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Good Tastes of Tuscany
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tuscany cooking class,florence cooking class,wine tours tuscany
tuscany cooking class,florence cooking class,wine tours tuscany

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Itineraries in Tuscany
PISA'S MOUNTAINS: THE OLIVE OIL ROAD
From the highs to the sea

The Mountains above Pisa and Lucca are well knows for their extra-virgin olive oil. It is an important area because documents written centuries ago confirm that olives were cultivated since the Middle Ages. The types of olives, the soil's characteristics, the climate and wheather, the harvesting and pressing methods became the signature aspects of the famous olive oil from Pisa that, in 19th century, received awards throughout international fairs.

But a good Tuscan or a Tuscany lover cannot live only on perfect olive oil, can he? Pisa mountains are famous for traditional villages, monuments and thermal baths, not to mention the many nature trails reaching the coasts of the Tyrrhenian Sea from the mountains. The most important one is the olive oil road of Monti Pisani and covers almost 150 km. Now, let's see some of the most typical towns you can encounter while crossing the road.


Buti
A small town touching the eastern Pisa Mountains. The Romanesque church of San Francesco in the main square is one of the reasons to stop by this village and one of the best Tuscan example of Romanesque art. Towards modern times, there is the Francesco di Bartolo Theatre, built in 1842.

Calci
Calci is one of the most charming village of Valle Graziosa, a "nice valley" where youcan find convents, olive trees, churches and chestnut woods. The "Certosa" is a monumental complex built in 1366.

Vicopisano
It is a medieval village resting on a hill on the east of Monti Pisani. The Castle, although very modern, is worth a visit: you will see the Arno Valley from San Miniato to the sea. On the contrary, the Stronghold was built in 1435 by Brunelleschi.

San Giuliano Terme
San Giuliano Terme is the center of a network of interesting historical itineraries including a Medici Villa and an aqueduct. San Giuliano is known for thermal baths since the Etruscan and early Roman age.

Vecchiano
Vecchiano is for beach and sea lovers: it is one of the best place during Summer!


Finally, how not to mention the traditional cuisine that you can find in the Pisan mountains, with the "torta coi bischeri" on top.

More articles and recipes on our blog: https://goo.gl/Vi3vy6
Do you want to experience Tuscany like a local? Visit our website: https://goo.gl/UpUXXu
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08/08/17
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Itineraries in Tuscany
PISA'S MOUNTAINS: THE OLIVE OIL ROAD
From the highs to the sea

The Mountains above Pisa and Lucca are well knows for their extra-virgin olive oil. It is an important area because documents written centuries ago confirm that olives were cultivated since the Middle Ages. The types of olives, the soil's characteristics, the climate and wheather, the harvesting and pressing methods became the signature aspects of the famous olive oil from Pisa that, in 19th century, received awards throughout international fairs.

But a good Tuscan or a Tuscany lover cannot live only on perfect olive oil, can he? Pisa mountains are famous for traditional villages, monuments and thermal baths, not to mention the many nature trails reaching the coasts of the Tyrrhenian Sea from the mountains. The most important one is the olive oil road of Monti Pisani and covers almost 150 km. Now, let's see some of the most typical towns you can encounter while crossing the road.


Buti
A small town touching the eastern Pisa Mountains. The Romanesque church of San Francesco in the main square is one of the reasons to stop by this village and one of the best Tuscan example of Romanesque art. Towards modern times, there is the Francesco di Bartolo Theatre, built in 1842.

Calci
Calci is one of the most charming village of Valle Graziosa, a "nice valley" where youcan find convents, olive trees, churches and chestnut woods. The "Certosa" is a monumental complex built in 1366.

Vicopisano
It is a medieval village resting on a hill on the east of Monti Pisani. The Castle, although very modern, is worth a visit: you will see the Arno Valley from San Miniato to the sea. On the contrary, the Stronghold was built in 1435 by Brunelleschi.

San Giuliano Terme
San Giuliano Terme is the center of a network of interesting historical itineraries including a Medici Villa and an aqueduct. San Giuliano is known for thermal baths since the Etruscan and early Roman age.

Vecchiano
Vecchiano is for beach and sea lovers: it is one of the best place during Summer!


Finally, how not to mention the traditional cuisine that you can find in the Pisan mountains, with the "torta coi bischeri" on top.

More articles and recipes on our blog: https://goo.gl/Vi3vy6
Do you want to experience Tuscany like a local? Visit our website: https://goo.gl/UpUXXu
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08/08/17
2 Photos - View album

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FRITTELLE DI RISO
Sweet Rice Dumplings
https://goo.gl/kfNq1t

Ingredients (serves 6):
• 150 g rice
• 750 ml milk
• 1 tbs sugar
• 40 g butter
• a pinch of salt
• the zest of one non-waxed lemon
• 75 g flour
• 3 eggs, separated
• 50 g sultanas, soaked in 100 ml of vin santo
• peanut oil for frying

Procedure
Boil the milk with the sugar, salt, zest and butter. Add the rice and cook on a low heat until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Add the flour, baking flour, egg yolks and sultanas with the vin santo to
the warm milk. Let the mixture rest for a couple of hours or more. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold them into the rice mixture. Fry spoonfuls of the mixture in the hot oil until golden. Strain them and drain them on kitchen paper. Roll them in sugar and serve.

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FLAN DI VERDURE
Vegetable Flan
https://goo.gl/oM7NEp

Ingredients (serves 6):
• 800 g mixed vegetables (such as leek, carrot, zucchini, broccoli or cauliflower)
• ½ L liquid cream
• 4 whole eggs
• 4 egg whites
• grated parmesan
• salt and pepper
• 4 T olive oil

Procedure
Cut the vegetable/s of choice into small pieces, wash and then add to a saucepan with the olive oil and let cook on a medium flame for about 25 minutes. Let cool, then place in a bowl, adding all of the remaining ingredients. With a hand mixer (not beaters) blend all ingredients together. Take small moulds, similar to those you would use for creme caramel, then cover all of the inside with a light coating of melted butter. Fill the moulds to about ¾ with the mixture. Place the moulds in a baking dish filled to about ¾ with water. This creates a bainmarie. Place carefully in the oven to cook at 160°C for 40 minutes.

** A mix of any available vegetables can be used for this recipe. **
** To make a flan of multicoloured layers, cook and mix the different types of vegetables separately, as above. When filling the moulds, just alternate the different coloured vegetables.**

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FOUR FLAVOR-BASED TOURS
IN FLORENCE
and its surroundings

The area around Florence is the perfect place for countless types of traditional and genuine foods: extra-virgin olive oil, saffron, meat, artichokes and onions, chestnut and - of course - wine. Let’s explore four flavor-based tours in Florence and surroundings.

Onion and Artichoke. Certaldo onion is described in Boccaccio’s Decameron: it is a local variety of red onion with a sweet flavor. It can be found in two types: ‘statina’ in spring and summer, ‘vernina’ during autumn. Empoli is instead the birthplace for a compact and bright green artichoke, very typical.

Fettunta and Saffron. In november and december the olives of the Florentine regione are harvested and pressed: you can find a lot of extra-virgin olive oil fairs and festivals. In the numerous presses the visitors can observe how olives transform into oil. On the other hand, october is the month of saffron, the Crocus Sativus flower is gathered and dried, in a harvesting process by hand. This is a very different saffron from the one you can usually find in the markets.

Chestnut and “Fiorentina”. Mugello is an area situated in northeast Tuscany, a few kilometers north of Florence. It is famous for two main reasons: its wonderful chestnut groves, where the famous PGI Mugello chestnuts are gathered; its cattle breeding, with two types of cows, Chianina and Limousine, base for the famous “Fiorentina” steaks.

A glass of Wine. DOCG Chianti Classico and DOCG Chianti are known all over the world and are named after the region of Chianti, broken down into four production sub-areas: Chianti Rufina, Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Chianti Montespertoli and Chianti Montalbano. The Florentine area is full of fairs and festivals of wine and grapes.
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FOUR FLAVOR-BASED TOURS
IN FLORENCE
and its surroundings

The area around Florence is the perfect place for countless types of traditional and genuine foods: extra-virgin olive oil, saffron, meat, artichokes and onions, chestnut and - of course - wine. Let’s explore four flavor-based tours in Florence and surroundings.

Onion and Artichoke. Certaldo onion is described in Boccaccio’s Decameron: it is a local variety of red onion with a sweet flavor. It can be found in two types: ‘statina’ in spring and summer, ‘vernina’ during autumn. Empoli is instead the birthplace for a compact and bright green artichoke, very typical.

Fettunta and Saffron. In november and december the olives of the Florentine regione are harvested and pressed: you can find a lot of extra-virgin olive oil fairs and festivals. In the numerous presses the visitors can observe how olives transform into oil. On the other hand, october is the month of saffron, the Crocus Sativus flower is gathered and dried, in a harvesting process by hand. This is a very different saffron from the one you can usually find in the markets.

Chestnut and “Fiorentina”. Mugello is an area situated in northeast Tuscany, a few kilometers north of Florence. It is famous for two main reasons: its wonderful chestnut groves, where the famous PGI Mugello chestnuts are gathered; its cattle breeding, with two types of cows, Chianina and Limousine, base for the famous “Fiorentina” steaks.

A glass of Wine. DOCG Chianti Classico and DOCG Chianti are known all over the world and are named after the region of Chianti, broken down into four production sub-areas: Chianti Rufina, Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Chianti Montespertoli and Chianti Montalbano. The Florentine area is full of fairs and festivals of wine and grapes.
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OSSOBUCO
Tuscan braised veal shanks
https://goo.gl/Uy59r8

Ossobuco means ‘bone’ and ‘hole’ and refers to the bone marrow inside of the veal shank that helps give this dish such a wonderful flavour.

Ossobuco was already made during the 18th century, but it did not include tomatoes yet, because they became a common ingredient only between the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.

Despite some authors believe that Ossobuco has a very recent history, we know for sure that it became so famous thanks to the Italian migrants, who brought it from Lombardy, its birth place, to the rest of the world.

Ingredients (serves 4):
• 4 veal shanks, cut 3 cms thick
• 1 onion
• 1 stalk of celery
• 1 carrot
• 20 g butter
• olive oil
• 1 tin of peeled tomatoes
• 1 tbsp flour

Procedure
Make a ‘battuto’ with the onion, celery and carrot. This means simply to finely chop everything. In a saucepan unite 4 tbsp olive oil and 20 g butter. Add the vegetables and cook on a low flame for 10 minutes. Lightly cover the ossobuco with the flour and then add to the saucepan. Add salt and pepper, the tinned tomatoes (first blend in a food processor) and cook, covered for about 1 ½ hours on a low flame. The sauce that you have at the end is optimal for topping a rice pilaf or baked potatoes to accompany the ossobuco.

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RAVIOLI RIPIENI DI NOCI E MELANZANE
Eggplant and Walnut Ravioli
https://goo.gl/WA6eRj

Did you know that ravioli’s origins, one of the most worldly know kind of Italian pasta, may be more widespread than anyone thought?

The earliest written mention we know about it is in the letters of a merchant of Prato (a Tuscan city near Florence) in the 14th century, but ravioli may be older than that: in Sicily and Malta there were some kind of pasta, the ravjul/ravioli, stuffed with local ricotta before they appear in northern Italy.

However, southern and northern Italy have different climates reflecting in their cusines: for example, the dry kind of pasta we know today was invented in Sicily, while Tuscany developed fresh pasta like the ravioli the world loves so much today. A kind of pasta we make traditionally at our cooking classes.

Ingredients (serves 6):
For the Pasta:
refer to recipe in our Recipe Book (you can have it for free)!

For the Filling:
• 300 g fresh sheep ricotta

• 6 tablespoons grated parmesan

• 2 eggs

• salt and pepper

• 2 large eggplants

• 100 g shelled walnuts

• 1 cup of hot water

Procedure
Peel the eggplants and cut into slices of about 1 cm thick. Heat a frypan with a thin layer of salt covering the bottom. Do not add oil, only the salt. When the frypan is hot, add the slices of eggplant and grill until they are light brown. Place on a plate and cover with a drizzling of olive oil. With a kitchen aid or a blender crush the walnuts with the eggplant, ricotta, parmesan, salt and pepper to form a creamy filling. Do this QUICKLY, don’t over process. You need to do this just enough so that the ingredients blend together but too much! Roll the fresh pasta very thinly on a pasta board (or similar surface) and place teaspoons of the mixture in a line about 5-6 cms apart. Fold over the half of the pasta without the mixture onto the other half that is holding the ricotta/eggplant mixture. With your finger press down firmly between each ‘mound’ and then use the pasta cutter to separate each ravioli. In a large frypan melt the butter with 10 fresh sage leaves, then add 1 ladle of the pasta water. The water is added to prevent the butter from burning and helps it ‘cling’ to the pasta. When the ravioli are cooked gently remove from the water with a large strainer (never tip out into a spaghetti strainer as they will break) and add to the frypan with the butter/sage. Sautè together for about 2 minutes. Place on the plates, sprinkle with grated parmesan & black pepper. If you like truffles this is the time to also grate onto the ravioli!
*Alternatively, you can substiute the eggplant and walnuts and replace with artichokes (see the Carciofi Trifolata recipe) to make ‘Artichoke Ravioli’*

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Itineraries in Tuscany
THE TUSCAN MILK ROUTE, IN MUGELLO

Not far away from Florence, in the north-eastern mountains, there lies the area of Mugello. On one hand, Mugello is immersed in the green of the woods. On the other, it is enriched by several artistic and historical monuments, such as the Castle of Trebbio and the Medici Villa of Cafaggiolo, both part of the World Heritage according to UNESCO.

But Mugello is not only about nature and culture. The area is well known for its products: honey, extra-virgin olive oil, chestnuts, a particular kind of ravioli but, above all, for its milk. In fact, in Mugello milk is called "the white gold" meaning its simplicity and purity. Those rare qualities are due to some good traditional farming practices: cows can easily graze in controlled and saved areas and, in general, there is a kind of intimate respect for this production cycle.

The best farms in Mugello are part of a Tuscan itinerary called "La Via del Latte" - the Milk Route - that runs along town like San Piero a Sieve, Borgo San Lorenzo, Barberino del Mugello. This special route allows visitors to learn the stages of milk processing and, above all, they can combine a learning activity with a very satisfying taste experience.

More articles and recipes on our blog: https://goo.gl/Vi3vy6
Do you want to experience Tuscany like a local? Visit our website: https://goo.gl/UpUXXu
PhotoPhotoPhoto
25/07/17
3 Photos - View album

Post has attachment
Itineraries in Tuscany
THE TUSCAN MILK ROUTE, IN MUGELLO

Not far away from Florence, in the north-eastern mountains, there lies the area of Mugello. On one hand, Mugello is immersed in the green of the woods. On the other, it is enriched by several artistic and historical monuments, such as the Castle of Trebbio and the Medici Villa of Cafaggiolo, both part of the World Heritage according to UNESCO.

But Mugello is not only about nature and culture. The area is well known for its products: honey, extra-virgin olive oil, chestnuts, a particular kind of ravioli but, above all, for its milk. In fact, in Mugello milk is called "the white gold" meaning its simplicity and purity. Those rare qualities are due to some good traditional farming practices: cows can easily graze in controlled and saved areas and, in general, there is a kind of intimate respect for this production cycle.

The best farms in Mugello are part of a Tuscan itinerary called "La Via del Latte" - the Milk Route - that runs along town like San Piero a Sieve, Borgo San Lorenzo, Barberino del Mugello. This special route allows visitors to learn the stages of milk processing and, above all, they can combine a learning activity with a very satisfying taste experience.

More articles and recipes on our blog: https://goo.gl/Vi3vy6
Do you want to experience Tuscany like a local? Visit our website: https://goo.gl/UpUXXu
PhotoPhotoPhoto
25/07/17
3 Photos - View album
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