Category Archives Recipes

During one of our stays at the Podere we were lucky to happen upon an interesting and beautiful religious display in the center of the little town near us, San Donato in Poggio.  It is called an infiorata (fiori meaning flowers in Italian).  Many towns in Italy make an infiorata during the months of May or June to celebrate Corpus Domini (Corpus Christi), which is nine weeks after Easter.  Flower petals are used to create amazing works of art on the streets of their city – it is a striking sight, even in little San Donato.

centro_storico_27SanDonato SanDonato2











Each street “tapestry” is created first by sketching the design in chalk on the pavement.  Soil is usually used to outline the design and then it is filled in with flower petals and seeds – much like a mosaic.  The entire process takes days to complete and many people help with the construction.  After they are completed and the townspeople have had a chance to view the masterpieces on their city streets, there is a religious procession on the flower carpets to the church.


One of the most famous infiorata festivals is in Noto, Sicily.  Noto is a beautiful Baroque town in southeast Sicily.

Another beautiful display is in Brugnato, a small town in the La Spezia province of Liguria, inland from the Cinque Terre.  Orvieto, in the central Italy region of Umbria, has a costumed procession with over 400 people and the streets are decorated with flower art.

Spello, also in Umbria, is another town to view a fantastic infiorata, like those below.









Corpus Domini and Infiorata dates: The Sunday of Corpus Domini in 2016 was the last weekend in May, while in 2017 it will fall on June 18-19.  If you are in Italy around that time, look for infiorata or flower petal displays in front of many Italian churches or along city streets.

If these colorful flowers make you think of Summer, you’ll enjoy these summertime recipes – Happy Hour at the Grill – Italian Style.

One of the things I look forward to all year long is the Vendemmia at our Tuscan farm, Podere Erica. And I am not the only one!  In Tuscany the month of September is devoted to the precious Grape.  In a region where this crop is of such importance, it is only natural that there are many events celebrating the grape and grape harvest (vendemmia).  You can find events in Greve, Rufina, Panzano and Impruneta.  Click here to find out more.

This year there was a lot to celebrate. The weather cooperated to produce a fantastic crop.  Take a look at the grape cluster below – lusciously full.  And there were so many that you could stand in one spot and practically fill a container.  We picked 15,000 pounds of grapes that sunny morning in September.

Just Picked Grapes at Podere Erica  Sangiovese Grapes at Podere Erica

The picking crew included our friends who live in Florence, family from Calabria, and friends who traveled from Barcelona. Even I got out of the kitchen long enough to pick some grapes! (more…)

Ciao Tutti!

I know it is the end of Summer, but here in San Francisco, as the fog disappears, we get our Indian Summer.  So, we are still thinking about grilling.  I want to share with you some of my favorite Italian grilling recipes.

Best BBQ Italian StyleSo get out your pen and paper to make your grocery list for the best barbeque Italian-style! We are going to make what is probably the most famous dish in Florence – La Bistecca alla Fiorentina. This is a big, I mean really big, steak. Traditionally, it is 3” thick, grilled rare and shared by 2+ people. Here you will learn just how to grill it to perfection – even the Fiorentini would love it.

Next, we’ll grill up some seasonal vegetables – red peppers, zucchini and tropea onions. I know, I know, by this time of the year you have had zucchini up to here, but you’ll love this recipe. When I prepared these dishes for the photo shoot, our friend, who is a foodie from New Orleans, said it was the best ever. So, give the zucchini one more try.

Another favorite dish from Florence is the Panzanella Salad. If you think you’ve had Panzanella before, unless you were in Italy, then you have not had Panzanella. No croutons! It is not easy to prepare it the Italian way, but I have experimented and have come up with a great solution you’ll love. What’s great about it is, not only is it fresh and just tastes like summer, but you can make it ahead and just watch while you husband does the grilling! Better yet, have a glass of wine! (more…)