Today provided a nice respite which our feet sorely needed. We departed the urban Roman landscape and headed north, appreciating the beautiful views of the countryside as it evolved into rolling hills, fields of poppies, rows of Cyprus and Tuscan shades of umber.
Stopping for lunch in the quaint village of Greve in Chianti, we discovered an incredible local shop our Travel Director Giuseppe recommended, Macelleria Falorni.
Here we joined some of our new Australian friends from our travel group on the patio for a wonderful lunch of fresh cheeses, salamis and french bread topped off with a delicious Chianti.
We then headed to a nearby wine and olive oil producer, Castello Vicchiomaggio where they explained their process for making their Chianti followed up of course by tastings of two of their varieties of each wine and olive oil.
Back to our very comfy coach where our driver continued to skillfully navigate the narrow winding roads to the hilltop village Colle Val D’Elsa. Our hotel is lovely and a good place to use as home base for the next couple of days. But the best was yet to come…
Tonight we had a fabulous evening on one of the trip highlights, the Be My Guest dinner. Again continuing our climb up some winding roads, we were dropped off at the end of a cypress-lined drive marking the entrance to Fatoria Di Petroio.
Owner Pamela Lenzi greeted us warmly with a gracious welcome providing us with a history of this vineyard which has been in the family for many generations. We were joined by her daughter Diana, a professionally trained chef and owner /manager of the vineyard. We were given a tour of their production facilities along with explanations of their efforts to establish themselves as a leading maker of fine Chiantis.
We were then led through heavy wooden arched doors into a charming stone and brick wine cellar with heavy wooden beams supporting the roof. The end of the room was lined with several large oak casks and the center was set with a table where we experienced Tuscan hospitality, food and wines at their finest.
Diana by this time had retreated to the kitchen where she worked her culinary magic producing a sophisticated and flavorful four-course meal.
Dinner began with a first course of fresh ricotta and chives flan on top of a bed of fresh baby lettuce lightly drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette and a few golden raisins. A basket of freshly baked French and focaccia breads. A small flask of their own olive oil was provided. A plate Ofchianti Classico salami and pecorino cheese was passed around. A Igt Rosso Toscano Poggio al Mandorlo wine was a delightful wine to accompany this first course.
We were then presented with a beautiful plate of Matriciana Chiantigiana, freshly made pasta, mixed with pancetta cooked with balsamic vinaigrette, oven roasted cherry tomato slices dressed with a warm olive oil dressing sprinkled with fresh pecorino cheese. Chianti Classico docg, balanced the flavors of this dish.
The main course was a Sage Chicken Stew with Lemon Potato Gateau and Wild Greens….this richly flavored dish delicately blended a variety of subtle flavors to a mouthwatering conclusion. Chianti Classico Reserva docg accompanied this course providing it’s own wonderful blend of subtle but palate pleasing tastes. (oops, it was so good we forgot to take a picture before we ate it all!)
Finally we ended the evening with a delightful dessert of Panna Cotta with Hot Chocolate&Wine accompanied by Vinsanto for our final drink. The panna cotta was simply heavenly. The hot chocolate and wine was developed by an area chocolate specialist and very sadly we were not able to get any to take home.
There will be sweet dreams in Tuscany tonight….this is Lauren and Linda signing out….Ciao Baby!