We have been lucky enough to recently spend a week in Italy, Tuscany to be exact. My dad had a big birthday and so he invited some friends and family to spend time with him there. Tuscany is the land of pecorino cheese (more about that later). But it is also famous for its Chianti. Chianti is any type of wine that has been produced within the Chianti region of Tuscany. The most famous (and traditional) of which is bottled in a short, round bottle and enclosed in a straw basket called a ‘fiasco’. I just love that the word fiasco can have such a different meaning! We were staying on an estate which was mid way between Florence and Pisa. It had it’s own vineyard and olive groves, so plenty of both were consumed throughout the week.
Tuscany is home to the birth places of Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo, Dante, Puccini…to name but a few. We visited the Vinci museums which were quite amazing. We also saw so many other beautiful towns. Lucca (where Puccini hails from) has the most wonderful city walls which we walked round. Of course the leaning tower of Pisa is definitely not to be missed. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get to Florence. Mostly because I think you need a good 48 hours minimum in a city to really appreciate it. We will have to go back there at some point to make up for it!
Obviously the very first place I looked up when we arrived was the nearest cheesemaker…! The Formaggi della Famiglia Busti is located just outside Pisa in the small town of Fauglia. I really like pecorino and so was very keen to pay them a visit. I also persuaded most of our party to come with me! We had a fabulous tour of their premises and saw the cheesemakers in action both in producing pecorino and ricotta. It was so nice to see such a wonderful production. I am always blown away by how friendly everyone in the cheese industry is and how accommodating cheesemakers are. I would love to be able to sell some of their cheeses in the shop but we will have to wait and see how import regulations are effected by certain political events!
We came back from the week with a determination to learn how to speak Italian (I mentioned this to our Gorgonzola & Parmigiano Reggiano supplier who instantly started messaging me in Italian!) I am hoping that we will be able to encourage each other and learn together…