Immersion Journeys in Italy, France and Spain

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 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


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

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