Ireland Or Italy ?

Discussion in 'Choosing A Culinary School' started by jasperlnt, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. jasperlnt

    jasperlnt

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    Hi! I already have some experience in kitchen.Now ,I want to learn more ,so I want to study abroad.
    I have two choices
    1.Italy
    2. Ireland
    I never learn Italian,so this a my biggest problem if I choosing Italy.
    Which is better?Thank you!
     
  2. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    France
     
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  3. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Italy
     
  4. jasperlnt

    jasperlnt

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    If I have budget, I will do it. Unfortunately, I don't.
     
  5. rbrad

    rbrad

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    If you want to learn Italian food go to Italy. Irish food is under appreciated and maybe not fully understood. There are a lot of great Irish restaurants and chefs using local very high quality products. I’d pick Ireland but it depends on what you want to gain from it.
     
  6. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    jasperint, The reason I said France is because it would be "knowledge of a Cuisine" you could use everyday. Just think of what you could learn in a French restaurant.

    The only problem I see with Italy is everything in the Country is Italian. I see Italy as more of an old world approach to cooking. I'm not saying you won't learn anything. I'm saying you may not be able to utilize what you learn all that much. If you have a pick of places to to go pick Venice. Venice, when it's not crazy with tourists is my favorite city. It also offers a lot of different varieties of pasta pasta seafood.

    Ireland, I wasn't all that impressed with. The only thing it would have is English speaking people. Dublin and Galway would be my choice if I was in my 20's. Ireland would be your best choice to beat the language barrier, but again I'm not thrilled with the cuisine.....

    What cities in each country are available for you to cook in ???????
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
  7. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    I think I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. :)

    Italy's cuisine is a blend of traditions from all over the world from Arabic, Greek and North African influences in the South to Spanish and Eastern Europe in Central Italy to France, German and Austrian influences in Northern Italy.

    Historically speaking, Italy, in particular Sicily and Southern Italy, served as one of the crossroads between Europe and Middle East. The Roman trade routes to the East went through Sicily all the way to present day Jordan, Iraq and Syria. Ancient inventory lists from Roman soldiers that occupied that region showed one of the food staples they used was a dried pasta-like food made from durum wheat that was grown in the Middle East. They would boil it in water and flavor it with whatever they had on hand such as spice and combine it with vegetables and meats such as mutton or lamb.

    These records date back more than a thousand years before Marco Polo ever went to the China. The exact means of how pasta came to Italy is debated. Some say Arab travelers and traders brought it with them. Others say it was brought back to Italy by Roman soldiers. But, even if we assume for argument's sake that Marco Polo brought "noodles" back to Italy from Asia, its origins are not "Italian." Yet, we can't say the word "pasta" without associating it with Italian cuisine.

    Other Arabic influences are seen in Italian cuisine as well. The concept of stuffing vegetables is patently Arabic. Durum wheat grown in Italy came from the Middle East.

    Another example is the combination of nuts, fruits and sugar into delicious desserts is Arabic in origin. Point in fact, Sfoliattele, which is a Sicilian pastry typically filled with ricotta, candied orange peel and sometimes flavored with a bit of almond paste or some other type of pasted nuts, is decidedly Arabic in origin. Prior to the introduction of Arabic confections to Sicily, freshly pressed wine juice and honey were the sweeteners of choice.

    Then we have Central and Northern Italy. Naples, for example, was one of Italy's busiest ports and one of the most conquered cities in all of Europe. The Kingdom of Naples has had French, Spanish, Croatian, Serbian and Austrian kings sit on its throne. Likewise, other Italian city states such as Milan and Venice also had a number of foreign rulers. To this day, the diverse ethnic influences from these foreign rulers can still be seen in Italian cuisine in these regions.

    How about tomatoes? They didn't come to Europe until after the New World was discovered in the late 15th century. Even then, tomatoes would not find their way into mainstream Italian cuisine for at least another century or so. But, when they finally did, it shaped the face of Italian cuisine that we know today. When we think of "Salsa di Pomodoro," we think "Italian" even though Italians probably weren't the first to make a sauce from tomatoes.

    Ever make stuffed tomatoes? That dish is the essence of Arabic and Western cuisine coming together on one plate.

    How about Eggplant? Who doesn't like Eggplant Parmesan? Eggplant came from India and was introduced to Italy and the rest of Europe by Arabic travelers.

    How about Bolognese? That didn't originate in Italy. While no one knows for sure where it came from, the leading theory is that it originated somewhere in the Eastern Germany/Slavik corridor of Europe. Yet, when someone mentions Pasta Bolognese, they instantly think "Italian."

    How about meatballs? There's a long standing debate over where meatballs originated. Some say Sweden. Some say Italy. Others say France. But, when someone says "meatballs" we instantly think Italian, unless, of course, someone says "Swedish meatballs" and then we think of little brown balls soaked in a rich brown mushroom gravy.

    How about the distinct similarities between the Italian tradition of "La Cucina Povera" and the French Peasant tradition? Is it a mere coincidence that Cassoulet and Cacciatore share such close similarities?

    How about Beef Bourguignon? Braising meat in red wine? Is that Italian or French? The answer to that depends on which side of the Alps you're standing on when you ask that question. :)

    Then there are the Spanish, German, Eastern European, Greek, North African and Portuguese influences that I won't get into here.

    While its definitely not my purpose to impugn French cuisine in any way, my purpose here is to bring into relief the often overlooked importance and value of Italian cuisine and its rich and diverse history and influences.

    Writing something like this is what happens when you have too much espresso. Did I mention that the concept of drinking a small cup of intensely strong coffee is also Arabic?? :)

    Thanks for indulging me. :)
     
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  8. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    sgsvirgil, I was going to bring up all these points in my next book.....
     
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  9. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Great minds think alike. ;)
     
  10. patblue

    patblue

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    Thanks sgsvirgil - very informative, and honestly, did not know most of it :)

    For the OP - study abroad for how long?
    Are we talking 3-months, 6-months, a year???
    While Ireland surely is not renowned for its cuisine if it is a short term abroad session I would wager that you will be able to take more home after 3-months in Ireland vs 3-months in Italy
    Not only due to the language (don't think your Italian will be too fluent after 3 months) but also based on the complexity of the cuisine.

    As pointed out very clearly by sgsvirgil - you have a ton of influences that make up the "modern italian" cuisine as many people know it.
    Not sure if 3, even 6-months will be enough to scratch the surface (not even considering the language barrier)...
     
  11. french fries

    french fries

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    See that's funny, I always thought of Bolognese as having French influence. After all Bolognese is a ragù, and the word ragù comes from ragoût, a classic French stew dish: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragù#History

    I'm not following you here... what similarities exactly?
     
  12. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    For starters, Cassoulet and Cacciatore both derive from the peasant tradition of one pot cooking.

    They both are a great example of doing more with less and both feature otherwise cheap ingredients that were readily available to those of little means. For instance, Cacciatore can include just about any protein that could be caught, trapped or snared by a hunter. Hence the name, "Cacciatore" which means "hunter" in Italian. These proteins traditionally include rabbit, wild boar, wild foul such as duck, pheasant, grouse, partridge, pigeon, fish and so on. Domesticated proteins such as chicken, pork, lamb, beef, mutton etc were also commonly found in Cacciatore depending on the region.

    As for the other ingredients found in Cacciatore, whatever was on hand went into the pot. Those ingredients could be onions, carrots, mushrooms (especially wild mushrooms), leeks, beans, garlic, olives, tomatoes, wine, sausage, cured meats, ham (prosciutto) herbs etc etc.

    Cassoulet, as you know, is likewise a "one pot" dish that arose in the French peasant tradition. Even the name "Cassoulet" comes from the type of pot used in making it. Like Cacciatore, Cassoulet is also slow cooked and served as a rich, hearty stew. Although the "traditional" ingredients of Cassoulet may vary from a "traditional" ingredients found in Cacciatore (which is typically rabbit), they can also share some of the same ingredients as well. Mutton, pork, beans, partridge and duck are proteins that are commonly shared between the two dishes.

    Obviously, the two dishes are not without their differences. Cacciatore can include a much wider range of ingredients and still be considered "Cacciatore." Whereas Cassoulet, like many other classic French dishes, has more defined boundaries in terms of ingredients that can be used and still be called "Cassoulet."

    Another difference is the main protein used in a traditional Cacciatore and a traditional Cassoulet. Cassoulet also features white beans whereas Cacciatore, while known to include beans, beans are not considered an essential part of the "traditional" Cacciatore recipe.

    Another difference is the use of tomatoes. Cassoulet does not call for tomatoes whereas Cacciatore is often made with tomatoes or a marinara base.

    Given the fact that Cassoulet is believed to have originated in the South of France and that is exactly the region of France that shares a border with Italy, its not surprising at all that many Italian and French dishes share such similarities. The French cooking tradition is very visible in Northern Italian cuisine.

    Cheers! :)
     
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  13. french fries

    french fries

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    Gotcha. It wasn't immediately obvious what you meant by similarities between the two dishes, you made it clear. ;)
     
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