“Reaching south from Florence, the province of Siena ripples with the gentle forested hills of Chianti into the rich valleys of the Chiana and Orcia Rivers. The area bubbles with the earthly pleasures of hot mineral waters and agricultural wonders. It is a region of contrasts. Depending on the season, travelers are treated to the visual splendors of the blazing colors of reddened grape leaves or cheery sunflowers, soothed by billowing fields of wheat.
Beyond Chianti, the road is less traveled by tourists, less touched by the winds of commercialism. It is not uncommon to see deer, porcupine, pairs of pheasant, and perhaps even wild boar as you drive or walk the area. Many quaint and traditional food-making practices still exist here. The highlighted foods of this area are the pecorino cheese, truffles and porcini mushrooms, and Chianina beef. You’ll also be introduced to some uniquely local products such as a pasta called pici and a pork sausage called finocchiona, which is salted and cured in a coating of aromatic wild fennel flowers and black pepper.”
Judy Witts Francini’s Divina Cucina:
Judy Witts Francini, is a member of the Italian Personal Chef Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, a member of Slow Food International, and a student of cooking for over 30 years. She’s married to a native Florentine, Andrea Francini, whose knowledge of Florence provides Judy with valuable insights. Her blog, Over the Tuscan Stove, features weekly articles for those who want to keep current on Tuscany.
“Whether your vacation dreams are to spend a morning cooking or a week learning and living as a Tuscan, we can help you fulfill that dream and come away with beautiful memories. Ecco La Cucina is an Italian cooking school offering hands-on cooking classes near Siena in Tuscany. Choose from a single day Tuscan cooking class, multiple days cooking classes or a weeklong culinary vacation tour – each will provide you with insights to this beautiful, rich culture.”
“Italy’s cuisine is known and loved in all the world. It’s the comfort food we all think of when we want to eat a meal that satisfies all our senses. What could be more fun than learning how to cook while you’re in Tuscany? And where better than in our kitchen in Chianti! Come cook with us in our Tuscan country kitchen overlooking the vineyards and olive groves of the florentine Chianti hills. Chef Antonio Alfani of Lo Studiolo will show you the sensual wonders of Italian food and wine. After cooking together, everyone sits down to our convivial table to enjoy a great meal with new friends.”