A Tuscan Christmas Gathering
Last weekend Giulia and I hosted out first Tuscan Gathering, an excuse to cook and eat and drink for hours and wander the woods or fall asleep in front of the roaring fire, an excuse to get together with friends near and far (and to connect in person, as many ‘friends’ are those that we know only via social media, which happens so often these days). It was an idea inspired by the seasonal gatherings that I’ve seen friends, The Assembly Co, do in Sydney. And can I just say, it was so much fun I think we will do more!
The setting for our lunch was the very beautiful, rustic and unique La Selva Giardino del Belvedere, a holiday home hidden in the woods. With their long wooden tables, multiple fireplaces, not to mention two kitchens (one of which was set up with a wood-fired oven!), it couldn’t have been more perfect for a cosy, Christmas meal for 20.
The menu featured Giulia’s homemade schiacciata and lasagne verdi, pollo in galantina and her nonna’s cardoon flan; my polenta crostini with mushrooms, chickpea and chestnut soup and a pear and ginger buckwheat and hazelnut crumble. Marco made a beautiful slow-roasted porchetta finished off in the wood-fired oven for extra crispy skin. And after a long lunch, some of us walked things off in the wonderfully wild “garden” of the villa, breathing in the smell of the woods (some of us napped), and we came back to homemade biscotti, vin santo from Poggio Alloro and plenty of coffee before saying good bye to our new friends.
Thank you Giulia Scarpaleggia for the photo of me and thank you to the generous, wonderful Cioncolini family of La Selva Giardino il Belvedere for letting us enjoy their home!