.Autumn is the the gourmet season in Tuscany. You can notice it by the huge offers of amazing festivals and sagre celebrating the season of chestnuts, mushrooms, olive oil, potatoes tortelli, truffle. Those who are more curious will see that there are several hidden places that can let discover the essence and the richness of our territory. Imagine a Tuscan farm, where grapes, olive trees, pomegranate grows, where you can stroll in a grove rich of truffles or pick vegetables from the garden, loose yourself in the private forest searching for chestnuts and porcini mushrooms.
Precious things are shown to few people. That's why our proposals are for intimate, private groups that want to enjoy a foodie day where a knowledgable guide will make them live and learn the secrets behind a typical Tuscan product of the land, touching with their hands the efforts of the men and the gifts from the land, letting them taste the best that our territory can offer.
There are few secrets to Tuscan cooking. Most dishes need no adorment or special seasoning but rely on the quality of the primary ingredients: fresh fruits and vegetables, green olive oil, meat, game, mushrooms, just to name a few.
Some of these ingredients are prized and expensive but several of the best known and tasties dishes are based on leftovers, memory of a time when Tuscan housewives couldn't afford to let anything go wasted.
Consider for example the ingenious use of stale bread:
Bruschetta, for example, is sliced stale bread, toasted, rubbed with garlic and doused with extravirgin olive oil. Crostini Neri, too, slices of toasted bread with chicken liver patè flavoured with capers. Panzanella, typical poor summer dish that combines stale bread soaked in water and crumbled with fresh red tomatoes, onions, cucumber and basil, dressed with extravifìrgin olive oil.
Maybe the most famous of all leftovers meal is Ribollita : a vegetable soup with delicious Tuscan black cabbage, carrots, beans, pieces of bread. It is a typical "poor " dish of peasant origin , whose name comes from the time when Tuscan women at the beginning of the week cooked a lot of vegetable soup reinforced with bread and then, the following days, it was "stewed " in the pan, from here it takes the name of reboiled (ribollita), because the real soup is heated and boiled twice, (otherwise it would be a trivial soup of bread and vegetables !).
Pappa al pomodoro is based on the same concept except that fresh tomatoes are used in place of the other vegetables.
Yummy, isnt't it?
It happens that our daily routine time is the thing that lacks the most. In our week days we end up making grocery 10 minutes before dinner time, we buy whatever, we spend much money and finally back home.
People like me think that cooking, preparing dinner and the table, eating togheter is a form of love for ourselves and for the relatives and friends with whom we share the table with. In front of a table and a well cooked food we talk, we laugh, we savour, we share opinions, we relax. In a sense it's also inspiring and stimulating: think about how many times you tasted a new ingredient and started thinking about pairings with other foods or wine.
All these emotions and feelings related to food and eating, make me suddendly think about WHAT we eat.
Have you ever enjoyed a dinner with a bad cooked meal or terrible choice of ingredients? Me, never.
I never buy a "product" without knowing its provenience, how it was processed, who produced it. It's a sort of nice and fascinating ritual for me getting to know the origin and the makers of an olive oil, meeting the cheese maker that is capable of make that amazing Ricotta, buying seasonal ans savoury fruits and vegetables at the Saturday market where the farmers of Valdichiana come.
It's local food, sustainable, it's surely fresher and full of nutrients, tastier and has an history to share. Do we need any other reason?
More than a wine tasting and a simple cooking class. The experience we lived together with Paola , proud wife and mother of the Baldetti's clan had something unique and truly unforgettable. Some of us made their first hand made Pasta all' Uovo with Ragu' sauce , following chef's secrets and instructions and suddendly cooking from an hidden art known by a few élite became somenthing easy! And what about pairing wine with the proper food? I know that many of us have always wandered: can I pair this wine with this pasta I prepared? Can I serve Rosè with a steak? Gianluca helped us with his suggestions, while some of us where tasting Crano wine, others grabbed in their hands a slice of Tuscan bread to check the Ragù that was simmering. and others went to the garden to choose some tomatoes and basil for bruschetta. Cooking in winery is celebration of all 5 senses, a top thing to do while exploring Tuscany!