Turkey is NOT just for Thanksgiving!

First night's antipasto: thinly sliced turkey, asparagus, and carrots with some sort of béchamel-type sauce. Incredible!

Del Martin is a 1976 Cortona Alum and 1978 BFA in Graphic Design from the Lamar Dodd School of Art. She returns to Cortona often and this Spring served as the instructor for Travel Journaling for the 10 day “Cortona Experience” trip sponsored by the school. An avid foodie, she shares her mouth watering impressions of the delicious fare found in and around Cortona with us. Enjoy more from her BLOG here.

First night’s antipasto: thinly sliced turkey, asparagus, and carrots with some sort of béchamel-type sauce. Incredible! I just recently returned from Cortona, Italy, where I was privileged to lead a workshop on creating your own travel journal as part of your travel experience. This was one of the offerings of the University of Georgia’s “Cortona Experience”, an annual 10-day trip to Cortona, Italy that enables its participants to be immersed in this wonderful Tuscan Hill Town and its environs. The trip was truly a “Cortona Experience”, jam-packed with excursions, demonstrations, cooking classes, wine tastings, and wonderful meal after wonderful meal.  I may post some of my journal entries and sketches later, but since I made an effort to record some of these wonderful meals, I thought I would do a series about the FOOD. . . because, after all, I’m all about good food!

The first installment is from our welcoming dinner at Tonino’s Restaurant. If you’ve been to Cortona, you know where Tonino’s is: right in Piazza Garibaldi, where you get off the bus (if you’ve arrived by bus!) If you were a student in the UGA Cortona Studies Program, Tonino’s is where you had many a meal. . . but I can promise you, students were never served anything like this!
This was the “opening act” of an over-the-top meal, and it was my favorite course (as well as my cousin Leisa’s favorite course.) Had I not been a glutton, I could have happily stopped here.
So simple, yet so sublimely good. Thinly sliced roast turkey (and when I say thin, I mean mandolin-thin!) along with just as thinly sliced asparagus and carrots (just a touch of carrots for color.) I had never seen asparagus sliced length-wise before; it was brilliant. Not only did it look great, but it let your tongue taste the tender greenness of the asparagus as a silky counterpart to the roasted saltiness of the turkey. The sauce was creamy and rich — just enough of it to wrap everything up in a hedonistic flair. I’m not sure what it was, but it reminded me of béchamel: not too cheesy, but just enough tang-to-sweetness ratio to make me have to control myself from licking the plate.
And like I said, this was just the first course! It epitomizes to me what is the essence of Italian cooking: emphasis on a few simple but QUALITY ingredients, put together in a pleasing way.

So, I shall savor this taste memory for a while!

For more on the Cortona Experience see “The Cortona Experience WAS an Experience” under Special Events here on the CIAO website.
Read more descriptions by Del of the food and fun enjoyed by the group on the “Cortona Experience“  trip last Spring.  Don’t miss “Bacon & Eggs Pizza: Inspired or Absurd?” at FuFlums in Cortona and “Chestnut Pasta with Shaved Truffles: Brown and Down!” in Arezzo.  Read more at Del’s blog “Del-ovin’ Life” at: http://delwelcometomylife.blogspot.com

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