October 1, 2010

What's Not to Love- Tuscany in Fall

There is something really special about the light in fall, shorter days, long shadows all encourage dreaming. As we layer up dressing now, long sleeves, sweaters and scarves prepared to undress to fewer layers as the warm Indian summer sun arrives. Although we have had strange weather, the harvest has started,late, but everyone has their fingers crossed that all the extra rain has not watered the grapes down too much.

the view from my studio- always inspiring

The weather has calmed down now and the leaves have begun to change creating magical patchwork colors on the hillsides in Chianti. As I watch the light on the vineyards, I am always inspired to create a patchwork quilt with the colors and textures I see daily.

Time to start making stews and soups, work slows down and cooking time increases. My favorite ingredients start to appear in the markets now, cauliflower, kale, porcini and the fabulous salad greens.

We just went to the farm store to get the plants for our garden. The tomato plants and zucchini have been torn out and the soil tilled.

This years winter garden includes: two salad greens, Cicoria and Riccia, two new artichoke plants, this year I am trying Violette, which are smaller and more tender. We bought some Cavolo Nero, Tuscany's kale which is  a must for ribollita and even stewing on it's own. I don't use much parsely but do adore salsa verde with my boiled beef dinners, so picked up Italian flat-leafed parsley plants as well.

our treasures from the farm shop today

From the current orto- updates on the saffron plantation!

All is going well, despite the torrential storm we had right after they were planted. The small mounds they were planted in flattened and one plant changed rows on it's own.

So far so good! I have been told that they should be ready to harvest in November and will be enough to make 4 risotto recipes.


I can't wait! 

Taking off Sunday to explore Emilia Romagna with my Slow Food Kansas City group, our bi-annual trips around Italy are so much fun!

When I come back I have my Master Chocolate tour for Ecole Chocolat.

Fall is for food!


  1. My next visit will be in the fall--preferably this week and next; maybe an anniversary trip for my husband and me.

  2. My favorite cooking season! And I love the evening, filtered light.

  3. Those figs made me stop and pause here! Happy Autumn!

  4. What a great blog you have! My husband and I are hoping to visit next year and you have so many great ideas.
    I would love for you to participate in the Great International City Swap this year. We would love to have someone from Tuscany participating. Details are on my blog.

  5. Laura thanks for the note- I would love to participate but I am not going to be able to as I leave tomorrow on tour until the end of the month.

  6. Isn't every season for food? LOL

    Your garden is impressive - the saffron experiment particularly impressive - the amount of work that goes into collecting those wee threads of amazing colour and flavour . . .

    Enjoy your tour.

    We can't wait for our return to Italy next fall . . .

  7. I did the Ecole Chocolat class almost 5 years ago, in France. Every year I say "next year" about the Ecole class in Tuscany because without a doubt my husband is deployed. It has become my mantra "next year." So it goes again this year, as he is deployed, again. I have been taking Italian lessons off and on for a few years, I had hoped to make it this year. "Next year!"