Gastronomic Guide to Porto Ercole

Rocky cliffs, Spanish fortresses, the azure sea and pretty ports. Admittedly it’s not usually for the food that people visit Monte Argentario and its little town of Porto Ercole, where we currently live. But if you happen to be exploring this most beautiful and quite rugged part of Tuscany, here’s how you can also eat really well in the area. Everyone has been to Tuscany. But what they often mean is they have been to Florence. Or the... Read More

I Pescatori di Orbetello: Dinner straight from the Lagoon

I love the five minute drive to Orbetello from our home in Porto Ercole in Monte Argentario. I look out the window, waiting for that curve after you pass the sandy stretch of Feniglia, when suddenly you hit the flat lagoon and you see the old town of Orbetello rising right out of the water, a little reminiscent of Venice. Orbetello’s lagoon characterises and in many ways defines the city. Created by two sand bars (the beautiful, long, soft-sanded... Read More

Pollo al burro (chicken in butter)

You know when you have a dish in a restaurant that you can’t stop thinking about and every time you go you can’t bear to veer away from that dish so you keep ordering it, never trying anything else because you have been constantly thinking about it since your last visit? Well this, for me, is one of those. It is quite simple – chicken in butter, presented just as it sounds, a tender chicken breast floating in a delicious sauce of butter.... Read More

Florence’s Lovely Bits

When I was still newly, madly in love with Florence, only four months into the relationship, I was taken around Venice for an afternoon by a friend of a friend, an American and a Venice-lover. It turned out to be Eric Denker, art historian from the Smithsonian and the National Gallery, who must have been Venetian in a former life, such is his knowledge and passion for the city. We argued over which was the more spectacular city, Florence or Venice.... Read More

San Vincenzo: The kitchen or the fishing boat

“So, would you like to be in the kitchen or on the boat?” Sometimes an amazing opportunity pops up, offered to you unexpectedly, like a chef offering to talk to you about local fish and its preparation on his boat rather than in the kitchen. The person asking is Fulvietto Pierangelini, chef and owner of Il Bucaniere restaurant in San Vincenzo, a beach resort and port town on Tuscany’s Etruscan Coast, a place I hold very close to my heart. At... Read More

Top 25 Tuscan Food Finds

Who doesn’t love a “top” list? I think they can be really useful to give a quick rundown on what’s on offer when you visit a place like Tuscany that has so much to offer for a foodie. It’s not easy compiling a list like this, I have to say, it could have easily grown to 100! But I wanted the list to include things you haven’t necessarily heard of before, all the places I love and frequent when I’m in town. I’ve... Read More

Testaccio: A Taste of Rome

My first thought on my last short visit to Rome was, why did we never live here? Florence is only an hour and a half away by train but Rome feels like another planet away. It’s a different region, a different lifestyle, a different set of people and traditions. Different food. I have to admit, my main reason for wanting to spend a few days in Rome a couple of weeks ago was purely to indulge myself in its tasty food, and more specifically in... Read More

Forgotten Flavours of Puglia

Somewhere between neat, tall rows of grape vines and the sea of shimmering olive trees with their ancient, disfigured and twisted trunks, I found myself in heaven. An intense blue sky and picturesque white-stoned towns only added to the already blissful atmosphere. I’m in Puglia. And more precisely, I’m slowly eating myself to death in Puglia. Not on purpose, but that’s just the way it’s done here. Food is taken seriously. When they say “antipasto”... Read More

Artusi’s May: Tuscan Chicken Liver Pate

If there was one defining Tuscan recipe for me it might just be the recipe for chicken liver pate served on crostini, otherwise known in Italian as crostini di fegatini, crostini neri (‘black crostini’) or crostini toscani.   This favourite Tuscan antipasto is rustic, tasty, cheap and sensible, reflecting the peasant roots of Tuscan cooking where nothing was thrown away (this makes good use of day old bread and cheap chicken livers)... Read More

A Taste of Florence

Any food lover is likely going to love to eat their way through Florence, but many of city’s most traditional dishes are probably not what you think they are. The Florentines, like most Italians, have a very important relationship with their cuisine. They have very strict rules about what can be eaten when, with what accompaniments and in what particular order. You can even tell what month of the year it is by looking at a Florentine menu. It is... Read More