Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Montefioralle, Rignana and Cafaggio

Our guide took us to Montefilliore - a walled town we passed every day. One of the highlights of this town is that it was the home of Amerigo Vespucci - navigator who figured out that America was not the Indies. And then it was off to lunch at Rignana and a local winery called Cafaggio.
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Mimmo Baldi cooking lesson at Ripertoli

Mimmo Baldi is one of the best chefs in town. He used to own Vescovino - a high end restaurant overlooking the Tuscan countryside - but decided to simplify and now owns only the best Enoteca in Chianti. He regaled us with stories and his perspective on the importance of taking time to cook with family and enjoy meals together. We certainly enjoyed this one! We started with his special zuccini flower fritters, moved on to tagliatelle with shrimp and asparagus, and finished with roast pork. Dessert was a delightful lemon custard with fresh strawberries. Yum yum and triple yum!
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Ripertoli Adventures - First days

My my my. These first few days have been adventure packed and food/wine filled. On Saturday, David and I popped into Greve to pick up some things at the market. This was not as easy as it sounded - the place was teeming! Poor David had to park all the way up the hill and carry heavy six packs of water up from the Coop. Guests began arriving about 2pm and we had tuscan snacks and wine ready. At 4:45pm or so Jonathan from Chianti Travel picked us up in the van and brought us into Greve for a wine tasting with Pier Paolo Brondoni at Enoteca di Gallo Nero. After a few hours in Greve we came back to Ripertoli for a wonderful dinner cooked by Marisa, drank more wine and crashed early.

On Sunday we slept in a bit and enjoyed a light breakfast at the villa. We headed into Panzano for the market and to meet up with Mimmo and Ariana Baldi. Ariana showed us through the market and Dario's butcher shop. We all found bargains. Shoes for me of course. David bought chickens and fried polenta and we headed back to the villa for a delightful lunch on the terrace. After long siestas, we were off to Lamole for dinner where Filippo and Paolo took great care of us as always.

Today we went to Castello di Querceto for our first Tuscan winery tour. Marco showed us around the property and castle as well as the amazing wine cellar with wines as far back as 1904. We got to see the Querceto vineyards from the top of the tower and terrace. Beautiful! Julia hosted us for an amazing lunch (crostini, lasagne, cinghale, tiramisu) after a great tasting of five Querceto vintages. Then Julia walked us through the cinghale vineyards a bit and we squeezed back into the car bound for siestas at Ripertoli. Tonight it's off to Osteria di Passagnano for a Michelin star dinner and views of Antinori vineyards.

See more on http://ripertoliadventures.com/blog

Friday, May 08, 2009

Coreglia and Lucca

Yesterday we had a wonderful never ending lunch in Coreglia with Alec Nacamuli and Ann and then explored the walled town of Lucca. We made it back in time to help Mimmo and Ariana Baldi celebrate the grand reopening of their Enoteca. We met up with Carlo Faggiani and Karena - the leather shop owners - and toasted to everyone's success. Today we are finalizing plans with the Elena our tour guide, buying food and wine for snacks and refreshment for guests at the villa, and trying to catch the internet up so we can blog about it all! On our way to Lamole, we picked up Peter and Christina from Britain who were attempting to walk from Greve to Lamole for lunch. It's only about 9 km but all up hill!! We had a lovely lunch together overlooking the Tuscan hillside watching swallows float around on the wind currents and dive for insects. I like swallows!
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Monday, May 04, 2009

Panzano on Sunday

Spring has sprung here in Tuscany. The flowers are beautiful - although we aren't yet sure what these hanging purple ones are called. David is demonstrating his vast viniculture and viticulture knowledge as he shows me how and why they've pruned the vines as they have in various spots. All in all a glorious trip so far. Had my first black truffle slices on pasta in Greve-in-Chianti today. Yum!
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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Our first night in Greve-In-Chianti

We arrived at Ripertoli last night and had our first tastes of Tuscany in Greve-in-Chianti - the closest "big" town near the villa. It is the weekend of the flower market so the piazza was all decked out. Sadly the light was fading so the shots are a bit dark. But keep watch right here.... more more more to come!
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The Tullys at home in Hemel-Hempsted

Nigel and Deborah Tully, our friends and Tuscan villa owner/business partners, hosted us at their stunning farm home in Hemel-Hempstead when we were in the UK last week. The purpose of the visit was to finalize details for our wine tasting trip at their villa in Ripertoli. Poor Deborah badly broke her ankle a few days before they were supposed to go to Ripertoli and make sure things were in order for us. Their beautiful lab-greyhound Tina was the cuplrit for Deborah's fall but as you can see, they've made up. We will miss them at Ripertoli but glad Deborah is recovering well.
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