South of the better known Florence, Siena, Pisa and San Ginigniano, this is, the 'wild' side of the famous Tuscany, La Maremma. Easier to get there via Rome, about 1 to 1.5 hr drive from Fiumicino Airport. Best bet is to get your own car from there. The territory is vast and there is loads to explore. Sea and county…..both at your disposal.
Whilst there, we visited the Parco di Vulci, The Terme di Saturnia, Pitigliano, Sovana and Manciano. It was a constant celebration, between the luxury spa at Saturnia, the spectacular dinners, field visits, the excellent wines and the Tuscan hospitality. Amazed at how serious organic agriculture is taken. From vines to herbs and plants to be used for beauty products. Even the sheep are treated like royalty at the agritourism Poggiofoco, where we were staying. Treated with homeopathic medicines, fed with organic feeds and grazing free in the ample lands surrounding the property. Organic cheeses, olive oil and wines are few of the products produced there. Wild boar is hunted in the later months of the year and it is a strong presence in local cuisine. Do i have to mention the excellent pasta?
The horses run wild, wine flows, food is art and the people charming and welcoming. You feel grounded here. A place where frivolous things don't matter. The people I met are wonderful persons. Irenea especially. A special Italian lady with whom I clicked from the first moment.
Maremma is truly pure pleasure for the senses and a wonderful surprise, much much better than expected! I have included a few basic recipes hereunder. But i should be back for more…..
Any excuse is good enough to go back…. And yes, the stars shine bright in Tuscany
Insalata di Pere e Radicchio
Pear and Radicchio Salad
Very quickly poach a quartered pear in some water with a little lemon juice. The pear should still be 'al dente'.
Cool and slice. Roughly chop the radicchio and marinate in good quality olive oil, lemon juice and some salt. Mix and leave for about 30 min. Mix with the sliced pear and serve.
Basic Pasta Recipe
500 grams '00' flour + 5 eggs + 2 tbsp oil 1 + tsp salt
Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs and drizzle in the oil. Beat the eggs gently, meanwhile pulling in flour. Mix well, and if needed add a few drops of water to bring the dough together. Knead the dough until elastic and smooth. About 10 minutes. Cover well and rest for an hour in the fridge. Use as needed.
Frittata di Asparagi
Trim the asparagus and cook them very quickly in boiling water, leaving them 'al dente'. Drain properly.
Beat the eggs, add a few tsp of grated pecorino and season. Heat some olive oil, and toss the asparagus in the hot oil, then add the egg. Gently cook the omlette on one fide, then flip over and cook on the other side, until golden.