Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Food Glorious Food

Ortobono - San Leo di Anghiari
When Tuscans aren't thinking and talking about food usually it's because they're eating it. The lanes around us have been full of foragers for the last few weeks indulging their passion for berries, funghi and chestnuts. A succession of festivals celebrate this bounty. Indeed, our last set of guests at the end of October came specifically for 'Festa della Castagne' - the festival of chestnuts, just a few miles away from us at Caprese Michelangelo. This series of little festivals culminates in the 'Enogastronomia' which takes place in Anghiari late October/early November. Many local producers literally set up shop in cellars around the town for the best part of a week and the steep narrow lanes and alleys buzz with convivial chatter.

You don't often see chutney in Italy, but we came across a local organic producer turning their fresh produce into relishes. Only the day before they returned from the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow. We had bemoaned the lack of a fresh pasta shop in Anghiari, but clearly we hadn't looked hard enough because it turns out there is one. Even better, it's on the way to what's become our favourite Organic Grocery, Ortobono at San Leo di Anghairi. The people who run it are lovely and generous and stuff our bags with freebies everytime we visit. You have to agree that's much better marketing than a nectar card!

Gradually, we're finding our tribe here in our little corner of Tuscany: the folks who are committed to small individual enterprise, to fairly produced, clean foods and to keeping money circulating in the local economy for local benefit.


  1. It is such a basic element of life eating and we seem to have made such a mess of it. Italy however really is one of the places where food is taken seriously. 45% of Italians go home for lunch. That really is localism, working as well as local food. I am not a fan of vegetables and salad! (as a vegi that is a problem) but the food we have grown and even bought at the supermarket really is so good and tasty, it is a great joy to eat in Italy. I do crave for some UK veg however has anyone seen parsnips in Italy?

  2. Funny you should mention parsnips, I've been puzzled their absence. Would love a roast parsnip & ginger soup or a hazlenut & parsnip pate....