Remember a few weeks ago when I told you that I was going to Italy? Well, I’m back and can I please start by telling you how lucky I feel? I mean, it’s not every day that you’re able to wake up in a Casale di Valle in Vinci, look out your bedroom window and watch the sun rise over rows and rows of perfectly manicured grape vines and watch as it warms up the sleeping village and sprawling Tuscan hills. I mean, it’s pretty magical and insanely picturesque but in the fall, man is it dreamy. Watching the tractor track up and down the rows, picking those gorgeous, juicy Sangiovese grapes and listening to the still of the setting sun was priceless. The hours that filled those days were packed with so much goodness, I don’t even know where to begin. But since I have to start somewhere, I’ll start here.
There were so many highlights and I promise to do my best to touch on all of them but hands down, the best of the best was spending the week with some of the raddest bloggers, humans, creators, and dreamers. My heart is so full and I know I’m a softie, but my eyes are totally welling with tears of joy right now. I am truly overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to adventure out to Italy and connect with some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. Molly (my name is yeh), Brandon (Kitchen Konfidence), Rebecca (Foodie with Family), and I were lucky enough to meet the growers and the winemakers in Vinci and in Montalcino, who are behind the amazing DaVinci Wines like Pinot Grigio, Chianti, Chianti Riserva, and Brunello di Montalcino. And gosh, passionate doesn’t even begin to describe these guys. You know that sparkle some people exude when they really love something, that contagious, magical sparkle? The growers and winemakers all have it
In fact, come to think of it, everyone I met in Tuscany radiated passion. It was inspiring, refreshing, and super contagious! However, the two men who inspired me most were the Bagnoli brothers, the men behind I Due Falcetti, a small artisanal cheesemaking operation that operates much like a CSA. They are what the perfect marriage between love and science looks like. These men smiled from ear to ear every time they spoke about any part of the cheesemaking process. Whether they were explaining the exact temperature you’re aiming for when making primo sale cheese (fresh cheese that they made for us al fresco amidst a grove of olive oil trees) or sharing that their newest calf did not have a name yet because they waiting to see what her personality would be. These men touched your mind, heart, and soul. And when I learned that they both walked away from the city to become cheesemakers simply because they loved food. Well, gosh, I didn’t think my heart could be fuller but when their dogs seemed to fall in love with me (or at least I imagined they did—they didn’t pay attention to anyone else in our party but me), I was over the moon and maybe even a little braggy ;)!!
Here are a few more of my favorites from the trip:
- Grabbing a sandwich at LAX with Brandon who barely made it to the gate after driving up to Los Angeles from San Diego after two cancelled flights.
- Watching Molly and Brandon battle it out to make the best pizza for our pizza making party. Somehow it became a contest but the only people who were really competing were those two. ;) Molly won with her roasted grape and prosciutto masterpiece.
- Vertical Wine Tasting. Boom, that’s all I needed to say right?! We learned a lot about Brunello di Montalcino and I also learned that my favorite DaVinci Brunello vintage is 100% the 2006. You can try to find the 2006 but if/when you can’t, go 2010!!!
- Harvesting our own grapes. Apparently Molly and I are not cut out to be grape harvesters, as we brought in about half the amount as the others.
- Eating gelato in the rain in Montalcino and laughing about the mission we went on to find it.
- Laughing. A lot. In Tuscany. With a glass of wine in hand.
- Meeting so many magical humans.
And that pretty much sums up the trip! You definitely got the short version but if you ever want the long version, you know where to find me.
Thanks so much to DaVinci Wine for sending us to Tuscany. As a 2015 DaVinci Storyteller, this post was written in partnership with DaVinci Wine. DaVinci Wine has provided me with this experience. All thoughts, opinions, and recipes are my own.