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Food & Wine

What ever attracts you to Tuscany, a desire to eat great food and drink great wine – casually – is surely high on the list.  Great food can be enjoyed SO CASUALLY in this area, particularly in the Summer. You want to learn about Tuscan food and wine, or just eat like a Tuscan? you don’t necessarily need a to attend a class or eat out in the best restaurants either.  How to eat like a Tuscan? incorporate buying, preparing and enjoying great food into each day.  It’s so simple.

To grasp what I am talking about forget everything you know about cooking – and start to consider the concept of UN cooking, instead.  Consider buying and eating INGREDIENTS ‘directly’. An example: you ordered the very typical Tuscan plate of ‘Affetati Misti’ literally translated as mixed slices plate in a restaurant. You are buying ingredients. The minimal work required to get the ingredients cut and on to the plate is not really cooking.  Melon with proscuitto ham also is not cooked but assembled, as is the eternal Italian favourite Italian Mozzarella tomato & basil salad the Insalata Caprese. All over Tuscany all Summer long the families are sitting down to lunches as simple as a few slices of just picked tomatoes, a handful of garden fresh basil with cheese, or a perfectly ripe melon with some excellent salty Tuscan prosciutto – with crusty bread and Tuscan Olive Oil and probably a glass of red. Ingredients. If you want to learn about Tuscan Summer food, buying and tasting the local produce is a great way to go.

In the Summer particularly it is so easy to make and enjoy a super supper using 2 or 3 ‘ingredients’.  Local Cheeses and Salami or Prosciutto, as mentioned above – so simple, so good. Get them pre – sliced in the store where you buy them, even.  Add a beautiful setting (your room or the garden) some crusty bread and a great bottle of wine for a truly relaxing meal at home.

You don’t have to go to the supermarket, either. Imagine: you’re out strolling some gorgeous hill town.  Being such a huge part of daily life, food – and buying food takes up a large percentage of commercial activity any where you go in Tuscany. Take the tiny hill town of Pienza, for example.  The local speciality of ‘Pecorino di Pienza’ sheep’s cheese is offered on sale up and down the tiny main street and in side streets too. You can taste it in the restaurants, you can bring some home.  We would suggest that the buying a small selection (such as fresh, semi mature and mature) is the thing to do if visiting Pienza.  So you have your cheese – and probably accompaniments of bread, honey, fruit…Bring it all home and assemble!

So it’s second time around and you want to try something a little different… such as that Insalata Caprese, or you want to make a fresh garden Pesto to enjoy with pasta? Buy your Buffalo Mozzarella from the local maker about 8 minutes away – convenient for a stop in on your way back from Cortona, for example.  Close by find our absolute favourite Tuscan food store which is a joy to shop in for bread and wine and any thing else you might require. Absolute kitchen essentials – good Olive oil, salt and pepper – are provided for you in our Summer Kitchen so that you don’t need to buy a whole bottle when you only need a drop. Tomatoes when they’re ripe (July through to the end of September) are generously planted in all shapes and sized in the house vegetable plot that you are welcome to pick from – and basil is typically abundant here during the same period. We also have a little know how since living here so long to help you to figure out what you need bring home to make them as well as help with preparation methods when anything beyond simply slicing is required.

If you are as sure as sure that there’s no way you could consider preparing at any level for your self, there is an alternative way to eat in – with advance notice, as well as several EXCELLENT places to eat out very close by. To eat in in the evening you must have planned ahead a little because the key is to order a ‘second breakfast’ that we prepare during our daily breakfast shift.

Close by there are several excellent local restaurants starting with the closest being (1.5km) on the organically farmed estate that the house is set within we are in the heart of the DOC for Tuscan Chianina (White Ox) Beef.  The prince of Japan was here last year to eat steak at the ‘Toraia’ (bull house restaurant) in the centre of the farm. Advance booking is required in our local restaurants on Friday, Saturday and Sunday when our favourite spots can be busy with local diners.

Breakfast at the house is made with the ethos outlined above, the slow food philosophy that living in Italy has taught us.  All as fresh as possible, just baked or just cut.  Highest quality ingredients included boutique tea and coffee.  We provide an expansive spread of excellent local produce, and our own garden produce for you to taste. If you eat everything you may well decide you don’t need to stop for lunch.

Often we cater for Wheat Free, Gluten Free & Celiac guests – as well as Vegan or Vegetarian and indeed if you have particular requirements never hesitate to let us know.