In This Issue
May Flowers and Summer Frying
Octopus with Potatoes and Olive Oil
Traveling to Italy this Fall?
Gina's Dates in Louisville
Gina's Cookbook
Small Octopus at Market

Octopus and Potatoes
Quick Links



2014 Food & Wine Tours


Sept 27 -Oct 4th- 2 open spots 

October 4-11 - 6 open spots  


Bologna & Tuscany

October 12 - 19 - 6 open spots

The Palio of Siena 

June 27 - July 4 -sold out


Campania / Napoli

Sept 17 - 24th- 4 open spots


Taste of Tuscany

October 7-11


Join us this year for a full immersion to the regions of Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Campania - great food, wine, history and culture! 


Vacation Villas
& Farmhouses

Casa Marta
Great accommodations for either a night or a week. When planning your stay in Italy, begin your 'country living' on a Saturday and depart the area the following Saturday for the best selection of villas and houses! 
There are several houses will good availability for this year. Call for more information.
Contact Mary: 972.342.8308 
Find us on Facebook
Join Our Mailing List
Living in Tuscany
Do you have a dream to live in Tuscany? An owner Mary works with for weekly rentals is selling 2 of his houses in the Chianti Classico. Located on an absolutely beautiful winery estate, owning a slice of Tuscany might be a dream come true! He's had several interested...if you would like more info, contact Mary. Perhaps you can go see them this year - they are available for weekly rental through the end of this year.
Ciao amici,  
Summer is upon us and Gina is busy in Italy this month - teaching cooking classes and leading culinary tours.

We are excited about leading our first Palio tour at the end of this month for the 2 July Palio! We'll post pictures and highlights on Facebook. For those of you that aren't on FB, we'll feature our travels next month!

Gina and Mary  

Cooking Octopus...

Octopus is delicious when cooked well, is eaten all thru the Mediterranean region, is plentiful in the oceans and is cheap. I've been eating it in Italy for years, but the best I ever had was in Greece, grilled over wood coals and dressed with olive oil and lemon.


As simply as it's prepared, for years I was afraid to tackle it. If you do it wrong it will be tough, inedible, like chewing on a tire, and the first time I attempted it, it was exactly that. Disappointing enough that I didn't try it again for a long time.


I've seen fishermen beating octopi on rocks, trying to soften them. I've heard of how you must boil it with a cork in the water. Or boil it five times, or maybe dip it in boiling water five times. It was all so daunting, I played it safe and only ordered it when I went out.


Then my friend, Oriana, gave me a recipe with solid assurances the results would be nothing but tender and delicious, provided I use a pressure cooker. While they're back in style in the US, they never went out of fashion in Italy; but I've never been interested in understanding the technicalities of a pressure cooker. Seems dangerous and I certainly wasn't going to get one just to cook an octopus.


Yet I was intrigued by the simplicity of Oriana's recipe. It starts with frozen octopus. Apparently, the freezing breaks down the tissue and makes the octopus instantly tender. The ingredients are potatoes, a frozen octopus, a cup of white wine and to finish the dish, good olive oil.  


So I tried it and it was one of the easiest and most delicious things I've ever made!

I hope you'll give it a try!


Buon appetito!

Gina signature 

Octopus with Potatoes and Olive Oil

1 lb octopus, frozen

2 large potatoes, skin on & washed

1 glass white wine


Put everything in a heavy pot with a firmly closed lid (I tied mine down with string to assure that no steam would leak out). Put the pot on a medium heat and cook it an hour and a half.


Take the potatoes out and chop them, putting them on a serving platter. Take the octopus out and remove the purple skin. The skin is edible but I don't like the gelatinous consistency, so I discard it. Chop the octopus and toss it with the potatoes. Drizzle the whole thing with some really good olive oil and serve on a bed of arugula or lettuce. You can put a sprinkle of fresh parsley on if you like.

Trips to Italy Update
We have just two spots open for our September Tuscany tour and 4 in our Campania/Napoli tour. We have special pricing for these Fall classes. If you'd like to join us in early October we are still planning to visit Bologna for the food producers tour - see proscuitto di Parma, Parmigiano cheese and the
REAL balsamico! 

Gina's Culinary Events in Louisville
Gina will be back in the U.S. for a few weeks in late July and conducting several cooking classes and wine dinners in the Louisville area! She will be featured at
The Pendennis Club July 31st (hands on cooking class) and August 16th (wine dinner). Gina will focus on the foods and wines of Tuscany. The hands on cooking class will focus on pasta and participants will learn pici, gnocchi and spaghetti alla chitarra with accompanying sauces. The Pendennis Club is open to the public for these events and is a beautiful, historical building located in downtown Louisville. Please contact them directly to sign up for Gina's class and dinner.
Link is here:  The Pendennis Club

In late August Gina will be partnering with Kathy Cary of Lilly's Bistro conducting two wine dinners at Lilly's Bistro in Louisville.  The four course menu will showcase summer foods and dishes typical of Tuscany at that time of year. For reservations, contact Lilly's Bistro.
Ecco La Cucina Cookbook

gina's cookbookGina's cookbook is now revised and updated with more than 20 new recipes. This collection of traditional Tuscan cooking, features dishes of the Siena area and some of her favorites.