It is not a question of what is my favorite part of Italy, it is a question of what are my favorite parts of Italy. One of them is Florence and the Tuscany region. I love the scenery, the people, the history and of course the wine and food.
Whenever we took a Traveling Professor small group tour to Florence and Tuscany, we always made sure to take a journey out to the Tuscan countryside. That included a stop at a winery and a village like San Gimignano, high on a hilltop overlook vineyards and olive trees.
One of my fondest memories (and that of many of our travelers) is our visit to Tenuta Torciano, a family owned vineyard just a short distance from San Gimignano. It takes a little bit less than an hour from Florence to drive there. The first thing I liked about Tenuta Torciano is that it was a first-class experience. It is located on a sprawling farm. The tastings are done in the well-adorned conservatory. We always like to do lunch program when we do a wine tasting. It starts with salamis and cheeses, served on fine Tuscan dinnerware. The bruschetta that is also served is a treat. The first course is usually home-made lasagna or the traditional Tuscan bean and bread soup called ribollita. And if that is not enough, my main course favorite is the traditional Tuscan roasted meat with those delicious potatoes.
All the time our hostess is pouring elegant glasses and telling us the charming stories behind their collection of fine wines. Most of The Traveling Professor's clients gave high praise to the Brunello. Personally, I say "Bravo" to the selections of Chianti Classico and Montepulciano. There were generous pours of Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah that were well appreciated.
Did I forget dessert? Not me. It was cantucci (Tuscan almond cookies) with dessert wine.
Are we done yet? Not really. There was also a sampling of olive oils and perhaps some of the best balsamic vinegars to be found in all of Tuscany.
By the time it is all over it's an effort to take the short drive up the hill to San Gimignano. But once you get there, it is worth the effort. It's a charming medieval stone city sitting on top of a hill, a wonderful place for a stroll, shopping and viewing Tuscan scenery.
So, how can you have some of this Tuscan experience at home. Tenuta Torciano makes it easy for you to order their best wines, olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Visit their website for a full description of the products they offer. They easily ship a piece of Italy right to your home.