Monday, January 28, 2008

3 Michelin stars: LE CALANDRE

This is Massimiliano, the youngest chef in the World to have received the 3 Michelin restaurant stars! And I was lucky enough to go taste his magical cuisine last week. Furthermore, I was fortunate enough to get a quick tour of the kitchen - and voilĂ  here's his picture at the end of the night as he was preparing Italy's most famous dessert "Gioccolato - 2008 edition" (a dessert with 12 preperations)!

We did the traditional tasting menu (175 Euro a piece) which was absolutely fantastic. We matched the courses with 4 different wines. It's needless to say that the food was fab. But also the atmosphere was great, not as formal as I had expected. The service was extremely professional but light-hearted.

I would definitely go back, but I'll probably need to take a loan first!!
If you want to get your saliva going:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Beer and Cheese Tasting

Earlier on this week I went to a really interesting cheese & beer tasting organized by a local restaurant. I've done cheese tastings (usally with wine) and in other occasions gone to beer tastings, but never a proper tasting of the two together.
We were served a total of 3 different kinds of artisan beers, a pilsner, a weiss beer and a dark lager. All 3 beers were quite intense, both in color in taste and persistency.

There were 3 servings of cheeses to match the beers. All Tuscan cheeses selected by Paolo Piacenti, a famous cheese refiner and selector. He sells to good restaurants and he's got a shop in San Gimignano -

The first serving was soft sheep's cheeses with the pilsner
The second was harder Pecorino cheeses (as the one in Paolo's hand), one was ash aged, another walnut leaf aged and another aged in caves - served with the weiss beer.
The last serving was an excellent piece of soft blue cheese. Yum! Served with the dark lager, of course.

I have to say that the experience was very positive and the matches perfect. Personally I still would tend to serve cheese with wine - old habits die hard - , but I recommend trying the combination with beer if you get the chance. Fun!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy 2008

In Tuscany there is an old tradition at the beginning of the year. Each future month is represented by the first 12 days of the year, and so you can predict how nice it is going to be by looking at each day. Well, if it works we're going to get some pretty rainy months in 2008.
Anyway, I just wanted to say a couple of things:
I wanted to link to my ex-customer and friend Michael Palmer's blog about Italy as he's been as nice as to put together a little film about the wine tour: - so please go visit it.
And then I finished my podcast Episode no 2 yesterday which is about the SUPER TUSCAN wines which you might want to listen to: - you can subscribe to the podcast through Itunes - so follow the link on the page that appears after clicking here.
I will be going on a couple of small holidays within Italy in this month - what I really wanted to do is visit the Balsamic Vinegar maker in Modena, see the Parmesan being made in Parma, go visit one of the guru's of Amarone in Valpolicella and some other food things... I will definitely be reporting back here on my small food & wine adventures!
Happy 2008 everyone!