To the eye of a savvy traveller, Tuscany represents one of the ultimate holiday destinations, certainly of the most romantic places in Italy. As a luxury travel advisor and passionate food lover, I thought I would share with you some of the best gastronomic highlights of this region. A trip certainly worthy of many special celebrations in Italy and will definitely give you some great special corporate trip ideas!
We would of course have to start in Florence, the capital, for some true street food: Panino con il Lampredotto. This is a typical Florentine sandwich filled with a part of the cow’s stomach topped with a lovely green sauce. It might not sound particularly appealing but for true food adventurers that like strong flavours, this is a must. We then head to the outskirts of the city down the charming Chianti countryside. Our first stop is in San Polo in Chianti where 2 young brothers make some of the region’s finest extra virgin olive oil. It’s great spending quality time with them as you really get to understand the nuances of this fantastic product and how versatile it is.
Next stop is in Strada in Chianti, less than 10 minutes drive to visit a leading Pasta producer that has been specialising in crafting this product for several generations. So much so that they have a tiny museum that they are particularly proud of. Here you will taste all their pasta cooked “naked” to get a real understanding of the flavour profile. Al Dente of course! Just before lunchtime, we head further south to Greve in Chianti to visit a cheese maverick. Their gorgeous farm is set in the most romantic of settings; you just fall in love with the place. And that is before you get to taste anything. Here, they are known as the goat specialists: from fresh Ricotta to aged Pecorino, this is the ultimate place for cheese lovers.
After this tasty aperitivo, it’s time for lunch and we head to the meat temple in Panzano in Chianti where a crazy butcher serves some of the best stakes around. Its basically a meat feast with each of the 5 course having some sort of meat in it – utterly delicious! We need a bit of a break by now so we take a drive around the beautiful hills. The scenery is just so impressive; it feels like everywhere there is a sign saying “luxury homes for sale in Italy” or “winery for sale in Italy”. You just want to spend the rest of your life here.
Speaking of wine, our last stop is in Radda in Chianti, one of the highest points in the Chianti area known more for making some of the most elegant and refined Chianti wines. We visit one of my favourite artisans who welcomes us in his lovely estate and after a brief tour of the vineyard we head to the cellar where the magic happens. There is always something special about tasting a wine in a cellar, it tastes so much better: I guess it’s the whole atmosphere that heightens your senses. The wines are to die for, I say to myself "this is the ideal place for a wine society to meet and create exclusive events revolving around the artisan’s wines paired with delicious Tuscan dishes". Please don’t wake me up – I am still dreaming of Tuscany!