TASTE OF TUSCANY

May 23rd, 2011

“Bedrooms in Italy are narrower than they are in America or Canada. They are very nice by Italian standards, just not so wide,” Paola Roselli, our tour guide said to the group. “Further,” she said, “They don’t name the beds in Italy,” referring to queen, king, and standard. Seems Italian beds come for one or two people; and often, beds for two, are two beds designed for one simply pushed together. “You are going to rural Italy. There may not be Wi-Fi or even cell service,” she suggested, “you’re going to do allot of resting and relaxing and enjoying the beautiful countryside of Tuscany.”  As for exercise, sounds like no problem, as we will be picking olives in the adjacent orchard the first day! And if you still want more, Paola recommends we walk the Roman road (yes, that’s right—it is the original genuine article) outside our villa; it is 4 Kilometers to the nearest town where you can get a coffee!

We invited guests who will be traveling with us to attend this preview TASTE OF TUSCANY dinner at EVOO to put us all in the mood for the trip. Our plan was to bring the group together to get to know each other as well to provide time to ask questions about our itinerary. Paola and her husband came to dinner too, and she came prepared to tell us like it is. After she spoke/gestured for an hour I decided her goal must have been to make sure no one going  on this trip would have any unrealistic expectations.

“Bathrooms in Italy are the most unusual. You see, in Italy we don’t tear down and rebuild; too expensive. We just repair and add on and make the existing structures better. Don’t expect every restroom to be the same. Most of the time, rest rooms were added into small spaces; it is something that will make you laugh when you report back to the group,” she said placing her hands together and looking up to the ceiling as if requesting divine help in getting her point across. Lenore looked around the room wondering how well our guests were accepting the news. Smiles, even laughs, and many nods of approval! Whew!

Paola told the group the itinerary came from the wish-list that we gave her in the beginning when she asked us what an ideal culinary tour in Tuscany would be. She said she was so happy to put together this personal tour and gave us almost everything, leaving out our interest in fishing. That she doesn’t care for fish had nothing to do with it she explained! She said she appreciates the opportunity to put together such a unique tour and being together on this day so everyone can know what to expect in October. She told us we need to be flexible with the itinerary as she may need to switch a few things around—like the day we visit the cattle farm, she said, they are butchering fresh just for us, so when they are ready we go!

Our arrival day needs coordination in that everyone needs to let Paola know when they are arriving so she and the bus company can arrange pick up. All this will be decided of course before we leave for Italy in October. She asked our guests to be sure to tell me and Lenore their flight information so that we can send it all at once to her. Then she will give times, stating the times are more or less accurate, as “we may run into an accident on the road and that slows everyone down.”

Lenore  took video of a portion of  Paola explaining what we can expect on our tour. It is too large to post here so we are burning to CD.  Meanwhile, here are a few pictures of the day.  [Pictures top-bottom:Bob at his amazing Taste of Tuscany buffet; Paola speaking (Italian style); a delicious combination of fresh pasta, bread crumbs, garlic & anchovies aioli; roasted peppers; fritatta with fried eggplant & tomatoes; fennel stuffed porkloin & rosemary potatoes.]