Friday, May 30, 2014

Italy! (Day Five) TUSCANY!

I LOVE TUSCANY! This was probably my favorite part of our trip.  It is SO BEAUTIFUL here!  We started the day at a family farm where they have 250 acres, run by four generations of family.  Here one of the family members was showing us the name of their farm and telling the story of how her family came to own it years ago...
One of the family members, Sarah, taught us a pasta making class - all by hand.  We all had our own boards where we were told to use "two handfuls of all-purpose flour, two not quite as full handfuls of semolina flour, and 1 to 2 eggs".  We mixed the flours together on our board, made a well in the center, cracked in the eggs, then started whisking the eggs with a fork, slowly incorporating the surrounding flour.  Once all the flour was incorporated we kneaded the dough, rolled it out, and cut it into all kinds of pastas.  We had so much fun!




 After our pasta making class, we got to tour this beautiful farm!  Look at these views!!

 We saw where they make and age their wine, both in barrels and steel tanks.  Even though our family does not drink alcohol, this was a very interesting part of the tour.  A lot goes into making their wine.

 This is their bottling machine...

 Here Sarah talked about the hundreds of olive trees on the farm and how they farm them to make olive oil.

 Then she took us to their barn where they keep their cattle they use for meat.  The cows were VERY friendly.  I was walking by and one took a nice big lick of my ankle as I passed. Yuck!  Not so fond of the slobber, but they were nice cows!

 This cow kept trying to lick Bryan's hand as he went to pet it.  It would stick it's long tongue out, trying to reach Bryan's hand on it's nose :)

At this point, the other adults went to a wine tasting for a few minutes.  Since we don't drink, we went with the kids to go flavor our own olive oil to take home with us.  We picked herbs from their garden and put them in bottles, then filled the bottles with olive oil from their farm.  Can't wait to dip some bread in that!


The greenhouse...

Exploring the greenhouse I ran into one of the workers on the farm.  When he opened his mouth I knew he was not Italian.  He was from Austin, Texas!  He came out to Italy to see the country, and decided to stay.  He got a job on this farm.  I asked him how long he was planning to stay, and he had no idea.  When he gets tired of it, he'll go home!  Being here, I can see how someone with no ties could just stay.  It is so beautiful!

After our tour of the farm, we sat on the veranda overlooking the farm, where they served us a beautiful Tuscan lunch, with lots of homemade pasta, veggies from their farm, and yummy bread and olive oil.  We also had our choice of several fabulous Italian desserts!

That evening we drove to explore the hilltop village of Certaldo.  We took another 'funicular' train to the top of the hill, and just had fun strolling the quiet streets of the village.

After riding the funicular back down, we were taken to an old monastery that had been turned into a themed Medieval restaurant where we ate a yummy Tuscan dinner, complete with entertainment.  Not so sure how Mark felt about getting randomly selected to be part of the entertainment!  He was a good sport though!

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