Above, Fleur looking both celestial and minxy, in front of lots of wine.
Its Friday and here is a blog about FOOD. Normally I leave this kind of stuff to Charlie, but I warn you, more is coming. Since I’ve weened myself off of buying a dress every time I feel sad, I’ve realised that I spend all my cash on food (*so* excited about this). There are some big changes coming my blog very soon. Watch [....this......] space.
So, following on from my blog about Florence, I present you our trip in a comestible capacity and an intro to Beppe and Andrea’s third touring company. On our last day, when I was beginning to feel a little round from all the extravagance, we bundled into a smart chauffeur driven car and headed out to the hills of Chianti. Being somewhat juvenile at times, I had THAT clip from the Silence of the Lambs merrily going around in my head. This particular trip comes under the Caper and Co arm of of the 500 Touring Club. This is how they started:
’Caper & Co. Cultural Association started with a group of friends who enjoyed getting together to share good meals and great wines. They would visit local fairs and festivals, dancing into the night with live music, or enjoy morning strolls through the woods hunting porcini mushrooms.’
Our first stop was an award winning organic winery, Villa Carfaggio. We had a look around the vineyards, nodded sagely at a giant screw (pictured below) and then entered the cool damp heart of the operation. I really enjoyed seeing the giant barrels and the 1960s vats. I almost pinched Fleur’s clever splicing of said giant barrels straight from her blog, but she is scary when cross and much taller than me. You can see what I mean here. Then it was on to more wine tasting. At this point I got a shitty work message and burst into tears. This was swiftly remedied by actually drinking the wine. As well as not being quite as sophisticated as I like to make out, I’m going to come clean (Beppe please don’t hate me) - I am rubbish at wine tasting. I have a good palette for food, but when it comes to wine, I know what I like and that’s my reds smooth and fruity and around the 6 quid mark, unless you decide to treat me to a Chateaux Neuf Du Pape, in which case I will love you for ever. There is my great wine critique, right there. HOWEVER, I felt thoroughly educated by Beppe’s extensive knowledge and I think this had a lot to do with his friendly demeanor and infectious smile. He is most certainly not a wine bore.
Now… I must admit I really liked what came next. After the wine tour we were taken chez Dario Cecchini. Daz counts Jamie Oliver amongst his mates and is known as the ‘rock and roll butcher’ . He totally looks the part and I found myself caugh in his spell as he man handled a giant rack of ribs. Walking into his butchers is interesting as it is, but wait! There is a hidden door at the back, which slides open to provide access to a terrace and restaurant. The food is unsurprisingly meat heavy but divine and very creative. My favourite was Sushi del Chianti, beef tartare with Tuscan olive oil, sea salt, and lemon. We had a lovely leisurely lunch sitting at a long table overlooking the hills. Some English people at the end where being very loud, otherwise it was a very nice experience of outdoor communal dinning.
Top tip, if you can – do bring back some Tuscan wine if you can as its doesn’t contain the chemicals used in most wine production. They don’t seem to export it so if you want hangover free vino there is your answer.
So, having exposed all their secrets, I still cannot recommend enough doing one, two or all three of their tours. I though I was a pretty savvy traveller but this takes it to quite another level. The relationships they have developed really bring a genuine taste, quite literally, of the essence of Tuscany.
Thank you to Fleur for some of the better photos towards the end.
Julia and Nina eyeing up the herb infused pork. Nina thinking about eating her fist instead.
Handy reference mats for philistines like me at Villa Carfaggio.
Wine tasting at Villa Le Piazzole, where we were staying
The giant 60s vats in Chianti. I kinda wanted to crawl in. I think I would make a ‘good vintage’.
Right this is a real Florentine speciality. A kilo of t-bone steak, always 3 fingers thick!
Told ya! 3 fingers thick…
Cured trotters at the Rock and Roll butcher.
A Florentine steak being cooked.
Not sure who this chap is – should have asked Dario
This is the extent of the veg you get at Dario Cecchini’s – I know someone who would approve.
A rather enthusiatic cook
More of Dario’s butchers
A big wine making screw
Me and Fleur and our ‘chili intestines’
This was at Il Latini. We had 13 courses including that bad-boy 3 fingered steak. Never.Eaten.So.Much
Fleur looking studiously at our first offering of cheese and wine in the Market on day one
Their produce, naturally, shits all over what we get. You dont see this in Tescos.
Good coffee at Roberto Cavalli’s caf, which was as far removed from a greasy spoon as one could imagine.
Wine = smiles, and funnily enough a card for Dario’s restaurant which I have only just noticed.
Apparently these are nerve endings. Yes, for real.
And below, because good old wordpress won’t let me add a line – a selection of cured meats including wild bore and the ‘heart’ of parma ham.