggs and of course tourism. Interestingly, some of the students commented that “a farm yard smells like a farm yard where ever in the world you end up”.
After meeting the animals we were given a riveting demonstration of how mozzarella is made, including seeing how the different shapes of mozzarella are formed. My particular favourite is the plait which is traditional for this area. It was then our turn to try to produce another Italian classic, the margarita pizza. Following a demonstration from Gino which included spinning the dough above his head we set about creating the finest pizzas that we could. We could choose a standard tomato and mozzarella pizza or add some chillies (grown on the farm), some oregano or fresh basil. Gino cooked our creations in the traditional wood fired pizza oven and then we sat together eating them for lunch. There were complements all round for the many chefs!
We then followed the coast road north to Amalfi, the town that gives its name to the whole region. On the way we marvelled at some breathtaking views, million euro houses that clung on to the sheer rock faces seemingly defying the laws of physics, a 1500 euro per night hotel and even houses owned by Sophia Loren and Diego Maradona. At Amalfi those who wanted to visited the cathedral at its heart did so, having a chance to see some of the best religious inspired art in the region. Everyone then had a chance to get some final gifts for those of you at home reading this blog (hopefully).
The journey back to the hotel was a long and hot one as Rosario, our driver, did a great job at avoiding the traffic which appears to come at you from almost every conceivable angle.
It was pizza for tea (not a patch on the ones that we had made earlier, in fact the staff even considered letting the students try out their new found skills in the hotel kitchen!). Then followed an hour of geography and one last Italian ice cream. After all, it would be rude not to.