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UT Foodie Tastes Her Way Through Italy

Published: October 20, 2010
Francesca Coviello ’11 spends her days buying fresh spinach in the local farmer’s market, tasting the famous Pecorino cheese and photographing zucchini flowers. Studying food writing and photography at Apicius International School of Hospitality in Florence, Italy, Coviello is enjoying every morsel of her study abroad experience this semester.

“I feel extremely privileged,” said Coviello, a senior communication major who hopes the experience shapes her future as a food writer. “I am not just taking these classes because they are appropriate in Italy and fascinating subjects. Food is a passion of mine, and selecting these courses was an obvious decision.”

Coviello was asked by UT’s Admissions Office to blog about her experience and is regularly posting the fruits of her studies. From her delicious meals (spinach-and-ricotta-stuffed ravioli with porcini mushrooms, cream and truffle oil) to the discoveries of new flavors and cooking techniques, Coviello is doing what she loves – eating and writing.

“Writing comes very easily to me, so writing for a living would be the ultimate job, but I am also interested in the production aspects of communications,” said Coviello, who dreams of being the next Food Network star. “Being in Italy studying food communications is a huge step toward my career in writing; it’s also a tremendous growing opportunity for me transitioning into adulthood.”

Coviello’s interest in food is familial. Her Italian grandfather married her German grandmother who Coviello said learned to cook from her in-laws.

“I have always been attracted to the simplicity and flavor of the Italian food that I grew up eating,” said Coviello. “I have always loved watching people cook and learning about different recipes and food cultures.”

Coviello attended Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, this month, which provided a nice contrast to her Italian food studies. Instead of pasta, she discovered Wiener Schnitzel and bratwurst. In one blog entry, she described her experience searching for street food.

“I had a foot-long bratwurst to start, and as the night progressed I consumed French fries and a roasted half chicken. Using my fingers to devour the tender, juicy meat while letting the grease smother my hands, it was honestly the best tasting poultry I had ever had,” Coviello wrote. “German food is very authentic at an event like Oktoberfest. It’s almost impossible to find a bad meal, and there are plenty of hungry people to feed.”

While in college and living off campus, Coviello found joy in cooking for her roommates and friends. As a UT student, she said she has taken a broad range of classes from scriptwriting, documentary traditions, studio television and digital arts, which encouraged her to find a concentration she could be passionate about.

“Food is universal, both wanted and needed everywhere by everyone,” Coviello said. “For me, it’s not just about writing how something tastes; it’s about sharing the sensations and surroundings revolving around an individual dish or entire meal.”

Coviello remains in Florence until Dec. 19, and will return home to New York right before the holidays. Follow her adventures on the blog A Spartan Abroad .

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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