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San Giuseppe & Father's Day
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Italy Tours

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2016 Food & Wine Tours

Spring: June 3-10, 2016
October 1-8; Oct 8-15, 2016   
2017 Dates:  

Tuscany - May 26- June 2 and June 2 - 9, Sept 30 - Oct 7; October 14 - 21;  

NEW! Piedmont - Oct 7-13

Join us for a full immersion to the regions of Tuscany, Emilia- Romagna and Piedmont - great food, wine, history and culture!   

Vacation Villas
& Farmhouses

Casa Marta
Great accommodations for either a night or a week. When planning your stay in Italy, begin your 'country living' on a Saturday and depart the area the following Saturday for the best selection of villas and houses! 
Call for more information.
Contact Mary: 972.342.8308 
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Ecco La Cucina Cookbook

gina's cookbook  


Gina's revised and updated cookbook is available. It has more than 20 new recipes! This collection of traditional Tuscan cooking, features dishes of the Siena area and some of her favorites. 


Ciao a tutti!
Spring is fast approaching here in the U.S. and we're preparing for spring festivities! The feast of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph) is
March 19th
and Easter is next weekend! Many countries including Italy celebrate fathers on the feast of San Giuseppe who is a symbol of fatherly love, kindness and generosity.  Happy Fathers Day to all you fathers!  If you are lucky enough to still have your dad, be sure to give him some Italian love - hugs, kisses, small gifts and maybe some frittelle - on this special day! Read on for the story!

Still dreaming of Italy and joining us for one of our culinary adventures? There are a few spots still open for the Tuscany October 8-15 tour and we've published our 2017 dates.
So, get your passports and join us for a fun-filled week in Italy!

Buon Appetito!
Gina and Mary

The Feast of San Giuseppe
In Italy this weekend they will celebrate Father's Day, which falls on March 19th and is also the feast of San Giuseppe, or St Joseph.  Because he was the earthly father of Jesus Christ, celebrating all fathers on this day elevates their role in the family and makes more sense to me than a Sunday in June!

As with all religious holidays in Italy, special foods are used to mark and celebrate the occasion and differ from region to region. 
In Sicily, where the Festa di San Giuseppe is said to have originated, they build altars to St Joseph in their homes.  A table is decorated with flowers and statues of St Joe and the Holy Family and covered with special breads and savory dishes. Because it is in the middle of Lent, the feast day specialties often feature fish, such as a pasta dish of canned sardines cooked with tomato and wild fennel fronds.  The pasta dish is then topped with bread crumbs, representing the sawdust that would have covered the floor of St Joseph's workshop.
In Naples, there are the unforgettable zeppole, cream-filled rounds of pate a choux decorated with candied cherries, that are made for the festa del papa, or Father's Day.

My favorite treat for San Giuseppe are the fried rice balls they make in Tuscany. Frittelle di San Giuseppe are balls of arborio rice flavored with lemon and orange zest. Fried in hot oil and rolled in granulated sugar, they are sweet, crunchy and available in bakeries and special outdoor stands at this time of year. In the main Piazza di Ca mpo of Siena, a small wooden hut is erected at the end of February and manned by the retired men and women of the community. The men fry the frittelle in large vats of hot oil and the women wrap them in cones of paper and sell them all day and into the evening, 3 for a euro.  The delicious smell of frying dough fills the piazza!
However the feast of San Giuseppe is celebrated, it's a way to let you know winter is drawing to a close and spring is on it's way!
Trusting in Italian Olive Oil
There has been a lot of press lately regarding authentic vs adulterated extra virgin olive oil.  Especially Italian, which everyone considers some of the best. In both taste and health  benefits, extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany, Sicily and Puglia can't be beat, and you feel good about buying it for yourself and your family. Until they tell you it's all fake and you can't trust the label.  Then what are you supposed to do?! Read here for the story!
Culinary Tours to Italy
Our small group intimate food and wine tours are a excellent way to experience the real Italy. It is a wonderful balance of wine, food, culture and history.
We'll guide you through Tuscany and show you wonderful sights, foods and wines! Gina and Mary will take care of all the details so you can truly enjoy the wonderful countryside and week.

For availability call Mary 972.342.8308 or email:
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Wine touring

Enjoying the local foods of Tuscany
Wild Fennel Field
Wild Fennel blooming on the estate