Singles converge on Tuscany: Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. With the changing of the colors and the harvest, it is a time of many culinary traditions and favorites. Earlier this month, thirty adventurous travelers and I took to the beautiful hills of Tuscany, uncovering the best of what Tuscany has to offer. Just like an appetizer, I will share with you our top three places and activities in hopes of whetting your appetite.
Vignamaggio Vineyard and its very knowledgeable and cute guide, Lorenzo, welcomed the group to the estate for a tour, including an explanation of the Chianti Classico making process, walking through the cellars, and of course tasting the wine along with a full Tuscan style lunch. We savored multiple antipasto platters of great cheeses and meats as well as a seasonal pumpkin and porcini mushroom risotto. After lunch, we relaxed basking under the Tuscan sun amongst the breathtaking vines and the olive groves living La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life).
Knowing that some of the best souvenirs are actually recipes, over half of our STI group, signed up for a private Tuscan cooking class with none other than Villa Casagrande’s Dona Paula. In an interactive, hands-on style, Dona Paula instructed all in Italian to make the traditional bruschetta al pomodoro, a hearty stew, ribollita, and a deliciously light cookie dessert, cantucci di prato. After nearly three hours of cooking and sampling of the Villa’s Chianti Classico, all the chefs and students enjoyed the fruits of their labor. Buon appetito!
Just like any good meal, a good adventure needs a great finale. San Gimignano, the Manhattan of Tuscany, with its beautiful stone towers was the sweet ending of our trip to Tuscany. San Gimignano is known for its picturesque towers, but also two other unique delicacies: Vernacha, a dry and spicy white wine, as well as Dondoli, the award winning gelateria. The Sweet Life of Tuscany was relished one sip and one spoonful at a time.
Want to uncover the best of Tuscany or other world destinations with new friends? Check out Tuscany for Fall 2016.