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Travelblog: Ten days in Tuscany


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#1 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 01:45 PM

Hey everyone,

Mr. Duck and I just got back from a glorious 10-day trip to Italy to visit his sister Amy, her husband Alfredo, and their daughter Alesandra.

Triple-A (as we collectively call them) live with about twenty other people on a farm near Sovicille, a small town a few miles outside Siena. It’s an organic farm and they grow grapes, olives, and all this other fun stuff. Everyone shares the duties, including making meals, and we delighted in several days of fabulous meals, so we wanted to share our travels with you.


Two trains, two planes, a bus, and about 21 hours later, we arrived to this--La Comune di Bagnaia:
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Just in time for a quick nap and dinner. It was Alfredo’s turn to cook that night. On the menu was Mediterranean shark braised with garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil; penne with tuna, capers, and tomatoes; boiled head-on prawns; sautéed peppers; braised beans with tomatoes (yes, it was tomato season); homemade cheese; salad; and of course, wine.

Dinner is served on a cart, buffet-style. I thought I got a photo of the separate dishes, but I guess I didn't. Here's my plate:
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What a nice way to start our vacation.

They make their own wine, and had only red left since they ran out of white a few weeks ago (grr…Amy said it was really good). But they took out the rosato, which they save for special occasions.

Oh, so good to be back. This is one of my favorite places on earth.

Day 2 - our first full day in Italy.

We decided to take it easy that day and refamiliarize ourselves with the farm. Breakfast was just caffé with some bread, with honey and jam.

More views of Bagnaia:
The vineyards:
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Nearby villa:
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Lunch was made by Alessandra.

The cart:
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White bean dip and pesto.
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Timbale (rice with tomatoes, peppers, and onions)
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Roast pork with rosemary.
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Pies with carmelized onions and a spinach “quiche”.
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Cheese
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There were other cheeses, as well as salad.

For dessert, apple-raisin bread pudding and ricotta tart.
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...and assorted pastries.
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For the record, they don’t usually eat like this for lunch.


In the evening, we went to Sovicille, where they were holding an organic fair.

There was a stand selling pork products:
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This was Bagnaia's stand:
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At night, Alfredo wanted to take us to this osteria in a town called Chiusdino for a light supper.

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Pretty cool little place. It also sold meats and wine.
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The restaurant used to be part of a larger estate. This used to be the storage cellar:
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And the well.
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The menu:
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Crostini:
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Our primis:
Tagliatelle al funghi e panna - so rich and tasty.
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Spaghetti nera alla bottarga - a little salty, but delicious.
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Bucatini al sugo di prosciutto :wub:
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Spaghetti al scoglio (sorry a little blurry) - so good.
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Fusilli alle zucchine. Haven't had that combo before. Creamy and delicious.
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Sottaceti e Sottoli
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salad:
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Almost too full for a secondo, but we did manage to fit in one order of tagliata di chianina con radiccio. Really, really tasty.
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But too full for dessert.

Until tomorrow's meal.
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#2 Kouign Aman

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:42 PM

Oh what fun! Those pasta photos have me starving.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#3 Pontormo

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 04:29 PM

How wonderful! The farm looks idyllic.

Thank you for sharing this with us. It is so gratifying to see someone who posted inquiries to follow through w reports. I look forward to hearing about your Chinese meal.
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#4 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 06:37 PM

The pastas at the osteria were heavenly.

Yes, the farm is very idyllic. I'll post more pictures later.


Day 3

We spent the next day on the beach. A two-hour drive from Bagnaia brought us to Castiglione di Peschaia.

The weather was perfect and it was so beautiful!
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For lunch, we had a picnic on the beach. The tomatoes, grapes, and cheese are from the farm.
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We later walked around town and stopped for a gelato.
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Carl and I got miele di macchia mediterrania con pinoli Toscana and baccia (honey with pignoli nuts and chocolate-hazelnut.) A little soft, but delicious!!
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Back to Bagnaia for dinner.

Dinner that night was cooked by Grace and Daniele. Grace, who is from the US, but met and married Daniele, dubbed the meal “the ode to squash.”

There was squash soup, sautéed zuchinni, gazpacho, roasted red pepper pie, risotto balls, and some misc. leftovers from previous dinners. For dessert, there was a blackberry tart.

Oops, some of the pictures didn’t come out. Here’s my plate.
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Day 4 – off to Firenze
We usually just take a day trip to Florence when we’re visiting Triple-A, but there was a miscommunication with our travel arrangements, and Amy planned a trip with her class (she’s a schoolteacher) to Wales, so we took this opportunity to spend a few days in Florence. I was very happy to do so, because we never got to take full advantage of the city.

A bus ride from Siena brought us to Florence in time for lunch. We dropped of our bags before heading to the Mercato Centrale. First stop…
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Since Carl’s Italian is much better than mine, I held a table while he got the sandwich. He didn’t get the sauces, but it was so delicious nonetheless.
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After lunch, we decided to walk around the market.

Cool! I don't think I've seen a stand like this in the US!
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I thought the stuffed lamb was cute.
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We stopped here for a free sample.
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...and bought some prosciutto for a mid-afternoon snack.
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So off for dessert. Perche No?
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Melone and nocciola. The melone was good, but the nocciola was not that intense.
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Off to Piazza Michelangelo to catch the sunset. We actually walked up to the convent, where there were fewer people. Breathtaking!
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Then to dinner at Trattoria Za-Za. This was recommended by our B&B owner, and I later discovered also by divina.
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The Italian menu read so much better than the English version.
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Papardelle con cingale. There were peppercorns in this dish, which added a surprising zing. Carl liked the sauce, but I thought it was a tad too sweet.
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Tagliatelle con tartufo crema. OMG, so good!!
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We shared a secondo of Tagliata di manzo alla brace con funghi porcini. The beef was tender and flavorful. The juice made a great dressing for the greens.
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For dessert, we planned to go to Vivoli for gelato, but when we got there it was closed. The nerve! :angry: Oh well, tomorrow is just another day.
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#5 hathor

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:09 AM

Thanks for sharing with us! Sounds like a great trip...you made me really hungry...and I live in Italy!! :laugh: :laugh:

#6 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:05 PM

Thanks, hathor. This was the best trip so far.

Day 5 - Firenze.

Our first full day in Firenze. After a disappointing breakfast at our B&B, we headed to the Oltrarno.

On our way, we found this store:
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Trattoria La Casalinga for an early lunch.
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Lardo. Pig. Fat. Need I say more?
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Trippa Fiorentine. Very good and tender. Lots of flavor. It was actually too big a portion for me.
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Braciola di maile al ferri. It had a good fat-meat ratio and nicely browned.
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Such a great meal. And the day wasn't even half over.

I still don't know what day it is and I'm exhausted, so I'll post more later.
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#7 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 07:57 AM

OK, I'm back. This is the first time I've felt human in days.

Day 5 - Firenze (cont'd)

After lunch, we decided to walk around a bit before heading back across the Arno, and we found this wine store that just happened to be offering a free tasting. Free wine tastings are our hobby, so we ventured inside.

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Really good stuff.

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Although it meant that bringing back one less bottle of Bagnaia wine, we wound up buying a bottle of the Mormoreto. So it wasn't that free.

Had a nap by the Palazo Pitti before heading to the Ufizzi.

But first, a caffe and chocolate at Rivoire. So good!!!
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Several hours later, I was still full. Darn, it sucks getting old. I used to be able to manage two huge meals in a day. Anyway, we decided to head to Vivoli for a late dessert.

Melone and gianduia. Heaven!!! Still the best. It also elicited the first gelato happy dance of our vacation. As Carl said, “it’s like having the best melon, only it’s ice cream!” This quote was to be a recurring theme the rest of the week.
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The gelati actually whet my appetite for dinner, so we saw this osteria with a wood-burning pizza oven right down the block, where we shared a Pizza Margherita.
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This is for the Philadelphia Pizza Club crew.
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On our way out we passed the kitchen, and there was a mighty fine looking steak grilling over charcoal. Forgot to take a picture.

Back to Vivoli for dessert. This time it was coco and croccantino au rhum. Such a wonderful combination. Real flakes of coconut in the coco, and with the other flavor, it tasted just like a frozen pina colada, only a million times better.
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Bad idea for all that sugar at that late hour though. Major buzz kept us awake, but then again I am on vacation.
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#8 JaneMC

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:03 AM

Fabulous! I can't wait to get there one day myself!

Jane

#9 insomniac

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:30 AM

I am full of admiration for your stamina as you MUST have been jetlagged for most of those days......what an idyllic place your sister-in-law and her family lives in, and how lucky are you to have all this bounty in front of you in the years to come...just gorgeous, thanks.

Edited by insomniac, 28 September 2007 - 08:31 AM.


#10 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 10:35 AM

Thanks for the compliments. Jane, you must go. It's such a magical place.

I am very lucky to have in-laws who live in such a beautiful setting. And the sacrifices one must make to visit family. :rolleyes: It was funny…when I got back the first time I visited Italy, my mom was afraid that Carl would eventually want to move there. Little did she know that I was the one that wanted to stay.

I was more jetlagged coming back home. Really good coffee every morning helped me with the eastbound jetlag. When I got back, our coffee place was no longer offering free coffee, so I had to settle for inferior caffiene to keep me awake. grr.

Day Six - Firenze
Same breakfast as the day before with the addition of some leftover pork from the previous day’s lunch. For those critics who’d scoff at my eating a pork chop for breakfast (not that anyone here would do so), it came from the same animal as bacon, and one does eat bacon for breakfast, so there!

After going to the Bargello, we went to Boccadama for lunch.
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Macceronihini al pomodoro fresco, melanzane, e ricotta salata.
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Insalatone Rustica. Had a lot of my favorite things: bacon, avocado, cheese.
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Bocconcini di manzo al Chianti con pisellini. One of their specialties. So rich and delicious. I’m not a big fan of peas, but they made theirs so well. Must have been the pancetta.
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Back to Vivoli before the Academia. Lampone and ciocolata caffe. I don’t know why my gelati pictures are all blurry. I apologize. Must have been shaking with excitement. (Carl: “it’s like the best raspberry…”)
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Off to the Academia. After missing him the first two times I was in Firenze, I FINALLY got to see Michelangelo’s David. Absolutely stunning. Brought tears to my eyes. Really it did.

For dinner, we tried to get into Il Latini, but the wait was a bit longer than we wanted, so we headed around the corner to L’Osteria di Giovanni.
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A complimentary glass of prosecco
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Followed by fried dough. Doesn't even compare to the stuff you get at street fairs.
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A bottle of the house red.
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Ravioli di patate con funghi porcini e tartufo nero. OMG!
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Bavette al nero di seppia con le vongol. I think this trip has turned Carl into a convert to squid ink pasta.
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Tuscan bread salad, also on the house. I bit too acidic for me, but Carl loved it.
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We were still full from lunch, so we didn't order the Bistecca alla Fiorentina — one kilo of meat would have been overkill. Instead we ordered the Tagliate di bue Chianino alla griglia contorno (I think). Those potatoes were so good. So nice and crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. The beef was also incredible.
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Biscotti. More free stuff. Our kind of place!
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We declined dessert, and headed back to Vivoli. Pistacchio and fragole. This was by far the best pistacchio I've ever had. The color was a rich--almost coffee colored brown, and the flavor was so intense. Pure perfection in a cup.
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This marked our last day in Firenze. Tomorrow, it's back to Bagnaia.

Edited by I_call_the_duck, 28 September 2007 - 10:38 AM.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#11 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 12:35 PM

Day Seven – Arrivederci, Firenze

Our last day in Firenze. How sad. But it did mean that we’d be going back to Bagnaia for more Tuscan sun. BTW, with the exception of an hour of light rain in Firenze, we had perfect weather. Not that there’s actually such a thing as global warming. :rolleyes:

So what’s this? This was the color of the sky that day. I decided that this is to be the color of our new kitchen.
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We took it a little easy that day. Walked around a bit, then went to Mercato Centrale to supplement our lunch of leftovers from the previous night and to purchase some scallions and ginger for our Chinese meal the next day. But more on that later.

Leftovers. The potatoes definitely weren't the same as last night, but the beef was still delicious.
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One last stop for gelato. This time we decided to mix it up a bit and went to Carabe. Thought I was going to say Vivoli, didn't you?
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We opted for the granita this time. Pompelmo rosa. Refreshing, but I think they snuck some compari in it, which made it a little sweeter and lacked the tartness I look for in a pompelmo.
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So back on a bus to Siena. We made it home just in time for dinner, where Fabio was making pizza in the outdoor oven (wood-burning). They recently installed this little guy right outside the kitchen. There is a larger one, but it is further away from the house, which makes it very inconvenient in the colder months.

The oven by day. Cute, huh?
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Almost done...
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Pizza with capers
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With tomatoes and anchovies.
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Pizza with tomatoes and cheese, and spaghetti carbonara. The carbonara didn’t have the creaminess I’m accustomed to, but it was delicious nonetheless.
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Marinated veggies.
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More cheese. This was taleggio from a neighboring farm.
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Pizza with grapes. The dough is a little sweet. A Tuscan treat generally used as an after-school snack, but everyone at Bagnaia has a sweet tooth, so they like it.
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The harvest started a couple of days before. The farm is totally organic, and the grapes are picked by hand. Everyone said that because the summer was so hot, the grapes are going to make really good wine. The down side is that because of the drought, the quantity will be considerably less.

So we got a preview of what is to come. Fresh grape juice. Squeezed that day. Had a nice fizz to it.
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I just love it here. :wub:
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#12 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 09:23 AM

Another little Tuscan town? No, just part of Bagnaia.
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Pomegranates!
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I never was a big fan of figs. People may remember the Fig Newton commercial back in the 70’s, in which a guy in a big fig suit singing a little jingle. Freaked me out and scarred me for life. But these figs right off the tree were so good!
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The vegetable gardens
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The cows. Their milk sweetened our coffee every morning.
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The Bull. He looked a lot meaner in person.
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It was Alessandra’s turn to milk the cows that day. They do use machines, but she was just finishing it off. We being city folk, of course took a picture.
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And from cows come cheese.
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Squab and hare. I think this used to be a temporary dog pen, but now that they no longer had dogs, Checco said (with a gleam in his eye) that they could use the pen to hold squab and other game. heh-heh.
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Pigs!
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Me: “I am not worthy.” Pig on the left: "WTF? Crazy American lady."
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Ain’t nobody here but us chickens. Except ducks, geese, roosters and turkeys.
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Bees! There are Etruscan ruins beyond them bees, but I didn’t dare venture beyond the hives.
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That was the immediate area. Vineyards next.
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#13 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 08:53 AM

Day Eight - My turn to cook

In preparation for the Chinese meal, Checco took Carl and me to the COOP, a HUGE supermarket just near the train station in Siena. This was a cool place. Fresh meats, fish, lots of organic stuff. Everything else you can think of.
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Lunch. This afternoon it was Ivan’s turn. Mushroom risotto, trippa, string beans, cheese, and insalate. The trippa just as good as Casalinga’s, only this time a more manageable portion
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After lunch, Carl and I took a walk around the farm to take more pictures before cooking dinner. We couldn’t find where they were picking the grapes that day, but this was the vineyard closest to the house.
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Che bella!!

Edited by I_call_the_duck, 30 September 2007 - 12:58 PM.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#14 markemorse

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 10:19 AM

Oh goodness, am I missing Siena. We lived in an amazing apt on Il Campo for several months while we were learning Italian...

Hope you got to taste some ricciarelli while you were there...one of the things I miss most. That and the rosticceria where we used to pick up arancini and fried polenta after school....

Thanks for the great trip report!
mark

#15 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 12:44 PM

As much as I love Siena, we actually didn't spend much time there this time. mark, I did't have ricciarelli this time around, but had some the last time we went and they were indeed tasty. It's such a beautiful town.


Olives. Their olive oil is amazing.
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So now for our turn to cook. The backstory. During our last stay at Bagnaia, one of the members Checco requested that I make a Chinese meal the next time we visit. Now everyone at Bagnaia loves to eat, but Checco is the only one that has the passion for food of an eGulleter. I've been since thinking on and off about what to make. I was concerned about a few things: availability of ingredients, that people were expecting a Wedding Banquet-type meal, and the number of people I’d be cooking for. I planned to make very basic, home-style dishes that one would normally not see in a restaurant, and a little on the "safe" side, since many of them are not accustomed to Chinese cuisine.

A few weeks ago, I posted an inquiry about Asian markets in Firenze or Siena. Divina said that there was a large Asian market near the Mercato by San Lorenzo, but somehow I flaked and thought it was the Mercato Centrale so I couldn’t find it. It also didn’t help that I forgot to write it down.

Anyway, Divina mentioned that whatever was there would probably be expensive, so being the cheapskate I am, I decided to bring my own condiments and sauces, and improvise with whatever greens I could find either on the farm or in Siena. I wrapped everything carefully in bubble wrap and put it all in a plastic box. I did such a good job that the TSA decided to go in our suitcase and investigate. (They did leave a nice note informing us of their little look-see.)

My arsenal. Sriracha is not a typical Chinese condiment, but I thought some people would love it.
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The Benedryl and other meds did not go into the meal. :laugh:

Alfredo and Carl helped me with prep. They were a lot of help.

Sorry for the blurry pictures. Everyone was really eager to eat, so I took these very quickly before I got stampeded.

BBQ-ed spare ribs
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Ah Leung’s braised chicken with ginger and scallions
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Beef and tomatoes
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Eggplant, squash, and tomatoes. This was kind of a last-minute addition, since Alfredo mentioned that some people were vegetarians.
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There was also String beans with garlic, and of course, rice.

In retrospect, I don't think I balanced the meal properly. I wanted to feature dishes that used different cooking methods. But the meal was a big hit (hardly any leftovers), and I think even the vegetarians ate the meat. It'll prepare me for our next trip.
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#16 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 10:22 AM

Day 9 - Coming down the home stretch.

Our vacation is almost over. So sad. In the morning, Amy, Carl, and I went for a walk up to this monastery up on a hill. We got back in time for lunch, where it was Checco’s turn to cook. Carl and I love Checco’s cooking, and we always try to work our schedule around his turn in the kitchen.

Linguine con vongole.
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There was also caponata, leftovers from last night, cheese, and insalate. The chicken from last night was long gone, but Checco used the sauce and added it to the ribs. Checco joked that he didn't know we'd be there, or he wouldn't have mixed it together, but it actually tasted pretty good.

A cherry soaked in grappa. Hic!
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For our final day at Bagnaia we just walked around the farm, enjoying our last day there before heading to Rome and enventually home.

We had a little aperitivo while watching the sunset.
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Everyone at Bagnaia was at some festival, so nobody was on kitchen duty that night. Alessandra and her fiancé Roberto put together a dinner of leftovers and also cooked a pan of spaghetti with olive oil and peccoricino. After dinner, Carl, Amy, Alessandra, Roberto, and I drove to Siena for gelati to enjoy our last night together.

This place was right in il Piazza del Campo. Alessandra’s favorite place.
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Pompelmo rosa and anguria (watermelon). It was good, but not the best.
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What a lovely way to end the evening.
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#17 Domestic Goddess

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 04:43 PM

Karen, I can't see your last batch of pictures. :(

EDIT: Whoops! Now they're there. :rolleyes:

Edited by Domestic Goddess, 01 October 2007 - 04:50 PM.

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The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

#18 bushey

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 06:00 PM

What a great report!

A couple of years ago I took a VBT* bike trip with some friends, "Tuscan Coast" and we spent a day in Castiliiogne della Pescaia -- what a beautiful place! We also visited an olive oil mill and stayed at an agriturismo that made their own wines. But I can't imagine how utterly fantastic it would be to actually live there...................

We spent a couple of days in Firenze also. While David did not make me cry, he did make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was as though the marble was alive. Gelato every day, and for some reason my favorite flavor turned out to be fior di latte, which really does taste like good, sweet milk. One of the highlights of our trip was stopping for gelato every afternoon and the guides were always very specific about which place had the best gelato and which places to avoid.

* Vermont Bike Tours

#19 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 06:35 PM

Thanks, bushey. We saw a bike tour starting out while we were in Siena. They were all couples riding tandem bikes. That's my way of doing it--let Carl do all the work, especially with all those darn hills! :laugh: But in all seriousness, bicycling through Tuscany sounds like a wonderful way of seeing the countryside.

As wonderful as Bagnaia is, we decided that we wouldn't want to live there. Too much work, and there's the communal living thing. We'd be perfectly happy with a little house with a small bit of land nearby, and visit often!

There's more gelati to come. Stay tuned.

Edited by I_call_the_duck, 01 October 2007 - 06:36 PM.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#20 Pontormo

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 09:38 AM

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This is an impressive amount of documentation! :wacko:

When you first made your inquiry about available ingredients, I had no idea you have such strong connections to the region. It is a pleasure to feel nostalgic about Florence, but even more to glimpse the life on a farming collective (?) just outside of Siena.

I love the picture of your homage to (pink!!!!) pigs, the views of the beach and the plate of tagliatelle w funghi. I am so pleased, too, that your Chinese meal came off so well and that everyone appreciated all the effort you put into it!
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#21 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 12:30 PM

Thanks, Pontormo! My friend thinks the pig picture is hilarious. Silly pigs came running when they saw us--thought I was going to feed them. Just the opposite. See you in a few months, boys (heh-heh). Bangnaia has a vast network of farms who are committed to organic and biodynamic farming, not just in the region, but also worldwide. It was started about 25 years ago, and as the original members are getting older, it's nice to see younger people moving in who share that same passion. I appreciate the farm more and more with each visit.

Funny you should mention that painting, pontormo. A friend of theirs painted this in Bagnaia's dance/rec space.
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Gee, I didn't realize that there were so many pictures here (and you got the edited version!). I guess I went a little crazy with the camera, no? But there was so much to share. Sorry everyone, if I'm slowing down your computers.


Day 10 – A la promissa volta, Bagnaia.

We sadly left Bagnaia and headed towards Roma. Sniff.

The good part is that we get to my favorite place in Roma. The Pantheon? Nope. St. Peter’s? Not even close. The Trevi? Getting warmer. It called me like a homing beacon. San Crispino!
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They make the best pompelmo sorbetto. EVER. I dream of the stuff. I long for the stuff. No other pompelmo even comes close. I try it wherever I see it, and I always wind up disappointed. San Crispino's pompelmo (paired with pistacchio here) is balanced so perfectly, and has little bits of pulp which explode in your mouth.
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AH, sweet mystery of life at last I found you!!!! The pistacchio was good, but Vivioli's was better.

The guy at our B&B said that Giolitti has the best gelati in Roma, so just to be fair we felt like we had to pay a visit.
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Our bases of comparsion, pomelmo and melone. We enjoyed it, but liked San Crispino and Vivoli more.
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We skipped lunch, so we had a mid-afternoon snack, or “lunner” as we call it. A little bar by the Pantheon was offering a Happy Hour. A glass of wine, with free sandwiches and peanuts. The peanuts were good.
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Probably the least favorite meal of trip, so I guess we'll have to make it up by going for more gelati. :laugh:

Edited by I_call_the_duck, 03 October 2007 - 08:39 AM.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#22 tupac17616

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:17 PM

mmm...crema al barolo chinato :wub:

#23 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 08:38 AM

tupac17616, sadly I didn't try the crema al barolo chinato. The only problem with San Crispino is that you can't see the gelati because of those little covers. But I'll keep in mind next time.


Dinnertime! We had no idea where to go, so we headed of to Da Francesco for some pizza. As weinoo said in another blog, it was full of US tourists (presently company included) with a few locals mixed in, and an accordion player and keyboardist playing every single clichéd Italian-themed song known to mankind. Sorry. Enough of the ranting.

It was dark outside, and I broke the cardinal rule of using a flash to take these pictures. (Apologies to those who I’ve blinded that night.) We ordered a pizza with funghi and prosciutto, and spaghetti carbornara.
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I have a lot of trouble navigating city streets if there is no grid pattern, but the little San Crispino magnet brought me back there with no problem.

Pompelo e nicciola. Wait, was it nicciola? Whatever it was, it was goooood.
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Then back inside for the banana and gelato il San Crispino (honey).
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Day 11 – Addio, Italia.

At the airport. We arrived at some ungodly hour of the morning, and thanks to that little San Crispino magnet we found...
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Breakfast, part due. Pompelmo and cacao de Valrhona. OMG! OMG! OMG!!
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Check out the sign. Doing some quick math…freezer pack lasts six hours, our flight is eight hours long plus an extra hour to go through customs and get home…darn!
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So that ends our trip. Or so we thought.

Our flight was delayed coming out of Rome, and instead of holding our connecting flight to Philadelphia for us and about a dozen other passengers, we spent an unscheduled night in Paris courtesy of Air France. Carl wanted to go into the city, but I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to get home. I looked around our hotel room and decided to overcome my fatigue and go out to dinner. I’m glad I did. We saw Notre Dame at night, and found this cute bistro along the Seine, Quai 21.

I forgot my camera, and after reading a related thread in the France forum, I’m kinda glad I did. Then again, I probably would have been oblivious to the situation. We had oeuf cocotte foie gras, magret de canard (roasted duck breast in a honey glaze), da peche du marche (sea bass poached with oil), and gateau with crème Anglais. Our wine was a very nice St. Nilos de Bourgueil 2006.

Air France did not pay for our dinner, but it was nice of them to give us a free night in Paris, wasn't it?
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#24 tupac17616

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 01:43 PM

Pompelo e nicciola. Wait, was it nicciola?  Whatever it was, it was goooood.

Nocciola == Hazelnut
Looks like it was a fantastic trip to Italy that ended properly with plenty of good gelato!

#25 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 01:52 PM

Pompelo e nicciola. Wait, was it nicciola?  Whatever it was, it was goooood.

Nocciola == Hazelnut
Looks like it was a fantastic trip to Italy that ended properly with plenty of good gelato!

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Yeah, I know, but I can't tell if that particular flavor with the pompelmo was nicciola--it looks a little too yellow. My notes got kind of garbled at the end.

The multiple gelati visits was Carl's idea (not that I'd refute the idea). We only had one day in Rome this time, so we had to cram in as much gelati as possible.

Edited by I_call_the_duck, 04 October 2007 - 11:14 AM.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#26 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 11:10 AM

Day 12 – On the road again

After a surprisingly good breakfast at our hotel, we headed off to the airport. But not before a stop at Paul, conveniently located right near our gate. They were out of regular croissants, so I had to “settle” for a pain au chocolate.
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...and some macarons for the road (or air).
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Home again!

My souvenirs. Five bottles of Bagnaia wine and a bottle of Bagnaia olive oil. I’m sad to say that there was one casualty, but we still have three bottles of wine (four minus one to our neighbor who watched our house) to enjoy until our next visit.
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So after over 200 pictures, we're finally at the end.

Thanks for reading. I had fun sharing our vacation with you, and see you next time!

Edited by I_call_the_duck, 04 October 2007 - 11:19 AM.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany