No tour of Tuscany is complete without a culinary discussion. And not surprisingly, food is a reoccurring theme for us. Is it because the ingredients are so fresh that food tastes better there? Maybe it’s the artisan and farm to table fare? The sensuousness of the culture? The fine local wines? Or is it simply dining al fresco?
Whatever the reason, we all agree that food tastes better in Italy.
And Italians do amazing things with cured meats. Below are piled up samples or rustic meats and breads at the May food festival in Lucca, called the Anteprima.
La CHIUSA di NANNI
MARY LEE and MARINA
This menu is from the fabulous meal that was prepared for us by longtime friends Mary Lee Damutz and her daughter, Marina, who live in a small rural village, Nocchi. The raviolis were made from scratch in our kitchen while we watched. Marina had picked the nettles and borage for the filling that morning. Below, on another occasion, they are showing us how to make tiramisu!
Below you see them on the table
with fresh pasta and salad! Yum…
The ambience and appetites improve as the shadows lengthen!
Here’s rustic bread from the festival in Altopascio.
My favorite is the dark walnut bread
in small round loaves.
Tuscany is filled with small eateries that ooze with local color. Perfect for a lunch, or inspiration for a painting!
Another fabulous May in Tuscany!
Linda Nye and I had so much fun last year that we vowed to return — after all, there is NO POSSIBILITY you can see and do everything the first time you come to Italy! Returning is the only way. This year we brought two new groups of seven to paint, visit interesting places, take hundreds of pictures, walk in the hills and sample tuscan wines, olives, meats, cheeses and breads. Janet Parker, of Oregon Botanical Artists fame, joined us for the month to help with logistics.
So much to tell
Mary Lee took seven of us into Florence
for a tour on Saturday before the workshop started.
We spent a good bit of the time looking up,
and with our mouths open!
Part of the joy for me is seeing it reflected on the
faces of the people we bring.
Clearly, Janet is having an “Oh My” moment!
We couldn’t loose our leader in the crowd, wearing these bright yellow pants!
at the Museo di San Marco
Above, Carol (right) takes the lead.
We stopped for lunch at a steak house across the Ponte Vecchio. The food was terrific and we taste tested their deserts. I think Linda expresses how satisfied we all felt when we left!
at the Bargello Museum
Florence is full of characters
These young men knew what we did not — that we were traveling with an Australian movie star, alias My Allred! They were convinced she was the real thing (and they are right, she IS sexy!)