After ten days in England, it was such a relief to get home to Beautiful Tuscany and to find that our local village of Fiano has won back the coveted banner having been victorious at the annual Calambur event! Bravi to all our lovely Italian friends who participated! This event is a bit like the UK’s It's a Knockout which was televised and hugely popular in the 60’s and 70’s.And, I read in the newspaper that Fiano had also won the title Contessa della Cipolla, which is awarded for the most magnificent dishes based on the delicious Certaldo Red Onion. Wow, the talent is unlimited in Fiano. Yes, it’s that time of year again, the markets are brimming over with the locally grown beauties. No silly, I’m still talking about the onions!
Now the dust has finally settled, although I can’t say the same for the Tuscan countryside which, due to the lack of rain, is one big dust bowl. The Vendemia (grape harvest) is at full throttle and the lanes are being carved up by the trucks and tractors passing by! This is of course normal for our bit of Chianti and the resulting wine is well worth the dust nuisance. It is still quite warm here for mid-September, ranging from 28 to 32 degrees, which is good for the harvest. However, the nights are cooler now, which is a relief. Now we just need the mosquitos (zanzari) to disappear for the winter and life will be blissful!
September seems to bring a fresh new excitement in the air. The Italians have come back to life after the August escape onto the beaches and mountain slopes. Once again, I recommend you visit Discover Tuscany for all the great events in the province. From wine tastings and gastronomic events to countryside tours by Vespa or on foot, it’s all happening in September. Locally to us, agriturismi and hotels are still busy with weddings. A friend who manages the hosting of weddings at a local castello informs me that next year is almost fully booked right through from April to September 2020. So at least tourism is still going strong here, despite the terrible state of the economy!
Meanwhile, the children are back to school this week, to the great relief of parents and Nonni (grandparents); the school holidays stretch well over two months here in Italy! But the kids will still stay up late, joining in the evening meals and social events. Whilst we love living here in our little bit of Chianti, we have chosen to be in the countryside where it is possible to find some quiet in the evenings, should we choose to do so! The Italians can be a noisy lot, but we love them!
Now our favourite pastime is going to good restaurants, particularly C’era Una Volta in Lucardo near Fiano. Here you will still find Courgette flower fritters and other seasonal fruit and veg, straight from Paolo’s orto (veg garden). The white truffle (tartufo bianco) is anticipated shortly, so if you are arriving soon, you should be able to enjoy this heavenly delicacy. If you fancy a bit of woodland trekking, you can arrange to go on truffle hunts here and find your own! I love porcini mushrooms that will also be available soon; roasted whole or with pasta or risotto, yummy.
OK, what else? Well, from my point of view, I continue to forge on with Assassin’s List, the fourth book in the ‘Continuing adventures of Joanna Wilde’ series. There’s quite a bit of Italy in this one, but also Havana in Cuba; well why not?
OK, enough for now. Do get in touch if you are visiting this part of the world or thinking of moving here. I have sixteen years of experience of how not to do things right in Tuscany; ha ha!
Salute June x