This week I'm sharing the trip I took to Italy in late September -- It was an incredible journey, enjoy some memories and images from the road  . . .

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a willow tree on the property, welcoming "snack" was served upon arrival, gorgeous sink and the view- that heartbreaking view!

a lovely portrait in the main sitting room of the casale, the 11th century tiny church on the property, the sitting room and amazing/old fashioned packaging of tomato sauce
post-meal detritus, pizza we made ourselves, Kristina makes her own pie at the outdoor pizza oven
the charming Giacamo explains the history of the 11th century chapel on the property

mother and son at a restaurant we visited, quince tree smells so sweet!
Karista digs into her Florentine steak with gusto!
Chef Anna, the real star of this entire event, she lovingly prepared and showed us how to make a few amazing Tuscan dishes

scenes from the day with my Diana camera
Allow me to set the scene a little for this grand adventure . . . We, the DaVinci wine storytellers, were generously welcomed into the Casale di Valle Hunting Lodge in Tuscany (about 45 minute drive from Florence), our "home" for the next week as we embarked upon a wine/food journey unlike any other. The property started as a hunting lodge for a prominent 16th century family, the Uguccionis (they married into the Medici family!), perched perfectly among vineyards, rolling hills and heroic skies -- brilliant with the fluffiest clouds and most glittering-gold, knock-the-breath-out-of-your-lungs sunsets. They say the wealthy families chose this spot to escape the heat of the city, but I believe they had aesthetics and unbridled natural beauty on their mind.

I could have spent a lifetime at this spectacular place, just taking in the patterns of light as they drifted across the aged walls and dappled across old paintings of alluring ladies, there was an ancient (yet functional!) wooden kitchen, beautiful verandas and an 11th century chapel adjacent! All this while sipping Prosecco as they vineyards in the valley burst forth with exceptional Sangiovese grapes. It was a Tuscan paradise, complete with fragrant quince trees, heady roses, out-of-control delicious, hearty food, a comfy bed -- all of this elegance was expertly stewarded by caretakers, cooks and DaVinci winemakers.

A favorite moment from these first days was getting a lesson on making pizza from Chef Anna and her comrade in cooking, Franco. These two made it look easy and coached us on the dough, toppings, and the ever-critical unspoken item in cooking: TIMING. Our pizzas cooked in about 1 minute flat in a wood-fire oven outside. A misty fog rolled in through the verdant green hills and we mangia-ed like champs. What an introduction!!

1 comment:

  1. Leela these photographs are spectacular! Tugs at my heart strings with memories of that wonderful week.


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