With my recent move and subsequent soul-searching, I haven’t had much time to sit down and think. But since this is the new year and all, I figured I should at least start by getting the rest of last year’s news off my desktop. I didn’t get to share my trip to Tuscany, and I was so looking forward to it. I’ll just give an abbreviated version here, but in short, I HIGHLY recommend the agritourismo we stayed at, Poggio de Papi, nestled on a hillside outside of Firenze. Apart from being blown away by the beautiful grounds, the sweeping views, and the resident donkey, I was giddy with delight over the inn’s resident cook–actually, the innkeeper’s wife. They were such a lovely couple, proud Tuscans through and through!
One of my favorite meals in Tuscany, we didn’t take pictures of it because we were too busy eating it. It consisted of (all of this homemade): crostini with boar pâté and vegetable terrine, Penne with fresh tomato, basil and sliced almonds, then (our absolute favorite) duck tortellini oh so gently folded, swimming in ducky duck fat, grilled pork cutlets with pommes frites (so rustic!), and to finish, a flan (so simple! I don’t think I could have eaten much more anyway). Ambiance and a complimentary bottle of local red helped everything immensely. This restaurant is small–20 seats–and the village is small, and our innkeeper is a well-liked local figure. The whole experience was that of sitting down to a family dinner, even though I couldn’t understand a thing my other family members were saying. We were seated under a starry sky, far into the hills. As I savored my meal, I thought, “This must be the Tuscany that everyone raves about! And rightly so.”
My second favorite meal was at a restaurant in the nearby town of Pistoia, and I can’t even remember the name, only that it was marked, “Slow Food (yay!).” Basically, I was driven purely by stomach juices in Tuscany, and all thoughts of useless things like restaurant names quickly ceded to my appetite. However, I did think enough to take pictures this time.
Thinking back on that dinner, I just cannot get over how good my fried fish were. They were the fishy kind, like mackerel and sardines, usually not my first choice, but this was just exquisite.
Even though neither of us were hungry after this meal, we had seen an intriguing popsicle shop a few times before, and just had to try it. So, Mr. ordered some pistachio ice cream on a stick, and had it covered in chocolate. I know . . . the stick was probably a gimmick, but we just had to try it. It wasn’t bad. After all, there are only so many times one can eat gelato in a day, no matter how delicious (at least, this is the case for me).
The third most memorable meal was at the beginning of the trip, when I was still in my right mind and could note restaurant names, this time, La Botte Gaia. To be honest, I had done some poor research, so I can’t say I planned this meal; it was more like serendipity. In any case, here it is, that first glorious dinner in Tuscany:
Yup, well there you have it, Tuscany in three meals. We had many more of course–daily hour-long croissant breakfasts spent chatting with our innkeeper, pizza, pizza, and more pizza, and near-daily gelato pauses taken in an attempt to forget the sweltering heat.
I would have loved to stay longer, but time was short, and we had so many other things on the itinerary. Next time, I’ll have to budget more time for the countryside. It might be almost blasphemous to admit it, but I appreciated the Italian cuisine almost more than the French one!