My much-anticipated teaching trip to Rome is now over, but all good things must come to an end! The students were all very keen to learn, cake decorating in Italy is relatively new, but as always it is not just the students who learn. Here are some of my observations and findings:
Cake decorating in Italy 2010
- Sugarcraft equipment is hard to find at the moment in Italy. Most students seemed to buy via the internet. Apparently, it takes between 5 and 7 days for an order to arrive from Lindy’s Cakes!
- I was taken to a kitchen shop in Rome that stocked a range of Wilton products plus a tiny selection of other brands – 3 types of Patchwork cutters, 2 types of FMM cutters plus a few PME. These imported brands were however very pricey. A cutter sold in the shop for €9.00 we sell and ship airmail for €7.74!!!
- Biscotti – biscuits – are very popular in Italy, so decorated cookies seem to really appeal to Italian tastes. Many of the students said they had a copy of my cookies book!
A scarcity of Italian cake decorating books
- The only cake decorating books in Italian are Mich Turners, so non-English speakers just use the step by step photos in English language books. I was asked many times about having my books published in Italian – watch this space!
- Many students expressed how grateful they were that I shared my recipes and skills, I was told that traditionally in Italy a recipe stays within a family and is passed down and not shared.
- Some of the students were very generous and brought different types of traditional biscuits and sweets for me to try and very special pasta to take home. That’s what I love about travelling, being introduced, by those that know, to new tastes and flavours.
- There is a very large white building in the centre of Rome which is often referred to as ‘the wedding cake’. It’s actually the mausoleum of the first king of unified Italy.
- Cupcakes have not caught on here and cases are very hard to find. One student from Milan said it was because Italians, especially from the north, are weight conscious. So a cupcake covered in buttercream is not attractive, not what they want to eat. Perhaps mini cupcakes may be a solution?
- It seems that Italians like everything small…The cookie cutters I saw in Rome were about half the size of my designs. These being English are at least half the size of ones from the US!
A passion for cake decorating in Italy
- When describing themselves, most of my students express that cakes were not just a hobby they were their “PASSION”
- Nearly all my students worked in other jobs but many expressed a dream to work with their passion.
- The cakes we created over the 3 days created quite a stir. The venue was part of a sports club, so as word got around many visitors came to see our creations – they were generally amazed! At the end, I was even given a trophy from the club for their friendship and appreciation. What a lovely memento.