Pardini’s Hermitage: Paradise on Giglio Island

Late last August we had only a handful of days to go away somewhere, to escape the heat of Florence, the crowds, the daily grind. And so we decided to treat ourselves and spent them at Pardini’s Hermitage, a secret hideaway sort of a place on an island that is a gem in itself – Giglio Island, a very special place for us. I was already attracted to it by the fact that the only way to get there is by boat. Not the island, I mean, I’m... Read More

Fagioli del Purgatorio: a summery bean salad

Summer in Italy means one main thing for me — trying to keep cool, which includes staying away from the stove. Luckily, it’s also the time of year when fresh produce is so ripe and sweet, you barely need to do anything to it anyway — I practically live off tomatoes in the summer, dousing them in olive oil and eating with thickly torn pieces of buffalo mozzarella, usually. Or chopping or squeezing juicy ones raw into a sauce to... Read More

Honey from a Weed, the world of Patience Gray

Honey from a Weed is one of those few cookbooks I could keep by my bedside. I like to open it at random and become absorbed by a recipe or a story, like the one about sharing a dinner with shepherds on Naxos, the differing views of a Milanese and a Salentine diver on what to do with the an octopus, or the “majestic” Catalonian feast that ended with a century old wine that tasted of chocolate syrup.  Published in 1986, it is more than just a... Read More

Easter Adventures in Tuscany and tackling Carol Field’s Colomba

Surely the best thing about colomba, the Easter equivalent to panettone, is the sugared, toasted almond topping that covers the whole thing and crumbles when you cut it, so you sort of have no choice but just to pick up the crusty sugary bits and eat those on their own. I’d always thought that colomba would make a very good baking project but was somewhat intimated by getting the right shape  — it’s vaguely in the shape of a dove,... Read More

A peek at The Puglia Encounter Workshop, Masseria Potenti

One of the highlights of 2017 for me was hosting a food and styling workshop in late October together with two warm and talented women, Saghar Setareh of Labnoon and Alice Adams of Latteria Studio in Rome (for a group of equally wonderful women), in the most stunning location — Masseria Potenti in Puglia’s wine country of Manduria, in the province of Taranto. I remember the excitement of touching down in Brindisi after an early morning... Read More

Trento Mini Guide and a Buckwheat Cake

Last month we spent a few wonderful days visiting our friends Rosa and Massimo who live just outside of Trento. It was our third visit to the area (on one of them I snapped up this recipe for persimmon cake), so I feel it’s about time to share some our favourite things that we’ve been shown by locals. Trento is only a four hour drive from Florence — passing Bologna and Verona on the way, which could make very good pit stops if... Read More

Ten ways to survive an Italian heatwave

Newstands this morning declared the centre of Florence “feels like” 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) and signs warned of extreme heat this week, to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity. They say this is the last (the fifth) heatwave of the summer. Here’s how to deal with it. Under the Tuscan Sun may embody a dream for many, but Tuscan summers have always felt like an inferno to me, easily my least favourite part about living... Read More

In Venice with Valeria Necchio, author of ‘Veneto’

“This is a food memory for me,” Valeria said, as we podded fresh, marbled-pink, borlotti beans, “Not exactly cooking but they were one of the first activities I was involved in as a young girl helping in the kitchen during the summer months: I was on podding duty.” If you are a long time reader of this blog, then Valeria needs no introduction — we became friends, first via our blogs, years ago when we began writing... Read More

The Perfect Tuscan Coast Getaway 2017

I’ve been coming to the Etruscan Coast — the stretch of Tuscan coastline from Livorno to Piombino and all the islands in between — ever since I met Marco, over ten years ago. His grandparents, like so many Tuscans, have had an apartment here since the early 60s, so it was their stomping ground; their childrens’ and their children’s children spot for their annual summer holiday. The summer can be busy and crowded, when... Read More

Workshop announcement: The Puglia Encounter

I’m so very excited to announce my involvement in a workshop in October this year in, what is for me, the most authentic and heart-racing region of Italy — Puglia. I’ve never eaten so well as in Puglia, or been so entranced by a place’s open spaces, its ancient olive trees, its cheap produce markets and unusual fruit and vegetables, its elegant baroque and white-washed towns, its turquoise water and deep red earth. Combine... Read More