In This Issue
Italian Saying
The Sleva Church
Need a place to stay in Florence?
Vendemmia - The Grape Harvest
Schiacciata - dessert for fall
Culinary travels to Italy 2018
This month's Italian saying: 

Qualcosa bolle in pentola 
Something boils in a saucepan... 


There are many food idioms in Italian. This one is used as an expression to indicate that something's up.


Grape bunch
Grape Crush  
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2017 & 2018
Food & Wine Tours

Oct 7-14   -sold out
Oct 14-21  - sold out
June 1 -8, 2018 - 6 spots open
Sept 29-Oct 2018 - 4 spots open
October 6-13, 2018 - sold out

October 14-17, 2018 -open

June 9-15, 2018 - 8 spots open

Join us for a fun, full immersion to the regions of Tuscany, Piedmont and Emilia Romagna - great food, wine, history and culture!   
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Save the Selva Church!
Gina's contrada -the Selva has launched a major campaign to restore their church which after many years has many needed repairs and restoration. Normally, they would have gone to the bank that has always helped them - Monte dei Paschi. But as you many know, they have issues and are now run by the Italian government. Truly, a sad situation for the Selva. 
Here's a link to their fund raising site. Interesting video with many of our friends in it. Save the Church
Florence Apartment
Our good friend has a spectacular apartment in a quiet area of Florence that she is renting. This is just a 7 minutes walk to the Duomo, but yet on a quiet street away from the partying crowds. It is in a former palazzo on the second floor and has amazing features - an original fresco from the 1700s along with all the modern conveniences.

Mary is handling the rentals, so contact her if you're going to Florence. Its a better alternative to AirBnB! You know what you're getting plus Gina and Mary have stayed there and can vouch that its fabulous! 972-342-8308 or
Ciao amici!
This month's Italian saying... Something is up - or something's cooking! We are! In a few short weeks we are heading over to Italy for our Tuscany culinary tours. Looking forward to sharing our corner of Tuscany (and Bologna delights!) with new friends.
The grape harvest is in full swing, below is the recipe for a traditional dessert served after vendemmia lunches. Buona vendemmia! 
Buon appetito! 
Gina and Mary  
The Vendemmia - grape harvest
It's tough being a farmer. So much depends on conditions and events beyond your control.
Like the weather. This summer in Italy was hotter than normal, in fact it was the hottest summer since 2003. That year the quantity of wine was  down, but the quality of the wine was very good. 

The 2017 vendemmia, or grape harvest, has begun throughout the regions in Italy. This year's hot and unusually dry weather has affected the quantity and quality of the wine we can expect to see for this vintage. The spring started with a lot of rain accompanied by hail, which is never good. It was super-hot up north and the grape varieties like nebbiolo, barbera and pinot noir just aren't used to that, so they started the  grape harvest for sparkling wines in early August, which is unusual.
In Tuscany, the harvest started in late August for the whites and early September for reds, which is pretty standard for hot summers. In all of Italy, including Sicily and Puglia, the hot summer and drought conditions will affect the quantity of wine produced by about 10-15%.
But the overall effect of the heat and lack of water on the quality of the wine remains to be seen. The vendemmia isn't over yet and a little rain now could help or hurt the remaining grapes. We'll have to wait and see what October brings!  Its tough being a farmer!
Schiacciata  for the vendemmia 
Schiacciata is a flat bread made with flour, water, yeast, salt and olive oil. It is a typical bread found in Tuscany and it a delicious alternative to the saltless bread normally found on the Tuscan table! Schiacciata literally means "squashed" and depending on the area where it's made, it can also be called ciaccia, schiaccia, focaccia or ciaccino.  
During the fall after many vendemmia lunches the schiacciata is topped with the fresh picked grapes, olive oil and sugar and baked. It is a perfect ending to a fall lunch or dinner . Below is the recipe for the dough and for this traditional dessert.
Use any interesting grapes you can find. If you live in California you probably have a wide variety available to you especially if you can visit a winery! In Tuscany we use the sangiovese grapes, here in the States, we use concord grapes, and have found a hybrid: TomCord from Trader Joe's lend well to this dessert!
1 package of dried yeast, or ½ cake yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
1 teas salt
3-4 cups flour
2 tbsp olive oil
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix together the flour and salt in a bowl, make a well in the center and add the water and oil. Begin to stir with a fork, bringing the flour in a little at a time until all flour is incorporated. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to rise.
Push out the dough (squash!) with your hands to the diameter of it the well oiled baking pan.  Generously sprinkle with olive oil, add grapes pushing them down into the dough. Cover with sugar (remember, this is dessert!). Bake until crust is golden brown in a 350 oven.
Culinary Travels to Italy
Come and explore the real Italy with us! We focus on the regional, authentic foods and wines of Italy on our small group culinary tours. Both men and women of all ages enjoy our immersion into the wines, history and culture and food of the regions we visit. Our tours are a wonderful balance of sightseeing, wine education and food! It is not a "woman's cooking camp"! Our culinary tours offer an experience that is enjoyed equally by men and women...if you love wine and food, this is a really fun experience and we'd love to share 2 of our favorite regions with you next year! 
Next year we'll return to Piedmont and Tuscany, each with it's own beauty, foods and wines, castles and specialties!
Piedmont Dates: June 9 - 15, 2018
Tuscany Dates: June 1 - 8, 2018
Sept 29-Oct 6, 2018 (2 spots left)
October 6-13, 2018 (sold out)

There's good availability for the spring tours. If you're interested, get your spot reserved!  
Join us for an unforgettable Italian experience with us, we'll guide you through these beautiful regions of Italy!

If you have questions, or want more information, visit our website but better still, call
Mary! 972-342-8308