Tuscookany, thank you! You have gifted me with a deep love of buttered pork, rosemary focaccia bathed in olive oil, glasses full of rich brunello and creamy limoncello tiramisu. I have spent mornings walking through cool mist and spider-webbed wild flowers, afternoons rested in the sun by huge terra-cotta potted lavender, and evenings in a wild Italian cooking-fueled-passion in your cavernous kitchen. Paula "hai il mio cuore" I will return. Ciao!
The flavours of Tuscany
80 traditional and non-traditional recipes
Not just a recipe book, but a genuine overview of Tuscany's culinary history and culture, a journey in images through photographs taken specifically by expert photographers.
The volume includes recipes but also dishes enhanced by the creative touch of the Tuscookany chefs who carefully selected and wrote them with valuable tips on the wine pairings with local wines.
You never know why, who or what might happen at Francescos Olive oil Farm when we stop for lunch.
Today, as you can see Francesco is wearning his hawaiin outfit- and wearing it very well, I hope you all agree.
Sometimes lost in translation…. but never dull, he is such a colourful character.
His family have been in this house since 1421 and so to celebate their forthcoming 600 year anniversary in 2021, Francesco is already planning a huge party , which by the way, you , and I think just about the whole of Tuscany are invited to……….. watch this space on Tuscookany’s website or page.
We all sit under his tree and his mother Enza and lovely wife Olivia cook for us. A traditional Tuscan style lunch with homemade pasta, followed by desert of fresh fruit of figs and plums or whatever is available from his or his neighbours orchards. Followed by grappa, of course.
I am really looking forward to olive harvest time at Francescos. All the locals with olive trees, bring their olives for pressing for the oil. Bring your own or pick them from his trees. Then press, add some centrifugal force and voilà!! . ( don’t know that in Italian) you walk away with your own olive oil. Fantastico!
The only problem is and I have been warned, the wine and grappa are very free flowing. The harvest season is very much treated as a fiesta, a celebration, so whether or not I actrually get any olive oil or just end up getting totally sloshed and talking rubbish Italian with the locals, we shall see……………..no difference there then!0 comments | Add comment
In our organic vegetable garden at Casa Ombuto cooking school in Tuscany we have so many baby Aubergine, masses of chilies and this year has also been a bumper crop for zucchini. In a couple of weeks we will have hazelnuts, walnuts, fennel bulb and figs of course. Can’t wait for those, I can almost taste them now!!
But at the moment we have tomatoes coming out of our ears. They are so sweet and absolutely delicious. We eat them for lunch, thickly sliced like a steak or just as they are, straight from the basket that just keeps on being filled up .
Beautiful. Too many for even us to eat, so Chef Paola has been kept busy making and bottling tomato sauces for the winter.0 comments | Add comment
Our culinary tour at Tuscookany, takes us to a few local and traditional places.
I don’t want to give too much away- but the last destination on our culinary tour is always the goat farm, Formaggi di Capra in the Vallee de Mezze. Firstly we meet Brent , a Michigan born dairy farmer with a great sense of humour. Seen here with his cheese and posing with his favorite (but don’t tell the others) goat.
He came to Tuscany 23 years ago for a holiday and ended up staying and running his own farm and is kept very busy during the Summer making cheese and looking after his farm.
As you can see in the picture the goats are very well looked after. Brent wouldn’t show you his kitchen but he Is very proud of his barn!!
The goats always show off to the visitors, mostly hand reared and bottle fed and so think of Brent and the other volunteers as mom. Ahhh! They are really fun with mischievous personalities- the goats I mean not the volunteers and always make us laugh.
We are able to sample a selection of fresh and aged cheese that are available. Always different in flavour , due to the time of year and the food available to the goats in the local fields and forests. They are taken out to pasture twice daily and largely left to roam, although they never go too far from Brent. The neighbors encourage them onto their land, as sadly there are now no other animals around the area. Consequently some days the goats will have eaten chestnut and olive leaves and the next, it could have been the neighbors roses, which of course, contributes to the flavour of the milk and cheese !!
Brent hopes to see you soon on a culinary tour0 comments | Add comment
Tuscookany started giving cooking classes in Italy in Casa Ombuto well over 12 years ago and after great success added Torre del Tartufo 8 years ago. As interest grew, we realised last year that it was time to find a new villa to add to the Tuscookany group. We spent over nine months of intensive research to find the right villa with at least the same level of luxury and atmosphere as Casa Ombuto and Torre del Tartufo and YES we have FINALLY found a spectacular villa which will leave you speechless! We are happy to announce that we will be giving the one week cooking classes in Italy with Laura Giusti from 2013 onwards at:
Bellorcia is a grand Tuscan villa, renovated with impeccable taste. This luxurious villa, with its very colourful contemporary style, has a 360-degree spectacular view of the surrounding typical Tuscan landscape with rolling hills, wheat fields and cypress trees. It is situated in the breath-taking Orcia valley, which was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004 and is everything you have ever imagined Tuscany to be and an ideal location for your next cooking classes in Italy. Looking out each window in the villa is like looking at a framed painting.
Bellorcia is positioned 1 hour from Siena, 1½ hours from Florence and 2 hours from Pisa and Rome. The closest train station is Chiusi, which is 25 minutes by cab.
Laura Giusti, who has over 6 years of experience working with Tuscookany will be the Italian chef for Bellorcia and her extensive knowledge and passion will inspire you. For more details regarding Laura and her fabulous menu please visit the Tuscookany website.
Another new course we will be offering from this year is the:
Three day Italian cookery course at Casa Ombuto
We discovered that the three day cooking classes in Italy which we offer at Torre del Tartufo has become so popular for those guests who have limited vacation time or too many other places to see that we have decided to also offer three day cooking classes in Italy at Casa Ombuto from 2013 onwards. Laura Giusti will be giving this three day Italian cookery class at Casa Ombuto for limited weeks. Have a look at availability on the website.
We invite you to visit the Tuscookany website to read more about Bellorcia and our new courses.