Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ahh, the Food (and Wine) pt. 2

The second stop on our Italian road trip was the Chianti area of Tuscany. We left Rome and traveled about 3 hours through Lazio, Umbria, and Tuscany before arriving in Vagliagli, a small town just north of Siena.
Our Vagliagli accommodations...Villa Dievole, a working Chianti winery.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with some wine and fruit. And, no, we weren't charged a fee for opening up the bottle and eating the fruit. What a way to start our time in Chianti.

The next day we took a wine tasting tour through the winery. This was our first wine, a very nice chilled rose. It was quite light and refreshing. We tasted 5 additional wines and they got progressively better, or maybe we got progressively buzzed. If it weren't for having to get them back on the airplane, I would have brought a whole lot home with me.

Lunch on the terrazzo after our tour - we needed to eat something after all that wine so we were able to drive in the car for more sightseeing. One of my favorites...Caprese Salad...

and lunch continued with a baked gnocchi. I was gnocchi crazy on this trip. It was soooo good.

After lunch, we visited a few of the small hill towns including Castellina in Chianti and Radda in Chianti. They were both cute little towns. Of course, we had to stop and have a little wine and with a little wine, we had a little snack. I love that part!

That evening we had dinner back at the winery. The restaurant there was outstanding, but dark, so most of my pictures didn't come out. This is the only decent one. After an antipasti plate with fresh meats and cheeses, I ordered this pasta - sausage and pecorino cheese. The meal was made even better with a bottle of one of the wines from our tour.

The next day we attended a cooking school in Siena. Oh, what fun that was! You will eventually see these recipes in Tasty Tuesday because I plan on making them all now that I am home.

First off, we made pappa al pomodoro - a Tuscan tomato and bread soup. It is a very old recipe which was created by the poor to make use of stale bread and an abundance of tomatoes. Here is how it starts out....

and this is how it ends. It was amazing. Hearty and so flavorful.

To tide us over (because certainly we were starving) while our masterpieces cooked we had some bruschetta.

Here are our Tuscan cantucci (like biscotti). Made from scratch and we sampled them with a little Vin Santo.
After making and hand rolling our own pasta, called pici, we placed it on these neat trays while we waited for the water to boil.

Our cooked pici with pesto sauce. It was so good and so easy to make.

This steak was delicious. It is a Tuscan beef filet with a shallot, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil sauce. It looks rare, but it was actually seered on each side and then wrapped in foil for about 30 minutes. The meat cooked through, but kept its pink coloring. It cut like butter and tasted amazing.
After our amazing meal, we spent the rest of the day in Siena, one of my favorite cities in Italy. We certainly weren't hungry, but needed a glass of wine after a day of sightseeing. These yummy snacks accompanied our wine.
The Chianti region is an area of Italy that I had not been to before (with the exception of Siena), so this part of the trip was one of my favorites. The food, the wine, and the towns were incredible. Plus, who wouldn't love staying at a winery.
Next stop, Florence!


  1. Ohhhh the food looks heavenly! I love Italian...especially gnocchi! Italy is definately on my bucket list! You must have had a blast!!

  2. You had me at baked gnocchi.

    Oh and the rose looked beautiful and I am so jealous right now I am going to stomp my feet and blow steam out of my ears.

  3. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. NOW I'm finally hungry again!!!

    These photos look amazing. You lucky pants.

  4. Man, if it weren't for the hubby and kids I'd become your traveling partner. Each dish looked better than the next. I think you should have me and Jason over to sample your new recipes! Come on! It's only fair!!!!!

  5. So....what you're saying need another travel companion? ;) I'd make an excellent accomplice on such journeys. Just sayin'.

  6. Oh my goodness. Your trip seems so fantastically fun Pumpkin! I love that you went to cooking school in Italy! Such a fun idea! And look what you made! That is amazing!

  7. That cooking class alone would have made the trip worthwhile!! Amazing!!

    The bottle of wine at the top of the post, though... the face on the label is creepy!!

  8. Italy is on my "to do" list. Now I know who to ask when we get ready to plan our trip! What a fabulous trip you must have had!!