To Tuscany Banner
SEPTEMBER 2009 NEWSLETTER
Dear Newsletter Reader  

Welcome to the To Tuscany September newsletter.  

Food and drink is of great importance to the Italians and over the last few newsletters we have reminded you of this fact.  From now and on into November/December in Tuscany it is the time to harvest the Olives - one of Italys most important products. The oil that is produced from the harvest is not just kept by the Italians, it is of course sent all around the world and is enjoyed by many of us in our day to day cooking.

November is also the time for the white truffles and Porcini mushrooms to also be harvested.  The perfect antidote to all this talk of food and wine is the Florence Marathon which takes place at the end of November - if you arent running, you might like to go and support the thousands that are taking part (or take advantage of the traffic free areas in Florence which mark the route!)

Dympna
dympna@to-tuscany.com
OLIVES:

Olive harvest2Throughout Tuscany you will find some of Italys best Olives grown.  Often growing within the vineyards, the nutrients in the ground just seem to add that special something to the Olives and the Olive oil produced in the area. 

The majority of the Olives in Tuscany and Umbria are still harvested by hand with members of extended families and friends travelling to the family farms to help bring in the olives.  Nets are laid under the trees to protect any falling olives, baskets are tied around waists and each branch is methodically stripped of its prize. A sharp hit from a broom handle normally dislodges any stray olives too!




Green OlivesIn Tuscany, the olives are picked whilst Green and it is this early crop that gives the local Tuscan oils their distinctive taste and texture. 

Once picked, it is important to get the harvest to the olive press as soon as possible in order to avoid any spoiling of the olives - because of their fat content, olives can spoil quickly and ferment.  Most presses in Tuscany operate as a 'Frantoio' which is a communual mill and every grower has an appointment to press their olives for their oil - something that is watched closely so that different growers olives are not mixed by mistake.

The best quality oil is that of the 'First Press' and this is highly prized amongst the growers and fetches the highest price if sold.

MontebuoniFor those of you staying at Montebuoni or Montefiorile in November, you are welcome to help out with the olive harvest and to visit to the nearby Frantoio.

Situated in the heart of the Chianti region, apartments sleep from between 2-6 people.  Click here for more details





WHITE TRUFFLES:


White TrufflesThe last 3 weekends of November are given over to Festivals celebrating the harvesting of White Truffles in the San Miniato area of Tuscany.  Easily reached from all areas of Tuscany, San Miniato is one of the most productive areas in Europe for the valuable White Truffles and the locally grown truffles are the most expensive of their kind. The Tubar Magnatum Pico is the most valuable because it will only grow in the most precise conditions and is therefore very limited in its harvesting.


The San Miniato National White Truffle Fair sees stalls selling the famous delicacy along with other local
produce such as truffle oils, porcini mushrooms, walnuts, artichokes and even the Sigaro Toscana - Tuscan Cigar - that is also produced in the San Miniato area.

Colle di SottoThe nearest property to San Miniato is the private villa Colle di Sotto for 4-6 people




THRUSH FESTIVAL, MONTALCINO:



Thrush Festival Celebrating the traditional hunting skills in the area, the Thrush Festival is an excuse for the villages in the area of Montalcino to compete against each other in ancient arts such as archery.  Food and drink are in abundance as the citizens of the area come out in Medieval costumes to support their local competitors and showcase their produce. 



Fattoria Armena19km from Montalcino is the hamlet of Fattoria Armena, this is a small hamlet of 3 rented apartments and the owners house nestled in the countryside.  The apartments can sleep between 4 - 7 people.



FLORENCE MARATHON:

Florence marathonNow in its 26th year, the Florence marathon takes place on Sunday 29th November and is a well established fixture on the marathon calendar, taking in the sights of the beautiful city and the hospitality of the locals - it is not unknown for people to fly in to Florence or Pisa in the morning to take part and fly home again afterwards! - it is of course more restful to combine the marathon with a holiday though.




Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding travelling to Italy or anything within our newsletter. We can be reached at http://www.to-tuscany.com/contact-us
 
Sincerely
 
Dympna Docherty
To-Tuscany
dympna@to-tuscany.com