Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Busy ants - spring is around the corner!

Working in tourism means that you are busy when tourists visit - that being when the weather starts to get nicer in March until November days become so short that they scare tourists away.
Our summers fly by in what seems a mere blink of an eye…and the winters usually seem long, accompanied by cold and wet weather, a grey and abandoned countryside, cities that seem empty with just a few lonely shopkeepers.
Not to sound depressing or anything...in fact, I usually enjoy the downtime to take time for myself or just to focus on things that aren't necessarily directly work-related. It's a good time to go visit wineries that are long overdue for a visit, go to wine fairs for the presentation of the new vintages and to connect with people (if they are not far gone out of the country holidays in a warmer sphere), or even ready a book!
Here's a picture from a lovely lunch we enjoyed with friends Lionel & Ornella from the Cupano winery.

But this winter has flown by so fast and now spring is peeking in and I realize that I haven't really had that down time or pleasant boredom more than on a few lazy Sundays. This year we didn't even close the restaurant - it's simply too popular with the locals and we couldn't really justify closing it up. I suppose we can't complain about that! Here's a photo that would probably make your mouth water if you could imagine how good it was - Cappelletti al brodo - of course rigorously home made and typically served during the holidays in Italy.

This winter has been focused around opening up the new Tuscan Wine School in Florence which has required a lot of preparation, from getting the right permits (endless bureaucracy in this country for that sort of thing) to getting simple things like the electricity, water and gas to work. In other parts of the world this may not seem like such a big deal, but in Italy one must pursue each of these armored with a good dosis of patience and nothing else on the program for a few days...
As we are opening the Florence wine school  this upcoming Monday, things are all coming together this week (together with what of course we realize we didn't think about yet!). Today was the turn of the sign coming up.

Of course, once we get everything assembled, I'll have to write another insert with some photos of the finished project - it'll be really nice, I think.
Today was a big day also because it was my son Julian's first birthday - I don't have endless years of experience in the subject, but I think this is a particular special day for any mother. So it was nice to celebrate his first successful year of life in which he's experienced the first many things including the exiting first tastes of foods, the first steps....a continuous of discovering - and we try to slow down to rediscover things through his eyes. Here's the first birthday cake (with apples - yum!).

But being busy ants we'll speed up again to get everything ready for next week when the season starts. And it'll be nice to notice the streets slowly getting busier, and to see the countryside lighten up with its beautiful spring colors and odors, to enjoy the spring vegetables on the menu of our restaurant, and for the crowds to slowly invade us to enjoy all of this with us.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The new Tuscan Food & Wine Map finally ready

The cold has come to Tuscany as it has come to the rest of Europe. It has snowed so much that the country was half blocked for a few days with trains suspended, schools closed and general problems of missing electricity or water in people's homes. Now it's just the ice which is hanging out and making mornings an interesting challenge....especially for myself, now more than 7 months pregnant - so I can't even see beneath my belly to check if I'm treading carefully!!!
Anyway, we're being blocked by a country that isn't at all used to handeling such cool temperatures and this has meant that we're being slowed down in our preparations for the opening of the new wine school in Florence. However, head strong against the arctic cold, we're working on it....and hopefully I'll soon be able to pronounce the word "open" officially.
But I'm really taking this occasion to tell you about our new (and most beautiful) Tuscan food & wine map which I've just got back from the printer. It's been a few months of work to change and better the old one, add the main foods and updating all the info on the Italian wine regions (believe me, it's been quite a task!). But the harder things are, the more satisfactory they seem when once accomplished and so I'm super happy to show you our Tuscan Wine & Food map - the first of its kind!

If you want to have close-up look, take a look here. I haven't posted the backside online, but there's an extensive list of descriptions of each region and product made. If anyone's interested in having the map sent home, we can ship it anywhere for 10 euros, just follow the link to paypal that you'll find on this page: http://www.tuscany-wine.com