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Tuscany by Jenny Platsakis

Flavors & Wonders (Guest Post by Jenny Platsakis, food & wine writer) Tuscany evokes in me images of al fresco meals, wine, laughter and warm conversations in a countryside landscape. Could there be a more perfect combination! A region with a rich and diverse cultural and culinary history. From the Italian Renaissance to Catherine di Medici who introduced France to the fork and high heels. As for the wines, they were famous long before Leonardo da Vinci described them as ‘bottled sunshine’. Food in rural Tuscany is not only tasty but unpretentious and freshly seasonal. Some of the most interesting recipes include ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers, and rosemary braised lamb which is so tender that it literally melts in your mouth. To taste something sweet is the best way to end a meal and Tuscan desserts typically incorporate fruit into a pie, tart or flan. Never fail recipes are baked honey figs, pear almond tarts and strawberry tiramisu although not a traditional tiramisu I consider it one. Terrific food wines are Chianti, Brunello and Vino Nobile all fragrant Sangiovese based wines. These particular wines go well with roasted and grilled meats and poultry. My personal favorite is the addition of Cabernet Franc, I like the ripe and almost sweet tennins this wine exudes. My idyllic trip would not be complete without mentioning visits to Tuscan historic estates, vineyards, cellars, olive groves, wine and olive tasting with salami and cheese. Each one being an incredibly enjoyable experience. Jenny likes to combine European style cooking with American practicality to create scrumptious meals that are simple to prepare. She is a real estate professional and a food, wine and travel writer who divides her time between the two continents and the window seat of an airplane. JennyPlatsakis