Eating Tuscany – Villa Dinner

Location: Staggia, Italy

Date: June 15 & 18, 2011

Cuisine: Tuscan

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Twice in the villa we arranged a “simple” dinner of local bounty. All the stuff below was purchased at either the local market in Staggia or at various local gourmet shops. Almost everything below was prepared by “D” who volunteered her excellent cooking and preparatory skills, along with her skill at attractive plating given few resources. My mom served as sous chef.


On the right is a cheap but pleasant prosecco.

In the middle the incredibly available and decent Nipozzano rufina (10 euros locally!) which parker gives a 91+, “The 2007 Chianti Rufina Riserva Vigneto Montesodi is a decidedly brooding red for this part of Tuscany. Smoke, grilled herbs and dark cherries meld into a palate of intense, richly concentrated fruit as this dense, powerful wine opens up in the glass. This is one of the few 2007 Tuscan reds that definitely needs bottle age. Today the tannins are rather imposing, particularly within the context of the vintage, but they should soften over the next few years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.”

On the left is the 2007 Capannelle Chianti Classico Riserva which we bought at the vineyard, also earning 91 points. “Juicy red cherries, flowers, spices, leather and new oak are some of the notes that emerge from Capannelle’s flashy 2007 Chianti Classico Riserva. Soft and luxurious on the palate, the Riserva impresses for its superb balance and long, harmonious finish. The open, seductive personality of the vintage is on full display. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2019. “


Sauteed mushrooms with coriander.


Big red chunked tuna bruchetta with arugala.


Marinated anchovies.


Local eggs. Notice the bright yellow yolks, different than our eggs.


Local melon and prosciutto di Toscana.

Tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic.


And it’s soul mate, fresh mozzerella di buffalo.


Large Tuscan green olives — in no short supply here!


Homemade ratatouille, courtesy of “D.”


Bread.


The remnants of some of our cheeses.


And some slightly fresher ones. Most of the local cheeses are peccorinos (sheep cheeses) of various ages.


Boar and brunello salami.


Simple pasta for the kids.


Salad.

Asparagus.


Local fruit.

Cherries are in season.


And watermelon.


Here is the spread on June 15.


And again on June 18.

It’s a rare spot in the US where the local bounty makes for such an excellent meal! In typical fashion high quality ingredients and products are available nearly everywhere. Even the Autogrill rest stops on the Autostrada (super highways) have 50 types of cheeses and cured meats for sale!

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