|Making the Most of Second Chances|
by Kathleen Green/The Dallas Morning News
As teens, Patty and Bill Sutherland were
discouraged from dating by their parents. But 20 years later was another story.
Twenty-two stone plaques line the wall of Bill and Patty Sutherland's
Tuscany home. An engraved "Grazie" with a Roman numeral for each year of
marriage reminds them just how grateful they are to be together.
And as each anniversary rolls by, Bill presents Patty with another
plaque. They also make a point to look at the marriage license that hangs next
to their bed in Italy. "We turn it over and write a little note and renew for
another year," she says. "It's getting pretty full. We now have Post-it Notes
on the back."
There was a time when Bill and Patty thought they'd never be together,
much less be celebrating 22 years of marriage. They fell head over heels for
each other as teenagers at Arlington High School in the early '60s.
"There was a conflict between our parents that was unresolved and unexplained," says Patty, "and so we were the fallout from that."
It was not until September. 19, 1987, that Bill and Patty finally tied
the knot in an Arlington home they had admired as teens and dreamed about
living in someday.
They are still amazed how life has turned out. And in 1998, Bill and Patty bought an old farmhouse in Italy where they now run Tuscan Women Cook, a weeklong cooking school for vacationers.
"We both got married so young that we'd never had the big adventure,"
says Patty. "We just said, 'This is our chance. If we don't do this now, it
probably isn't going to happen."
Click here to read the entire article from the Dallas Morning News
Summer 2010. Tuscan Women Cook, LLC
Thank you all for your overwhelming approval of our
newsletters. We love sharing
Tuscany with everyone, and it appears you appreciate receiving the information. Apparently, our photo of Flavio
Andreucci was a big hit, especially with our female friends.
We know you will enjoy our story of Daria Cappelli
and her rapidly becoming famous restaurant Osteria La Porta.
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Our 2010 classes are nearly filled, but we do have a few
spaces open should you find time to come join us in Tuscany. It is never too late to start planning for 2011 classes.
We hope you can join us in Tuscany one day in the
|Osteria La Porta|
always excited to introduce our guests to the Osteria La Porta. It's not only because the food is absolutely
amazing, but we love our friends to meet the charming and talented Daria
Cappelli, who owns and operates this local treasure. Daria turns a dining
experience into a chance to enjoy much more than a great meal-it becomes an
evening of being embraced by the full spirit of authentic Tuscan hospitality-its
rustic beauty, rich flavors, and boundless generosity.|
upon Osteria La Porta years ago and it immediately won us over. It's located in
the nearby village of Montichiello, that's similar to our town of Montefollonico-meaning
it's small and not at all busy or touristy. The osteria is set by the old
village gate, in a perfect spot with a dining terrace that overlooks a stunning
panorama. Inside it's a cozy setup, with three small rooms on different levels
and a dumb waiter in the corner connecting the floors. I always think, "That
dumb waiter gets fantastic views!"
this operation in 1997. Its success is a true heroine's story. She grew up in
Montichiello, then moved to Florence for university, got a great job in an
import/export company, met and married the love of her life and had two
children. Sadly, her husband died when her daughters were young and she also
lost her job. At that point Daria moved back to Montichiello where her parents
could help her raise her daughters, and she could figure out her next move.
Without any restaurant experience, she decided to turn a building her father
owned into a wine bar, running it by day and commuting in the evenings to
Arezzo for classes to become a certified sommelier. After much hard work, the
wine bar grew into an osteria, locals and tourists became fans, and writers
from the New York Times and other
publications sang its praises.
my mother cooked, but then it got to be too big a job, so I hired an excellent
chef from the Veneto," Daria says. "Moreno has a great passion for our food,
and he brings a lighter touch to it." Exquisite homemade pastas-such as the
traditional pici (thick spaghetti)
with duck ragu are what this place is famous for. Moreno also makes excellent tortini-vegetable tarts that change
seasonally-artichokes in spring, eggplant in summer, mushrooms in the fall.
love to serve dishes that we prepare especially for our guests. For example, Americans
love the famous Chianina beef that's raised here, so for the Tuscan Women Cook
group we prepare beef cheeks braised with wine and black pepper."
One of our
favorite personal memories of dining here is when a guest of ours saw a rice torta on
Daria's menu-a cake that his Italian grandmother always used to make. When he
ordered it and took a bite, he got teary, as vivid memories of his grandmother
came back. When Daria heard the story, she generously gave our guest the whole
rest of the cake to enjoy during his stay. He took it back to his hotel and
enjoyed it every night of his week with us.
is just one example of how Daria naturally makes personal connections with her
guests. She speaks English, German, and French, and finds it easy to talk with
whoever walks through her door.
is my greatest pleasure," says Daria. "I want everyone who comes here to have something
more than just stopping in at a restaurant. I want to share with them not only
the food, but also what I know about the Val d'Orcia, so they will surely have
something to remember-even if it's just that I help them make a phone call. This
way, after a day of work, when I lie in bed at night and I think about the
people I've met, the way I've been able to help them, that's what makes me smile," Daria says.
|Bagno Vignoni and the Hotel Adler
springs bubble under our beautiful valley of vineyards and olive groves known
as the Val d'Orcia
springs of mineral rich water have brought bliss to pleasure seekers for
thousands of years. When the ancient Romans discovered them, they created places
where they could soak, cure their ailments and lift their spirits. They called
these places SPAS, short for Salus Per
Aqum=Health Through Water. Towns grew around these spas. One of the most
enchanting of these towns is nearby us. It's called Bagno Vignoni
and is a place we take our guests during the Tuscan
Women Cook week.
you'll find surprising amidst Bagno Vignoni's perfectly preserved architecture
from the Middle Ages, is that instead of a central piazza, there's a large
thermal pool. Many luminaries came to take the waters right here, including Pope
Pius II, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Francis, and Lorenzo the Magnificent. We'll
walk in their footsteps and take a break at one of the side canals, so if you
wish you can soak your feet-you'll be surprised at the temperature which gets
up to 122 degrees!
several spa hotels in Bagno Vignoni, including an elegant one that was
originally the residence of Pope Pius. Our favorite spa in the area is not at
all institutional like the typical Italian spa. It's the 5-Star Hotel Adler
Thermae Spa & Wellness Resort, located on the outskirts of Bagno
Vignoni. The Adler opened in 2004 and has been hailed as one of the best spas
in Europe by many publications, including Travel + Leisure Magazine (which
also recommends Tuscan Women Cook!). It's a gorgeous property, comprised
of an elegant hotel that blends in with beautifully landscaped grounds, and
outdoor thermal pools that are dramatically set into what was once a marble
The Adler seamlessly blends state-of-the art comfort with
the Roman traditions of thermal baths, steam caves, saunas, massages, and adds touches
from Oriental medicine. All this combines to give guests lots of options for
ways to bliss out. There are a range of excellent treatments and massages (such
as anti-aging rituals, deep tissue, reflexology, and Reiki massages), floating
salt baths, outdoor yoga, bike riding paths and even special programs for
children. The dining options are wonderful, with a menu that incorporates the
freshest seasonal ingredients and is complemented by an extensive wine cellar,
focusing on the treasured vintages of the area. Add to that the breathtaking
views that you'll get everywhere--from your dining table, spacious room, or
lawn chair, and...YES, This Is Paradise!
The Adler may be the perfect spot for you to stop before or after your Tuscan
Women Cook week, to get a relaxing experience of the ancient Roman spa
tradition with a new age twist. Their website lists special offers.
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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.