tuscany

A stellar lunch

Pappardelle are an egg pasta shape typical of Tuscany. The land of hunt for excellence endorses this pasta with meat based sauces, such as hare, wild boar and the association of truffles and mushrooms. I love the fact that some products can only be found in certain locations at a certain time of the year, hence making them all the more appealing and their consumption celebratory. I remember going mushroom hunting, as a kid, in the Monte Amiata area, nearby Siena. Running free into the wild to then come back home and prepare all sorts of sauces and conserves. Whereas mushrooms can also be identified by amateurs, the white truffle hunting is a unique blend of heritage and expertise. Hunts are conducted with professionals of the sector, along with dogs endowed with a special nose for all things truffly.

An ingredient very difficult to find away from Italy, I was happy to be able to have it on my table for lunch this morning, thanks to the Tiberino products. What's amazing is that, since 2007, these products are at the forefront of the food supply for the austronautes on mission aboard the International Space Station with NASA. I wonder if they, like me, opt for a “scarpetta”: after overindulging in my pappardelle with mushrooms and white truffle oil, you take a piece of bread and clean the rest of the plate off the delicious leftover sauce. Strictly with your hands. Beware of all imitations.

With love and pappardelle,

Eleonora

Ecstatic Tuscan Food Revelations

A memorable food experience will fill you with pure joy and #foodhappiness whenever your mind casually crosses that smell again. IMG_3876

When I was a child, I used to spend many Easter holidays in the Tuscan countryside with my family. The latest international allure that this region has taken over the last decade recently left my real Italianness rather disappointed with the quality of the dishes.

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I felt that the usual care and that handmade "je ne sais quoi" were gone. For good. Until I entered Gli Attortellati, a family run farm and restaurant located just minutes from Grosseto.

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Literally, the term "attortellati" refers to those fellows who like to sit, eat, play and talk altogether... for hours. It certainly wasn't difficult for my friends and I to get completely overwhelmed by the atmosphere and the savoury dishes. About 12 of them, yep you hear me well, in authentic vintage Italian food tradition.

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All dishes were carefully crafted in front of our eyes. Lasagne, chestnut gnocchi and the queen of them all: tortelli. Filled with chard, fresh ricotta and nutmeg, these little pieces of heaven were served with an exceptional ragù sauce.

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It's great to know that these guys, having many hectares' worth of space, have opted for the plantation of the so-called lost fruits, that is those fruits which are in danger and are in need to be recuperated. Amongst those, the Scosciamonache (litterally, unveiling nuns), the most delicious quality of plum you could ever dare to dream of.

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Each year, at the end of the summertime, they make fruit preserves, which is exactly what I do too. I normally give them out as presents to my Cooking Workshops subscribers throughout the year.

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They make terrific wintery pies. But that's another story, and another blogpost. Talk to you soon,

Eleonora