Settignano, the Other Florence

We’ve moved again. I’m losing count but I think it’s the seventh move since I started this blog which I began while living in a shabby fifth-floor apartment that I fell in love with for its rooftop views of Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, never mind that it was freezing in the winter and a sauna in the summer (the bathroom may have been miniscule with no water pressure but who could pass it up when there was a view of the Duomo... Read More

Summer Highlights on the Tuscan Coast

About halfway through a Tuscan summer the heat begins to really take its toll. Oppressive heat, like a hair dryer pointed in your face. Stone piazzas that bake all day in the sun, trapping the heat like an oven. Crowds. Rare air-conditioning. You begin living off things that don’t need any cooking at all: paper thin slices of prosciutto from the butcher and thick slices of fragrant melon. Fresh mozzarella or wobbly ricotta. Tomato salad, over and... Read More

Rome.

I’ve always thought of Rome as incredibly romantic. It probably has something to do with watching Roman Holiday over and over again as a teenager. It’s ingrained in my mind: a princess wandering the cobblestones, buying sandals and gelato, losing and finding herself. Of course, life is not a film, and mostly when I am in Rome I end up being overwhelmed by the chaos and the traffic and somehow it’s always just ridiculously hot... Read More

Favourite Florence Eats

One of the things I was keen to include in Florentine was a little address book of my favourite places to eat and shop for food like a local. They’re places I like to go to, places where you are guaranteed to find really typical Florentine dishes, at a good price, and eat well. For those who don’t have my cookbook yet, I wanted to compile a little list of some of my favourites, many of which I have written about before and which are still... Read More

Brunch at Teatro del Sale

I love to eat at a place where there’s a bit of action (and interaction) in the kitchen during service, and Teatro del Sale is just the place for it in Florence. It is part of the kingdom of Florentine chef, Fabio Picchi, who runs four fabulous eateries all on the doorstep of the Sant’Ambrogio Markets. But rather than the more formal world of Picchi’s famous Cibreo restaurant, at Teatro del Sale, you get the good, no-nonsense food,... Read More

The Sicily List: Part II

As promised, following my Sicily List: Part I, here’s Part II: Mount Etna and Ortigia. While we spent most of the time around Noto and Ragusa, Marco had his heart set on visiting Mount Etna’s wine region. We made a break there for the day (a two hour drive up the east coast) to meet the folk at the winery Tenuta delle Terre Nere. I highly recommend visiting at least one winery in this area (Girolamo Russo, Alice Bonaccorsi and Frank... Read More

The Sicily List: Part I

It’s taken me some time to sit down and digest (pun intended) our trip to the southeastern corner of Sicily a few weeks ago in early November. The trip that I had been dreaming of taking for about ten years left me surprised and perplexed. We rented a little Fiat Panda and stayed in a beautiful 1920s farmhouse nestled in lush citrus groves just outside of the town of Noto, a great spot to make short day trips and get back to town in time... Read More

The Turin List

We just spent a glorious weekend in Turin with really one agenda: eating and drinking. While Turin is known for it’s lovely museums and being the birthplace of Italian cinema, it’s rather hard to ignore the fact that the city also claims gianduja (luscious hazelnut chocolate) and vermouth (the ideal aperitivo, on the rocks with a maraschino cherry, old school like) amongst its specialties. When I asked food loving friends who know the... Read More

Autumn salad of fennel, walnuts & pomegranate

My recent visit to the Val d’Orcia is still heavily imprinted on my mind. The textures of the hills that look like pencil drawings, that first chill in the air and the first roaring fireplace of the season. Everything looked and tasted like autumn. Just before we left we stopped for a visit to see the sisters of Puscina, a family-run flower farm between Pienza and Montepulciano. They took us on a stroll through their garden beds overflowing... Read More

Autumn in Val d’Orcia

It’s no secret that autumn is my favourite month in Tuscany. It’s partly the relief from the relentless heat of summer, that feeling that you can finally breathe again, and partly, well, mostly, it’s the food. The cooler weather finally lets me get back into the kitchen (in particular the oven, which I usually avoid at all costs in the summer), to do the things I really love, like slow cooking and baking. And autumn’s ingredients... Read More