A week in Tuscany, a week in Piedmont!

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    • #6869

      Just home from a wonderful trip to Italy, a week in Tuscany and a week in Piedmont!

      During our week in Tuscany we stayed at Arnaldo and Debora Rossi’s beautiful B&B the Locanda Pane e Vino. The B&B is in an ancient watchtower. The rooms are designed and decorated with top quality materials. There is a lovely, secluded common garden with tables and a fountain to enjoy a late afternoon aperitivo. The accommodations were splendid and each morning we were provided a delicious breakfast.

      Dinner the first night was at Taverna Pane e Vino, also owned by the Arnaldo and Debora. The restaurant is in the historic center of Cortona housed in the cellar of a building from the 1300s. La Taverna is a restaurant characterized by genuine, simple and quality raw materials used in the dishes served. Arnaldo expertly guided us through the menu, explaining the regional and seasonal dishes, as well as helping us select wine we would enjoy with each of the courses. The restaurant has a wine list especially attentive to wines from small vintners and natural wines with over 950 labels. Arnaldo’s vintage DoDo 2010 is wonderful. The food, wine and service at La Taverna was amazing!

      On our third day, we were graciously invited to Arnaldo and Debora’s home for a cooking class. Debora skillfully guided us through the preparation of a multiple course lunch of tagliatelle, gnocchi, steak rolled with ham, zucchini and fontina cheese, flatbread with caramelized onions, and of course, tiramisu for dessert! When the kids arrived home from school, Arnaldo took a break from the harvest to join us for lunch and treat us to a bottle of his Sella dell’Acuto. After lunch we followed him to his winery to observe the harvest process and see his vineyards. It was a fascinating and beautiful afternoon. Arnaldo and Debora are kind, hardworking, intelligent people who warmly share their enthusiasm for local organic wine and food.

      If you’re headed to Tuscany, don’t miss a stay in Cortona at Locanda Pane e Vino!

      After the fantastic week in Tuscany with the stay in Cortona, olive oil & wine tasting at Buccelletti in Castiglion Fiorentino (thanks Michael!), dinner at Castello dell’Acciaiolo in Scandicci (yes, we had dinner in a castle), a day at the beach and a stop in Pisa and Lucca, sight- seeing in Florence and more wine tasting in Chianti (thanks again Michael!), we were off to Piedmont for another week of adventure.

      We stayed at the enchanting Cascina Bricchetto Langhe near Alba. This wonderful home is owned and operated by the delightful Giovanna Oliveri. Giovanna was a wonderful hostess and trip advisor. She provided an amazing breakfast each day. Not only did she offer an excellent selection of local artisanal cheeses, meats, bread and even cakes, as well as homemade jams, she also educated us about tradition and locally produced food. We enjoyed being in the countryside away from everything and waking up with the view of the local vineyard covered hills.

      Giovanna arranged a hike with a local naturalist guide to discover the landscape and native flora. That afternoon we went to the La Banca del Vino (The Wine Bank) for a tour and tasting. The Banca del Vino, located in the historical cellars of the Agenzia di Pollenzo, is a center of storage and refinement for the best wines of Italy. It is also a museum of Italian wine expanding of over two thousand square meters. The young man from the University of Gastromomic Sciences conducting the tour was very knowledgeable and charming.

      Giovanna arranged for us to tour a small cheese facility one morning, with a lunch tasting of the local cheese & salami in the Alte Langhe. The mother and daughter, who run the business, don’t speak a lot of English, but more than we speak Italian, and it was a delightful experience.

      One day during the International Alba White Truffle Fair, we had wonderful lunch at La Pialo in the old town piazza and were treated to a great view of a renaissance parade. After the parade we toured the booths set up all over Alba for the festival.

      On our last day in Piedmont, Giovanna arranged a wine tasting and appetizers lunch at a small producer, Cascina La Barbatella which is located in Nizza Monferrato. Simone, one of the owners, gave us a tour of the winery and cellar then guided us through an extensive tasting of their delicious wines. A must try, if you like Barbera d’ Asti.

      If you are looking for a perfect Piedmont experience, you can’t go wrong with staying at Cascina Bricchetto!


    • #7112

      I absolutely would love to spend a week in Toscana. I have a 70-seat restaurant in the St Louis area, and I do have several Italian wines on my menu. I’m from Sicily and I love Italian wine!


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