all the articles tagged as:

winter

A winter weekend in Turin

This past weekend we spent a couple of gloriously crisp, sunny winter days with my mother in law, our girls and even the puppy(!) around the elegant northern Italian city of Turin, showing them some favourite old places that we love, while discovering some new spots to add to the list. It was a little harder to do everything that we’ve done on past trips (which, truth be told, involved mainly eating and drinking as I was researching for my... Read More

Braided fig and nut pastries for Christmas morning (treccia con fichi e noci)

There is a bar I pop into now and then that always has a pastry in the counter that I almost never say no to — they call it simply a fig and walnut pastry (treccia con fichi e noci) and while it’s different to this (that one has something like a frangipane type base and a deep caramel flavour), it definitely inspired the braided shape of this pastry. The thing is that making pastries at home means you get to eat them while they are fresh... Read More

A stay at Adler, the original spa resort in the Dolomites

Last spring I was invited to spend some time in the Dolomites at Adler, at the original, historic lodge where the resort first began in 1810 in the centre of the picturesque, pastel-toned town of Ortisei (UrtijÃĢi) in Val Gardena in the South Tyrol. Around the Dolomites area, Adler have four resorts (the other we stayed in on this trip and I’ve written about before is Adler Lodge Ritten), plus one in Tuscany at my favourite hot springs Bagno... Read More

Brodo di pollo, chicken broth for winter solstice

This is the simplest recipe, which is part of the beauty of it for me. All you need is a really good, organic, free range chicken and you’re halfway there. Around Christmas and New Year’s in Italy, it’s not unusual to see cappone, or capon, a castrated rooster, on offer and this would be one of the classic ways to prepare cappone too. Castration of a rooster has been practised since ancient times, initially being a way to keep roosters... Read More

Involtini di cavolo con patate e funghi

I tasted this dish of cabbage parcels with potato and mushroom recently at a wonderful trattoria, Osteria di Golpaja at the wonderful Villa Pietriolo, a sustainable, organic estate with its own farm animals, olive trees and vineyards, tucked in the hills between Vinci and San Miniato. Everything they use in this beautiful osteria is grown or reared on the property, from the Cinta Senese to the vegetables, and naturally, the seasons dictate the menu.... Read More

Bitter orange marmalade from San Miniato

It’s not every day that you walk into a butcher shop and come out with a few kilos of bitter oranges aka Seville oranges or arance amare in Italian. But it’s also, I think, not every day that you find a butcher shop that has this sort of garden out the back with a sweeping view over the valley and terraces of mandarins, lemons and Seville orange trees. San Miniato seems to be full of these terraces of citrus trees and one of the homes... Read More

A dreamy weekend at Adler Resort in Bagno Vignoni

The Valdorcia is one of my very favourite areas to visit in Tuscany, it embodies so much about what I love about this region — the green and golden rolling hills, magnificent stone hamlets, rustic and genuine country food and the delights of the natural landscape, in particular the pampering hot springs. In Bagno Vignoni, one of the most charming towns of the area, natural thermal springs flow that have been attracting travellers since Roman... Read More

Four excellent ways with radicchio

“It looks like a fleshy purple flower, as fresh as if it had been specially created to bring spring to the dinner table in winter,” wrote Ada Boni in her Regional Italian Cuisine cookbook, while Marcella Hazan calls it the “most magnificent vegetable.” I have to agree. Radicchio might just be my favourite vegetable. It’s beautiful to look at, it’s incredibly versatile — you can grill it, roast it, braise it,... Read More

Chestnut panforte, a gluten free and vegan treat

This is a slightly untraditional variation on the most traditional recipe I know for panforte — a sweet, dense, spicy medieval cake from Siena. The recipe comes from the bible of Tuscan cooking, Paolo Petroni’s Il Grande Libro della Vera Cucina Toscana and every time I make panforte (since I first posted about it back in 2011) I make some kind of variation on his recipe. To be honest, I usually don’t deviate from it much unless... Read More

Photo essay: Chestnut polenta in the Tuscan mountains

One late October, my friend Simona, who runs a beautiful B&B called Canto del Maggio, brought us to her special place, a little wooden ‘rifugio‘, as they’re known in Italian, a mountain cabin offering a place of rest and nourishment for hikers. This particular rifugio, called Osteria la Rocca, clings to the tiny stone hamlet of Rocca Ricciarda, high up in the chestnut woods of Pratomagno, between Florence and Arezzo. The cosy,... Read More