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On August 29th, 2020 by Karen Embrey

What's Cooking in Our Kitchens?!

Posted In:
Food | Italy | People | Recipes

We're making pasta!

During these times when all of our wings have been clipped and our travel itineraries halted, Tuscany Tours has been offering some amazing online experiences to our travel community.  Many of our travelers have enjoyed the expertise of our friends, Chef Vincenzo and Sheryl, during our online cooking classes. The recipes featured so far have allowed our home cooks to Bring Italy Home! by way of Italian recipes like gnocchi, orecchiette, pallotte cace e ove, and amazing desserts tiramisu and biscotti!

 

Larry & Nancy having fun in the kitchen!

Larry & Nancy having fun in the kitchen!

 

Biscotti and TiramisuThose folks adventurous enough to dive into these authentic, homespun Italian recipes have learned how to use cheese curds, the difference between regular flour and semolina flour (very important for the orecchiette!), and that carrots in a red sauce is normal in Abruzzo!  Not to mention, getting to know the local Trader Joe's or discovering Amazon Food for finding the authentic ingredients needed for some of the recipes.

We are excited to share with you the recipe for Dark Chocolate Almond Biscotti (pictured here).

If you'd like to join one of our online cooking classes - or another of our virtual experiences - check out our Bring Italy Home! Shop.  We hope to see you in the kitchen soon!

 

 

Vincenzo Giangiordano trained at the very traditional Italian culinary institute Villa Santa Maria. This culinary school is in the mountainous region of Abruzzo where he is originally from. Chef Vincenzo has worked in restaurants within five star hotels all over Italy, including Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence (Fiesole) and Siena. This is where he learned the traditional dishes from each region. For seven years, he was owner and chef of La Porta del Chianti in the heart of the Chianti region in Tuscany. During this time, the restaurant earned a place in the Michelin guide.

Sheryl Ness recently published a book about their life together called Love in a Tuscan Kitchen: Savoring Life Through the Romance, Recipes, and Traditions of Italy. The book will take you on a journey to Italy and to a little village in Chianti where she and Vincenzo lived for 6 years. The book also includes 38 traditional recipes for dishes such as spaghetti carbonara, risotto, ribollita soup, pici cacio e pepe and the hot chocolate love cake, among other treasures.

Chef Vincenzo & Sheryl Ness

Chef Vincenzo & Sheryl Ness

On June 20th, 2020 by Karen Embrey

Read Italy: Our Travelers' Favorite Books about Italy

Posted In:
Books | Culture | Italy | Reflections | Travelers Tales

READ ITALY book recommendations

Our travelers are avid readers, and they love to share their personal book recommendations in our Tuscany Tours Travel Community Facebook group.  In these "safer-at-home" times, a good book is just what the doctor ordered to help us escape to another place.  And, what better place than Tuscany, Sicily, Florence, Venice..... or anywhere in Italy?!  Books about Italy

To vicariously travel to Italy, look no further than our community’s recommendations below. History, fiction, art, science… there’s something for everyone.  So, grab your wine, kick back, and relax as we guide you on some armchair travels through Italy!

Help us to grow our Italy book list!  Please leave your recommendations in the comments below.

 

Tuscany Tours Team recommendations:

Pam recommends:
All Sam Hilt books!
All Detective Montalbano books -- set all over Sicily
Love in a Tuscan Kitchen: Savoring Life Through the Romance, Recipes, and Traditions of Italy by Sheryl Ness

Karen recommends:
The Botticelli Secret: A novel of Renaissance Italy  by Marina Fiorato
The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

Jeremy recommends:
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Shauna recommends:
The Birth of Venus – Sarah Dunant
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Travelers' Community recommendations:

Mark B. recommends:
A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover’s Dream by Ferenc Máté
A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure by Marlena de Blasi
Hidden Tuscany: Discovering Art, Culture, and Memories in a Well-Known Region's Unknown Places by John Keahey
The Wisdom of Tuscany: Simplicity, Security & the Good Life - Making the Tuscan Lifestyle Your Own by Ferenc Máté

Lauren Y. recommends:
The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

Judie W. recommends:
One Summer Day in Rome by Mark Lamprell
The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria by Marlena de Blasi
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes
I Found Myself in Tuscany by Lisa Condie

Virginia S. recommends:
Dances with Luigi: A Grandson’s Determined Quest to Comprehend Italy and the Italians by Paul Paolicelli

Jeff C. recommends:
Hidden Tuscany: discovering Art, Culture, and Memories in a Well-Known Region’s Unknown Places by John Keahey
The Mountains of Saint Francis: Discovering the Geologic Events that Shaped our Earth

Tarie H. recommends:
The Glassblower of Murano by Mariana Fiorato
A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi

 

On June 18th, 2020 by Karen Embrey

Sugar & Spice......

Posted In:
Florence | Food | Gelato | Italy | Life in Tuscany | Reflections

Bicycle outside My Sugar Gelato Florence

Gelato from My Sugar in Florence…..and everything nice can be found in a scrumptious spoonful of GELATO!  While out one Spring day doing my very FAVORITE pastime in Florence (wandering the streets with no particular place to go!), I came upon an elusive gelato shop that I’d read lots of great
things about but could never find.  It’s in the lesser-visited area of San Lorenzo in the Centro Storico (historical center) of Florence –  “less visited” only because (unfortunately) many tourists don’t venture BEYOND the imaginary “tourist’s triangle” that includes the Duomo, the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio.

The absolute most incredible part of visiting Florence is just WANDERING!!  Meander about this beautiful city and turn down every little street and alley you can find – the city is so small that you can’t get lost!  Don’t get distracted by the window displays of the leather shops.  Look UP at the buildings to truly experience your surroundings as you walk these hallowed halls once traversed by many of the Renaissance greats – Michelangelo, daVinci, the Medici and so many more.

When you decide to toss the map, you can discover so many hidden features of this truly magical city…. like the undiscovered gelaterie with award-winning delights in a cup (or a cone, whatever your pleasure).  My Sugar Gelato & Yogurt is located on via de’ Ginori 49r.  I shoved two flavors into my piccolo coppa (small cup) and had Pineapple & Ginger AND Coconut for the small investment of only €2!  The flavors were amazing – unique, fresh, and made with REAL ingredients.  I could even taste the flakes of coconut!  Another of their unique flavors is melacotta (ricotta, apple, cinnamon and honey).  The flavors change on a daily basis so feel free to make a daily visit-- your taste buds will love you for it!

It was only after I’d stepped back outside of the shop that I read the sign that said:  “WINNER Gelato Festival Firenze 2016 Reviewed by NY Times.”  Well, I guess my taste buds have been validated by the real gelato experts!  Head over to My Sugar for some absolutely decadent artisanal homemade gelato made fresh daily onsite!

My Sugar Gelato Artigianale
Via de' Ginori, 49/red
50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Tel: +39 393 069 6042
https://my-sugar.business.site/

 

Where have you found YOUR favorite gelato in Italy?!? 

Personaggi ~ People
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