Monday, 29 October 2012

Tuscan Cooking Class and San Gimignano

To our great delight, today spoiled us with clear skies over rolling Tuscan hills. Our day commenced with a cooking class at an agriturismo nearby, called, "Castello della Paneretta," in the village of Monsanto. Patrizia and Massimo welcomed just the five of us into their kitchen to teach us their love of food and how to prepare some special Tuscan dishes. Over the course of five hours, we made ravioli, bruschetta, roast pork, artichokes and tiramisu. In addition, we sampled their local cheeses as well as their own balsamic vinegar, olive oil and wine, before being seated to feast on the dishes we had prepared. Patrizia charmed us with her stories of her culture and travels while we marvelled over the food and our surroundings. The walls were covered with china plates, and dried flowers hung from every corner. Through the windows we could see the Tuscan hills.We had the time of our lives.

Patrizia explains the art of separating egg whites to Brett and Sean

Sean helps to prepare the tiramisu under Patrizia's watchful eye

Massimo stuffs the shoulder of pork 

Sean and Brett finely chop the ravioli filling

The Robinsons proudly display their ravioli

Artichokes ready for the oven

Eloise and Sean sit by the fire while waiting for lunch to be served 

Massimo commences serving our sumptuous lunch

Eloise had put all her heart into kneading the ravioli dough

Our stuffed roast pork with artichokes

We were treated like family at "Castello della Paneretta"

Good company, delicious food, wonderful surrounds

"Castello della Paneretta", Monsanto

The entrance to "Castello della Paneretta"

View over the Tuscan countryside from "Castello della Paneretta"

DON'T taste the olives straight off the tree!

Brett, Eloise and Sean in San Gimignano

Eye-catching shop entrance in San Gimignano

A step back in time - San Gimignano

Tricia in San Gimignano
Soon after lunch, we snapped some photos of Patrizia and Massimo's olive orchard and agriturismo. Brett Snr also learnt NOT to sample the tempting olives off the trees, as they are purely for the oil and taste "disgusting!" We then headed off to the beautiful Tuscan village of San Gimignano. It was like stepping back into medieval times (not that I can QUITE remember back that far!). The streets were lined with little stores selling everything from earthenware, to gelato to paintings and the atmosphere was relaxed and enchanting. The end to a perfect day.        Tricia


  1. Oh this looks like the most amazing day! My new favourite post! The food looks sooooo yum but a few of us in the office weren't sure about the artichokes! Love, love, the look of the Tuscan Countryside! Hope you get to recharge the batteries a little bit!!!

  2. Great post! I've been dreaming about going to Italy for years! I am researching which region in Italy would be the best to visit and I think I've decided on renting one of the luxury villas in Tuscany and taking day trips to all of the famous cities and regions. I think I am most excited about visiting Rome, because I am a huge fan of history. do recommend any specific places to visit?