|La Chiusa Up Close! |
|Easter in Italy
rejoicing with the rest of the folks in Montefollonico for the first arrival of
Primavera (Spring). It was an
especially harsh winter - one day in early March, over 2 feet of snow piled up
on our doorstep! Now buds are poking through the branches of our olive and
chestnut tress, splashes of green are enlivening the fields and vineyards.|
rituals to welcome the rebirth of nature have been going on in this rural
community since pagan times. These rituals now blend with Pasqua (Easter), the Christian celebration of the resurrection.
essential to any Italian celebration and Easter brings its special delicious
treats. In the grocery store in Montefollonico, you'll see a sweet bread,
called Colomba, that's molded into the shape of a dove, symbolizing
peace. You'll also see loads of colorful foil-wrapped milk chocolate shaped
eggs-the egg symbolizing the new beginnings spring brings. Some of these
chocolate eggs are hollow and have trinkets inside for children. Others are
adult versions, often custom-made, and have been known to hold more age
appropriate goodies-such as car keys or an engagement ring.
Sunday morning, Montefollonico women gather eggs from their chicken coops and
bring them in baskets to the church to have them blessed. These fresh, divine
eggs are then brought back to their kitchens to be cooked into the midday
feast. Typically there's a soup - Brodetto
Pasquale - with an egg mixture is stirred in to thicken it. Roasted young
Spring lamb, also from the Catholic tradition, follows on the day's menu.
Italians are famous for stretching out their celebrations, and they do so
officially with Easter. The following Monday is called La Pasquetta (Little Easter), and it's also a National Holiday.
This day is a time when friends and families gather for picnics in the
countryside, often with leftovers from the Easter feast. It's the first time
they've had all year to really enjoy the outdoors. Villages often hold fairs
where there's dancing until well after sunset. All generations feel the surge
of happiness and vitality that comes with days of more sunshine and warmth.
Our Dear Friend Iolanda
Everyone who has been to Tuscan Women
Cook remembers the memorable times learning Tuscan cooking from the master herself
- Iolanda. Recently her health has
not been good, and many of you have asked how to contact her. It would be nice if you would send her
a note and even a photograph of your time with her. You can send mail to Iolanda at:
della Madonnina, 57
Easter 2010. Tuscan Women Cook, LLC
We think you will enjoy our
articles this month. The first is
about Flavio Andreucci's new style of
wine making. We have also
completely renovated our website with new
pages, regional informationm and 100s of new photos and videos. Also, please have a look at our new Facebook
and Flickr pages. Pasqua (Easter) is a very special time in Tuscany, with the first
spring foods making their appearance.
We had an unbelievably
positive response from everyone to our first newsletter. Thank you!
As the economy has begun to stabilize, our enrollments have increased tremendously. Many of our scheduled weeks have already sold out, so we are attempting to add additional weeks to our current schedule. Please check back on our 2010 Calendar page
frequently for the status on current and future weeks.
We hope you can join us in Tuscany one
day in the future.
|Meet the Super Tuscan
|A visit to
our friend Flavio Andreucci's winery is a highlight of our cooking week,
particularly for our female guests.
In a country full of handsome men, Flavio is at the top tier - or as
Italian women say, Flavio is "MOLTO
distraction aside, the main reason we have Flavio on our itinerary is that in
this region of extraordinary winemakers, Flavio is one of the most
extraordinary. His intense dedication and his innovative approach to wine making
have turned the eyes of the world onto his small Tenimenti Andreucci Winery and won
him high praise. Most outstanding is his Regale, an elegant blend of
Sangiovese, Cabernet, and Merlot.
passion for wine making is rooted in his family, who has had a vineyard here for
over 300 years. He honors their legacy with his wine label design that includes
a copy of a bill of sale from Napoleon, who the Andreucci family supplied wine
to 200 years ago.
he shows respect for tradition, Flavio is a true 21st century
winemaker. He focuses on using scientific analysis when it comes to farm work.
He used all he learned from his Geology Degree from the University of Siena to
plant his vineyard, not even breaking ground until he had carefully analyzed
soils, calculated just the right positioning of the vines for the best exposure
to sunlight and ventilation. His goal is to produce the highest quality of
grapes he can, and his motto has always been: "My wine is only as good as my
grapes. A perfect quality of grape makes it possible to make a good wine."
also used the best of what he learned from local Brunello makers and then took
off on his own path. In one of his many radical moves, he built his winery
adjoining his vineyard. Normally, harvested grapes arrive at a winery at least
4 or 5 hours after they've been picked, so the fermentation process has already
begun in route. But Flavio's grapes are carried just meters in small crates to
his winery for inspection, arriving no more than fifteen minutes after they've
been picked. Each bunch is examined for approval. "If one grape in the bunch is
bad, we don't use any of it," he says.
his genius approach to wine making, and despite the fact that he and his wines
have been honored at such prestigious spots as The Waldorf Astoria AND The
White House, Flavio still retains the humbleness of a classic Tuscan farmer.
Montefollonico natives call him by his childhood nickname, "Chicco," which
means grape. They remember watching him as a kid of only about 7, driving his
father's tractor around the vineyard, showing his enthusiasm for farm life
early on. Flavio's retained that enthusiasm and it's a joy to be around when we
visit the Tenimenti Andreucci winery, where he lives with his girlfriend Lara
and her 15-year old son, Matisse.
work, it's a lifestyle," Flavio says. "There are thousands more businesses you
can get into that will pay you more money. That's not what this is about. This
is about us living here, under the sky, under God. We are working carefully,
patiently to grow the best grapes. The biggest satisfaction I get is when
people come to visit. When I talk to them about what I love to do and they
taste it, I can see in their eyes that they really appreciate the work. That appreciation,
that connection I've made with people from all over the world-that is better than anything money can
For more information on Flavio Andreucci's winery, Tenimenti Adreucci Winery, please go to his new website.
|Our New Web Site!
WOW! Awesome! FABULOUS! GORGEOUS! Inspiring! FANTASTIC!
the words that immediately came to mind when we first had an opportunity to
view our new website that just came online a couple of days ago. If you have not viewed it yourself,
click on www.tuscanwomencook.com
you'll immediately understand what we mean.
added hundreds of luscious, vibrant photos: steaming bowls of pasta, golden
vineyards, joy-filled faces of our students and teachers in our cooking class
kitchens, along with the Tuscan hills in glorious bloom.
the pages of our new website feature it's own video - circling the top of the
Duomo in Florence, harvesting grapes during Vendemmia
(wine harvest) and an excerpt from the Fine
Living channel, where we share the story of how we first fell in love with
our Montefollonico farmhouse.
addition to videos, several pages have wonderful slide shows with photos of
guests, cooks, food and spectacular scenery. Our favorite slide show is on the Calendar page, as it incorporates
so many friends and the essence of Tuscan Women Cook.
take a look at the new La Chiusa page with photos and video of one of
Tuscany's most beautiful hotels and the people who make it that way. You will readily understand why we
chose this special place for you in Tuscany.
Our Raves page
now has lots of fun video of past guests talking about their time with us. When the 2010 classes begin, we'll be
regularly updating the video so your friends and family back home can click in
to see what delicious fun you're having.
favorite new addition to our website, is the new Cooks page, where you can meet all
thirteen (a lucky number in Tuscany) of the local women who teach our classes.
The video that shows these amazing cooks in rolling pasta, stirring sauces,
chopping garlic, pouring wine, along with the fresh garden grown ingredients we
use for each meal. This page
perfectly captures our delightful cook's vibrant spirit, which is the heart and
soul of Tuscan Women Cook.
you enjoy our new website as much as we have enjoyed making it. We love seeing all the photos and
videos of old friends and new. For
everyone who has joined us at Tuscan Women Cook in the past - go open a bottle
of Flavio's wine, click on our new website and enjoy the fabulous memories.
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We love what we do, and we love
having so many wonderful guests join us each year in Tuscany.
Hopefully, you will come (or come back) to be with us again soon.
Bill & Patty Sutherland
Tuscan Women Cook, LLC
© 2005-2010 Tuscan Women Cook is a U.S.A registered company based in and operated solely from the United States of America.