Small Towns of Tuscany
November 8th-10th SLA Anna Springer and Staff member Elise Aversa
On Friday November 8th, 27 students set off on a trip across Tuscany with the guidance of SLA Anna Springer and librarian Elise Aversa. With a focus on the various foods and wines of the region, this trip has been a raging success in years past and once again, it did not disappoint.
Tenuta Torciano, a winery outside of San Gimignano, was the first stop of the day. Throughout the course of their lunch, students learned how to properly hold a wine glass and taste various wines. In addition to many fine wines, the students also had the opportunity to taste aged balsamic vinegar alongside an appetizer of sliced meats and cheeses, truffle oil on top of their lasagne, and cantucci (Tuscan cookies) dipped in vin santo (a desert wine). The afternoon consisted of exploring the small town of San Gimignano, famous for its towers and amazing views of the Tuscan landscape. After enjoying a delicious gelato (or two!) in the main piazza of San Gimignano, the group headed to Montestigliano, an agricultural estate which became home for the next few days. The night concluded with a heavenly home-cooked meal at the estate consisting of polenta with a mushroom and tomato sauce, tagliatelle with a wild boar ragu, roasted veal with a side of peas, and a slice of cake "alla nonna" (with cream and pine nuts). Fully satisfied, the students wandered off to bed in their various villas.
Saturday morning, the group headed to a farm where the rare and valued Cinta Senese pigs are raised. Characterized by a white stripe around their middle, these pigs are particular to this region within Italy. After a tour of the farm, during which the group learned about the particularities of raising these special types of pigs, a large lunch was served. The students were able to sample various types of salami made from the Cinta Senese pig and enjoyed a delicious pasta amatriciana made by the farmer’s wife. The group then continued on to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Siena. After a tour of the Torre del Mangia and the Museo Civico, the students wandered about the town, taking in the sites. The evening was spent back at Montestigliano, where the group dined on bruschetta, risotto al radicchio, roast turkey and potatoes, followed by tiramisù for dessert.
Sunday breakfast was filled with the students' requests to stay in Tuscany for the rest of the week, or perhaps never to leave. The group toured the olive orchard on the grounds and received training on how to properly taste olive oil. After a quick tour of an olive oil press, the students enjoyed one last lunch at the estate. A meal of bruschetta, pasta with bacon and zucchini, and slices of roast beef did not disappoint. Once again stuffed to the brim, the group headed home to Rome feeling satisfied by a true culinary experience.