When we travel with our dear friend, Kathy McCabe, it’s hard to remember that while we are dreaming of unforgettable vacations, panoramic views, and incredible food, there are Italian men and women who live and work in these fabulous locations every day, keeping them beautiful and unique. Thank you all! This Tuscany trip from Kathy’s season one series, Dream of Italy is no exception.
When you think of Tuscany, Chianti is the first thing that pops into most minds. The region of Chianti and the wonderful wines. In this episode, we meet a pair of winemakers who have breathed a new life in the Chianti wines of the region with Chianti Classico. You can enjoy an afternoon in the lovely Chianti region complete with breathtaking scenery and wine tasting. Siena, in the heart of the region is another enviable location, with its local products, wines, and an artistic history.
Tuscan olive oil has a distinct peppery flavor and is considered “green gold.” We meet one farm that continues to harvest the olives by hand, (they are a delicate fruit) and then mill it into the coveted oil. In Florence, you can enjoy a wine, oil and cheese tasting tour at a traditional Italian bar. Another terrific opportunity is our Impruneta And Chianti: Olive Oil, Cheese, And Wine Tour. Relax and soak in the full fantastico experience!
Goats, Boars, and Cowboys, Oh Yeah!
Yet another interesting stop with Kathy is to meet Nora, who shows us how to comb out the goats for the precious cashmere and how she protects her herd from the dangerous wolf predators.
Weekly wild boar hunts help save valuable grape vineyards from destruction by the boars. The Chingale hunt club searches for their prey with dogs who bark when they discover a hidden boar. The boar meat is both enjoyed at the dinner table and it is also sold. While we know it’s difficult to think about killing a living creature, these less than attractive boars will eat anything and everything! Their snoots can detect smells from miles away, and their tusks can be deadly weapons. Both the dogs and the hunters risk being gored by the beasts.
Next, we’re off to a world-renowned butcher who shows us how to grill steaks that are four fingers thick in 16 minutes. Four fingers thick? Now, that is a steak! Dario Cecchini has been a butcher for more than 35 years and is continuing the tradition of eight previous generations. Don’t tell anyone we told you, but Dario has cooked for the likes of Sir Elton John, Sting, and Prince Charles!
In Anghiari, we meet the folks behind the beautiful Busatti quality linens, cotton, and wools. This organization has been using the same looms since the early 1900s, they have strong ties to past and they use no dyes, the products are all-natural colors. The sheep population they use to make their products is sadly dwindling. They estimate that about 10,000 sheep remain.
Our final stop on this Tuscany episode is the rolling hills of Maremma. Here we meet the gorgeous Maremma horses, and the Butteri, Italy’s original cowboys. These handsome gentlemen wrangle cattle that produce meat of the finest quality because they are naturally fed. The cattle in this area are believed to be descendants of the tremendous and wild primigenial bulls whose bones and enormous sharp horns are still found in a fossilized state in archaeological digs all over the Maremma.
Why wait? See you in Tuscany soon!
“Weekend in Italy is a proud sponsor of the PBS series, Dream of Italy, Season 2. Enter your zip code on this page for air dates and times on your local PBS station or view the entire series on DreamofItaly.com.”