When thinking about the world’s top culinary destinations, one’s mind undoubtedly drifts to Tuscany. Rolling hills littered with olive trees, dairy farms handcrafting Pecorino cheeses and rows upon rows of Sangiovese grapes. During a stay at Castello di Gabbiano I was fortunate enough to enjoy an array of food- and wine-themed experiences, one of which was a traditional Tuscan cooking class focused on Tuscan olive oil.
Tuscan cooking is rooted in tradition, specifically peasant-style cooking with no ingredients being wasted. Additionally, there’s an overarching idea that fresh, local ingredients and homegrown herbs and spices can bring out a dish’s intense flavors. You’ll often find lightly-fried vegetables, steak, wild boar, mushrooms, truffles olives, artichokes and pecorino cheese as well as herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil and sage are common ingredients found in Tuscan cuisine. Typically, dishes are paired with local wine — typically red, as Tuscan dishes tend be rich and heavy in red meat — which has been part of local tradition for over 3,000 years. The castles — like Castello di Gabbiano — showcased throughout the landscape pay homage to a time when Siena and Florence fought for control of this flourishing land.…
Castello di Gabbiano. Photo courtesy of Castello di Gabbiano.
There are few destinations in the world more synonymous with gastronomy than Tuscany. Chianti Classico wine, rich olive oil, flavors that come from fragrant herbs and spices, crusty breads, decadent truffle and Pecorino cheeses are just a few of the delicious images that swirl through any Tuscan fantasy. While you can simply book a flight to Tuscany and blindly eat your way through the region, a smarter idea is to fill your itinerary with special epicurious experiences that can help immerse you in local culture. To help you plan your trip, here are some top Tuscany wine and food experiences.
Stay At Castello di Gabbiano
A restored 12th-century castle turned luxury hotel, Castello di Gabbiano features three farmhouse apartments, 11 unique castle rooms and an abundance of agritourism experiences in a Tuscan countryside setting. Located in the heart of the Chianti Classico region, Castello di Gabbiano is one of the original estates to produce this iconic Tuscany wine, with many bottles still crafted using traditional recipes and methods. The property became a farm in the 14th century, with its wine production starting during…
With the holidays just around the corner, a little liquor in the cabinet can be necessary to keep guests happy and cope with in-laws who overstay their welcome. When shopping, choose a product that’s not only high-quality but sustainable, to give back during this season of selflessness.
Stocking up with vodka, gin or whiskey from Top of the Hill Distillery
(TOPO) in Chapel Hill gives a gift to the North Carolina community, supporting local business and organic agriculture. In 2012, owner Scott Maitland opened the only organic distillery in the South in the old Chapel Hill News building. TOPO handcrafts its spirits from scratch, bottling products in-house in a Green+ certified, eco-friendly facility. With a closed-loop water system, the heat exchanger reuses the water, reducing waste and wasted energy.
I’m not usually much of a spirit drinker myself; however, the idea of an organic distillery fascinated me. I’ll admit I held some pre-conceived notions, as I’m guilty of sometimes stereotyping organic advocates as yoga-practicing, granola-crunching hippies (What kind of Whole Foods, flower child opens a distillery?). I immediately signed up for a tour to see for…
It’s not all boudin, shrimp and grits in Louisiana
. There are some serious craft brewers at work in the Pelican State these days. Travel along Louisiana Brewery Trail and you’ll run across more than a half dozen places you’ll want to stop.
The Abita Brewing Company opened for business in 1986, and its now the 14th-largest craft brewer in the country. In the heart of Acadiana, Parish Brewing Company in Broussard and Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville represent the soul of Cajun heritage.
In Baton Rouge, Tin Roof Brewing Company plays a melody of hops that awaken the spirit of Louisiana’s capital city. To the east, a hotbed of brewing activity can be found on Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore. Louisiana communities thrive as the towns of Covington, Mandeville and Abita Springs house Covington Brewhouse, upstart Chafunkta Brewing Company and Abita Brewing Company.
And in the Big Easy, NOLA Brewing captures the essence of jazz, the heart of Mardi Gras and the flavor of Louisiana life.
The trail is a cooperative venture of Louisiana Travel and the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild.
Big Sky Resort, Montana, is celebrating its 40th year this season (the first chairlift hoisted skiiers on December 15, 1973).
How better to entice you to the event than to launch a new brew? Lone Peak Brewery has created a special beer to mark the occasion: Retro Red Ale. It’s available in cans throughout the Resort’s establishments and on tap at select locations for the occasion and all winter long.
Birthday cake, ice cream, and the best ’70s-style ski costumes since, well, the ’70s, round out the celebration, set for December 13 through 15, 2013. Daily lift tickets will be $40 all weekend.
Boyne USA, a Michigan-based corporation, bought Big Sky Resort in 1976.
India has a rich history when it comes to cuisine. Centuries ago explorers from distant lands sought the shores of India in search of an overwhelming host of pungent spices sure to send your taste buds dancing for joy or writhing in a blaze of fiery submission. Celebrated though the food may be, I admittedly approached it with an ignorance that was certain to land me in some dicey situations. I lay before you now my introductory experience to India’s exotic dishes – a landscape I continue to navigate with a healthy mixture of naïve curiosity and paralyzing trepidation.
The base knowledge was there. Traveling through Malaysia, I had taken a liking to the quintessential Indian food of flavorful curries and spicy dahls. Essentially my thought was this: pair anything with freshly baked naan, chipati or paratha and you really can’t go wrong; however, living in India for several months was going to force me to expand my horizons. Sitting in the first restaurant in Kolkata — oddly known as The Broadway — I realize I may be in over my head.
The first thought that occurs to me as I breeze through…
Europe is graced with a beautiful kind of culture. From art galleries and museums to high-end shopping and five-star hotels, London, Paris and Milan all offer something a little bit different, but entirely luxurious.
As the capital of England and primary home of the Royal Family, it is only right to expect true grandeur from the city of London. From the luxury of Mayfair
and its surrounding areas, high-end shopping, hotels and restaurants are very easy to find in London. For shopping, there’s perhaps nowhere more renowned than Harrods
. The store offers floor after floor of luxurious shopping, with an impressive interior and array of eateries inside, too.
If you’re looking to stay for a night or two in the city, then The Stafford London Kempinski
is the ideal place to rest your head in absolute decadence. The hotel is an elegant place with traditional features, and rooms which you’ll find difficult to leave.
London’s Victoria and Albert Museum
is full to the brim with timeless luxury, and is worth a visit if you’re in the lovely Knightsbridge
area. The sculpture and art…
Roam Artisan Burgers on Fillmore is the second location for this San Francisco burger chain. It is a warm and friendly place to meet friends for burgers, which is exactly what we did one Wednesday night. We all ordered our food at the counter and staked out 10 places at the communal table in the middle. Roam has a very nice wine and beer selection which is definitely a win. But go here for the burgers, which are some of the best I have had in San Francisco.
I got the Sunny-Side ($8.25) with the beef patty, organic free range egg, aged white cheddar, caramalized onions, greens, tomato, sweet chili sauce. The patty is 4.5 ounces but seems bigger. The meat is moist and nicely spiced, cooked just the right medium. Sesame bun toasted and spongy. Sauce is just the right amount of sweet and spicy. Onions sweet and perfect. Fresh tomato slices were fresh and tasty. My only quibble would be the egg yolk should have been runny, not cooked hard.
|Russet Fries from Roam Artisan Burgers
The Russet Fries ($2.99) are medium cut and
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