Last weekend I was invited to visit one if the most beautiful areas in Italy - San Gimignano in Tuscany. Stunning countryside, really friendly people, and obviously most importantly for me, amazing food.
Not only we were spoilt by staying in a converted farmhouse just a (very!) steep stroll down from the gorgeous town of San Gimimgnano, with an enormous kitchen that was once the cow shed (it still had the original eating troughs all along one side of the very large kitchen), but the gardener of the property insisted I visit his allotment for fresh produce - I was in heaven. From that moment on, nobody else was allowed in the kitchen! Interestingly everybody was very happy with that arrangement, and couldn't believe that even on holiday I wanted to cook. What I can't believe is why people don't cook - if you want great food it is the only way (unless you want to eat out at restaurants every night, but even that surely would get boring?!). My bounty included courgettes topped with brightly coloured flowers, celery, beautiful multicoloured large tomatoes, basil, radicchio, cucumber and red rose for each of the signoras! Our own garden was full of apple and plum tress that were dripping with fruit, so plum crumble was also on the menu more than once.
There is one thing that I could not make at home as well as the locals, and that was the local ice-cream at Gelateria dell'olmo - the best I have ever tasted. Even the dairy-free was so creamy and luscious you would be hard pushed to know the difference (I sampled quite a few........for research purposes obviously!). I figured my run up the hill and around the town walls every morning allowed me a few tastes of local produce - by the end of the week I realised running around twice may only just about cover it!!