A Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure
A Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure
A Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure
A Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure
A Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure
A Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure
A Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure

A Tuscan Gastronomic Adventure

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A trip to Tuscany in autumn is like opening the door to a pantry brimming with all your favourite foods. As the leaves on the towering cypress trees turn golden, the culinary calendar begins. With the wine harvest in September and October, the olive harvest in early November and the elusive white truffle being found in November and December, you could be forgiven for wanting to see out the season there until the New Year. But if you only have a week to spend in the rolling hills, we can help you decide which is right for you.

 

 

 

The Wine Harvest


Salute to September! As the month draws to an end and the days retain a shadow of summer’s warmth, vineyards are set to bursting with grapes clinging to the vines as far as the eye can see. Jet black Sangiovese grapes are the region’s pride and joy, used as the main component in acclaimed vinos such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. If you prefer bianca over rossi, venture to a vineyard producing the Vernaccia grapes in San Gimignano.

 

Although Mother Nature rules the roost when it comes to picking a date for harvest, vintners can usually be seen picking the fruits of their labour in the last week of September and the first week of October. A visit during these weeks allows you to follow the journey from vine to barrel, or as we would recommend, to the glass! A tour of the vineyards and the creation process will leave you in no doubt as to why Tuscany takes the top spot on an oenophile’s list. Or if you are in on the secret already, simply relax and take in the impressive vineyard views on a private picnic amongst the vines.

 

As fine wines can take years before the first taste is taken, aging in gigantic oak barrels in the vast tunnels of wine cellars, you’ll be glad to hear the words ‘here’s one we made earlier’ during a wine tasting experience. With many vineyards offering shipping, you can take a taste of Tuscany home with you once you’ve found the varietal right for you - a perfect reminiscent accompaniment when you’re dining back home.

 

 

 

The Olive Harvest

 

As October rolls into November and the crisp cool air leaves you in no doubt of autumn’s arrival, nets are cast expectantly under the olive trees. Although many farmers opt for machinery to collect the olives, a visit to an agriturismo during this time will offer a more authentic experience dating back centuries. Join a local family as they give an annual nod to tradition, coming together to hand pick the goods and shake the branches bare.

 

You can sample the liquid gold that is olive oil for yourself during a Tuscan cooking class. And with the proverb ‘eat to live, don’t live to eat’, there’s no one better than the Italians to learn from. Whether it’s joining a nonna in a traditional kitchen and hand-making pappardelle pasta, or honing your fine dining fare with a Michelin star chef, we can find a cooking class to suit your culinary pursuits.

 

Should you wish to experience the stone fruits without the aid of your tastebuds, a horseback ride or bike ride through the olive groves is the perfect way to make more room for pasta.

 

 

 

The Truffle Hunt

 

When the goods above ground are all harvested, it’s time to venture underground instead! Although black truffles can be found in the summer months, those who explore in the autumn will be rewarded with the rarer white truffle, fondly known by the locals as the trifola d’Alba Madonna. Favouring the roots of wild oak, pines and hazelnut trees, the golden mushroom is most frequently found growing in the hills, making the verdant Province of Siena a wild gold mine. Buried out of sight, it is the job of skilled dogs to sniff out the treasure, who’s worth can reach up to €250 per 100g. The Lagatto Romagnolo, a cross breed between a poodle and terrier, has long been the canine of choice for the job, and as a friendly four-legged friend, a search for the truffles is a great activity for all the family. Set out into the forest with a local and watch as the dog darts around the trees, scratching eagerly at the soil as they discover the hidden haul.

 

Like a rare gem, the size and cut can make a difference to the value of the truffles. However, there’s nothing quite as valuable as a good meal, good wine and good company, and so what better way to indulge in your finds than having a private chef treat you to a truffle inspired menu in your villa, embracing the roar of an open fire after a day in the forest.

 

If you want to leave the discovery to the dogs, head to one of Tuscany’s many autumn fairs such as the San Giovanni d’Asso Truffle Festival that takes place on several weekends in November. The town’s true love for truffle is in no doubt, with a Truffle Museum exploring legends of its creation by lightening bolt and taking you on a sensory journey through 14thcentury cellars.

 

With something new to discover during each month of fall, all that’s left to decide is when will you be going? All we know is when it’s time to bid arrivederci, you will be sure to be exclaiming one of Italy’s favourite sayings…..’Sono pieno come unuovo!’: I’m as full as an egg!

 

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