October 7, 2014
Hard to pick a favorite experience after a fabulous week with a wonderful group of folks. We started with one of my top 10 things to do in Italy: visiting my friends Janet and Stefano in their peaceful abode just south of Florence. This year unfortunately we talked about how this year’s terrible olive-growing conditions (cool wet summer, olive flies attacking the fruit as a result of last year’s mild winter) have damaged the fruit so much that there may not even be any of their wonderful oil to send over our way. Our spirits improved however when we sat down to a feast that they must have been working on for days! A few dishes that come to mind: beef carpaccio with parmesan shavings, thinly-sliced zucchini and eggplant, fall tomatoes (amazingly flavorful), salame and fresh figs, ribollita (that most wonderful of Tuscan soups), fresh white anchovies, Tuscan beef stew, and all kinds of baked goodies from their outdoor pizza oven. The foccaccia and the grape schiacciata were not to be believed. An absolutely genuine Tuscan experience!