For the past twelve months, I’ve had the pleasure of taking photographs for the cookbook of Fattoria Poggio Alloro, an organic family farm in San Gimignano, Tuscany. A record of family traditions, the farm’s seasonal produce and rustic, hearty dishes, the book is arranged month by month, season to season. A Family Farm in Tuscany: Recipes and Stories from Poggio Alloro by Sarah Fioroni will be released in the US on March 31, 2012, [and you can now order on amazon] but for now, here’s a little peek at some of the images:
Not only was it a pleasure to spend time on the farm, out in the picture-perfect countryside with a backdrop of rolling hills and medieval towers, but it was a pleasure to become welcomed like part of the family, getting my hands dirty making salame or peeking into steaming pots in the kitchen.
But the best part may have been getting to eat and drink as if there were no tomorrow together with the entire Fioroni family. The fresh produce, straight out of the garden, is dictated by the seasons: ribollita in the winter, fava beans in spring, risotto of pumpkin and saffron (also a specialty of the farm) in the autumn.
The farm’s own handmade prosciutto and salumi are always served, as well as the traditional fettunta rubbed with garlic and drizzled with their delectable grassy-green olive oil. Endless bottles of Vernaccia, San Gimignano’s own local white grape, and Chianti flow. But it’s the farm’s ancient breed of Chianina beef that was always a highlight – these huge white beasts make the best steaks for the legendary bistecca fiorentina.
The next morning at breakfast, a steaming cappuccino made with fresh milk from the farm’s token brown dairy cow, and perhaps a slice of cake, make a real treat.
The recipes and stories from this organic farm were collected from the eldest members of the family by Sarah Fioroni. It’s a precious account of the history of a family and the farm’s traditions. The seasonal cookbook, A Family Farm in Tuscany: Recipes and Stories from Poggio Alloro, is to be launched in the US at the end of March 2012 by Shearer publishing.