On Thursday, December 4th, 2014, The students in Culinary Arts travelled up to Atwells Avenue in Providence to learn about Italian foods from Ms. Cindy Salvato, a former Johnson and Wales professor and regular tour guide. We met at DePasquale Plaza where Ms. Salvato gave us a history lesson on the Federal Hill area, then proceeded to guide us to Antonelli Poultry, the only fresh poultry (as in REALLY fresh) purveyor in Rhode Island and in business since 1853.
Our trip to Federal Hill was a fun and delicious adventure. We wandered through a wonderland of Italian cuisine and learned a lot along the way. From the nastiest parts of poultry production to the nicest bits of bread baking, every stop was educational, showing a new side even to common American foods. The lessons we learned about olive oil in particular will add some clean, healthy flavor to the cooking I do in the future, and I’m looking forward to trying it out. –Rosie Randolph
Mr. Chris Morris, current manager and of Portuguese and Italian descent, introduced himself to us in the safety of the store before taking us into the back room, where customers choose their subject of choice (from chickens, ducks, turkeys, guinea hens, partridge, roosters, quail, even rabbits) before being slaughtered, eviscerated, and bagged for the trip home (about 3 to 4000 a month). All of us were fascinated, intrigued, and appalled, with plenty of questions for the very kind and informative Mr. Morris. The overpowering stench of bird droppings in an enclosed space was not for the faint of heart.
Both a cozy place to get warm and a relief from the poultry shop, Scialo Brothers bakery generously shard their time and expertise with the students. Ms. Scialo, one of three sisters who now runs the shop, spent the first part telling of the store’s specialty breads and desserts, along with a bit of history. The students, by this point, were enticed by the glorious smells emanating from the bakery, so any tastes were more than welcome.
From the one room, everyone was ushered into the large and airy bakery, where coffee, juice and many cupcakes awaited the delighted Abbey students. The ovens being lit next was no small doing; when the baker made the oven whoosh, glow, and heat up with the fire, everyone was mesmerized.
The baker then took a few balls of dough and expertly kneaded and rolled it into their specialties.
Moving over to another table, Ms. Scialo presented some special occasion cakes, and the decorator showed how to make roses out of both frosting and fondant. Ms. Salvato then hosted an olive oil tasting, with the Scialo’s own bread. (Needless
to say, the students now know better tha
n to buy most of the mass-produced olive oil sold in supermarkets.)
Next up was Venda Ravioli, the beautiful Italian market, deli and restaurant off the square, where Ms. Salvato shared her extensive knowledge of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar, with healthy tastes of each. Our appetites whetted, we took off for Caffe Roma, but not before a quick stop at another Italian market, Tony’s Colonial. After indulging in excellent pizza, time allowed for returning to any of the tour stops in order to make purchases. Students came bag with bags of breads, cake, cookies, pasta, and the like. But no chicken.