Tuscan Tastes – how good food equals good friends

Sage from our Tuscan gardens - one of the best Tuscany tastes!

One of us at Artviva has new neighbours who have just moved in to the apartment downstairs. There is the ‘nonna’, ‘mamma’ and two children, aged 7 and 9. The husband is coming along next week after taking care of their farmland a few towns over.

In the evenings when we enter the apartment building, it is not unusual to find the nonna or the mamma, or even the children waiting in the stairwell for us outside their apartment, saucepan or plate in hand, offering us a taste (often times a meal-size ‘taste’!) of whatever delicious foods they have been preparing.

Tuscan grapes - make great wine but also a range of traditional Tuscan recipes!

It’s only been a week since we have been neighbours, and already we have sampled delicious home-made salami, ‘cenci’ (fried pastry strips covered in sugar and filled with heavenly deliciousness!) gnocchi potato dumplings, home-grown Tuscan grapes and a range of other delights.

In turn, we have so far taken them our home-made Tuscan bread, a bottle of vin santo dessert wine made by our friends, and a handful of our palm-size sage leaves that grow happily in our Tuscan garden perfect for the Tuscan fried sage recipe. There are also promises of garlic, leeks and other winter vegetables we are growing in our Tuscan garden to come in the following months.

The little boy, at all of 7 years of age, just won a local pizza-making competition and has invited us for pizza next week (he likes to decorate the pizza in a rather untraditional way however – with the toppings arranged in a smiley face, with whole dark olives as hair!). When we exchanged the invitation to dine at our house, he agreed – ‘only if the food is good!’, he added sternly.

It seems love for good food starts from a young age in Italy!

And why wouldn’t it when food in Italy really is so delicious, lovingly prepared with such fresh and seasonal ingredients.

If you’d like to explore the tastes of Tuscany and see stunning Tuscan gardens too, we have the Taste of Tuscany at the Villa wine tour to explore historic wine estates before undertaking a wine tasting. Tread through the terrain, enjoying spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside up-close and personal.

You can also visit charming hilltop towns of Siena and San Gimignano and Monteriggioni on our Best of Tuscany small-group tour. See the highlights of Tuscany in one spectacular day tour from Florence, immerse yourself in the Tuscan wine-producing countryside, enjoy a wine tasting and cellar visit, and be part of the scenery that has inspired so many great artists.  Our small-group Best of Tuscany tour visits Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni, as well as stopping for lunch and wine tasting at an award-winning Tusvan villa wine estate.

Visit a Tuscan villa on Stroll through the Tuscan countryside, join us for a Perfect Morning in Tuscany small-group walking tour. Leaving from Florence’s city centre and heading to the surrounding countryside, this small-group walking tour includes, well, walking in Tuscany, as well as lunch with wine at a stunning Renaissance Villa Estate, accompanied by an expert tour guide.

Getting to the surrounding Tuscan countryside from Florence is but a short and delightful drive. If you would like to have a private guide accompanying you, we have private tours that cater to your every desire. From Florence (and Tuscany) to RomeVenice to the Cinque Terre and beyond, we are at your beck and call.

To explore other areas of Italy, can check out our Artviva Walking Tours website to read more about our Florence private tours, private Rome toursVenice tours with a private tour guidethe best private guides in Cinque Terre , Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more.

Visit our site www.italy.artviva.com for more wonderful things to see and do in Italy (besides, of course, just meeting the Artviva staff!), and email us on staff@artviva.com for more information.

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