I’m writing this perched on the old wooden sledge under our nostalgically fragrant Christmas tree. A nice place to be with the log fire roaring and Cosimo and Pucci keeping my feet cosy, to reflect on the year that is coming to a close. The bridge between Christmas and a new year has always been a time of reflection for me and I shy away from merry-making groups and midnight bubbly. Marco is in the kitchen right now trying his hand at making a panettone – to an 1890 recipe.
This has been a tremendously active and stimulating year for us in and around the kitchen. One of the very nicest things has been cooking with so many wonderful people. I wanted to use this especially significant moment and my brand new blog to thank all the like-minded people who have found their way to us – even without a web-site. Marco and I have thrown ourselves whole-heartedly into creating a little old-fashioned magic for all our workshop participants. What we hadn’t bargained on was the totally unexpected joy that has boomeranged back to us. Cooking together in beautiful surroundings with amazing ingredients has been like the gift of a whole year of Christmas days. I feel that I have travelled the world from around our kitchen table with food enthusiasts from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Holland, Korea, Thailand and Japan, sharing food knowledge and local traditions, opening windows onto walks of life and doors onto lasting friendships. I’m more than ever convinced that cooking together is a recipe for magic; when you’ve sliced, stirred and sautéed together and then feasted on the results accompanied with wonderful wines, anything can happen.
One of the most unexpected surprizes, has been the number of young Italians coming to our workshops after experiencing the food in our restaurant, and making the discovery that sadly, there is part of a generation in this food knowledgable country that has slipped through the osmotic loop loosing precious domestic culinary heritage.
It would not be possible not to thank also, each and everyone of the local producers and growers who struggle against the odds to produce the genuine ingredients at the heart of Tuscan culinary traditions and who put up with us under their feet while taking time to transmit a little of their passion to all those of us workshoppers who also care.
Our New Year opens with a totally new web-site and a wider selection of Tuscan cooking workshops based– as always - on seasonal ingredients and complimentary traditional recipes.
Happy New Year. We look forward to cooking with you during the year.
Elizabeth and Marco