Friday, December 2, 2011

San Miniato White Truffles Fair, 2011

Located halfway between Pisa and Florence, San Miniato is a medieval hilltop town with a beautiful historic centre, dominated by the cathedral, the Episcopal palace, the municipal palace and the tower fortress. It overlooks the Arno, Era and Egola valleys.

White truffles from the area

The beautiful area around San Miniato produces around a quarter of Italy's white truffles, a fact celebrated by this quaint medieval town in its annual fair on the second, third and fourth weekends of November.
As well as stalls and tastings with fresh truffles, there are open-air plays, marching bands, special menus in restaurants, and a local market.

Pecorino cheese (sheep's milk) with white truffles
Here are some more pictures from the fair....

Local olives

The San Miniato National White Truffle Market transforms the city into a huge open-air tasting workshop for the entire month of November. Here the truffle is king, displayed in all its glory in the historical Piazza del Duomo. Other squares around the town also have their own markets, which are a tribute to the typical flavours of the hill country around San Miniato. 

View from the tower fortess
Ready to get to know Tuscany?..... Ciao, a presto!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pasta Burro e Basilico

I would not call this dish a typical Tuscan one, but it has been one of my favorite and my mom specialty since I was a little kid. 
It is a very simple and quick dish to make, and it does not require any cooking. It is just perfect for those summer days when you do not want to turn on your stove. 
Since we started our tours in 2007, pasta burro e basilico has been one of  our guests favorite dishes, so I decided to make it and post my mom's recipe. I truly hope that you and your family, will enjoy it as much as we always do. 

Pasta with butter and fresh basil.

Ingredients (4 people)
- 400 gr Spaghetti
- 2 garlic cloves 
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
-`Plenty of fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup of Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil

- Crush 2 garlic cloves and add those with all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.
-In the mean time cook pasta in salt water until cooked "al dente". Drain and immediately put pasta in the large bowl. Mix well and add some extra grated parmesan cheese and olive oil. 
- Serve with few basil leaves on top and enjoy.

Seriously, you could make this dish in less than 15 minutes. Let me know how it will turn out. 

Buon appetito e a presto!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Panzano in Chianti, one of the most beautiful place on earth.

The giant bronze statue of Saint Francis of Assisi looking over the vineyards of Il Molino di Grace.

Il Molino di Grace is a beautiful winery located in Panzano in Chianti, between Greve and Castellina, in the heart of the conca d'oro (Golden shell: name for its amphitheater shape) area of Chianti Classico.
The Conca d'Oro is blessed with a perfect micro-climate, with a high altitude, and majority of south facing vineyards.  
In 1995, Frank Grace and his son Tim Grace fell in love with this place and decided to purchase these vines and start a winery. Today Il Molino di Grace (windmill of Grace), is one of the best winery in the area, producing wines of exceptional quality under the consulting of Franco Bernabei, using only Sangiovese grapes.

The winery is also sustainable, using 100% organic fertilizer. Their top wine is called Gratius, a single vineyard Sangiovese, but my favorite is always been their Chianti Classico Riserva... absolutely gorgeous!
I just want to thank the Grace family for making such amazing wines, where only the local grape Sangiovese shines through.
Visit Il Molino di Grace with us, and have a private tour with Tim Grace, one of the most passionate and nicest person that I've ever met.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Varramista... a Very Special Place

Villa Varramista estate are located just outside the small village of Capanne, my family's hometown. 
Varramista has a long history that dates back to 1300. The Republic of Florence donated the Varramista estate to Gino di Neri Capponi who led the Florentine army to victory against the city of Pisa in 1406. Gino di Neri Capponi is said to have built the Villa as a solid outpost against the Pisans.

The villa, as it stands today, was completed between 1580 and 1589.
It's fame as the Piaggio's (designers and manufacturers of the legendary Vespa scooter) country residence has grown in recent decades.
Varramista belonged to the Capponi counts from 1406 until 1953, when Dr. Enrico Piaggio, purchased it. 
This spectacular estate welcomes you with a striking driveway of oak trees. The current entrance to the Villa whichi dates to 1600; brings you to an Italian style gardens and fountains. The estate produce olive oil and one of the greatest Italian wines I have ever taste  made entirely from Syrah grapes.
Inside the Villa's main room, the first exemplar of the 1946 legendary Vespa scooter takes its place.

Just outside the property, my father's uncle was executed by the German Nazis at the end of WWII.
Vanni Leopoldo Salardo was only thirty five years old (about my age today), when he died. He was the one "guilty" of helping the US army, that was coming from the south.
The picture posted, show the commemorative plaque that was given to our family by the mayor in the 56 anniversary of his death. 



Hello and welcome to Tuscany.
Join us for the trip of your lifetime. A Presto!