Here are some random observations from our recent nine day trip to Toscana during our honeymoon.
- Truffles, truffles, truffles! The Truffles of Tuscany are fantastic! I am sure that they are fantastic elsewhere such as in France but this was my first full exposure to them! We had them with pasta, sprinkled on eggs done sunny side up, and with risotto, and it was all good! They have a uniquely satisfying and seductive fragrance and taste.
- The Italians know how to relax! The Tuscans are well off but somehow less stressed and happier than Canadians.
- High quality fresh ingredients simply prepared are the key to great Tuscan cooking and in actual fact they are the key to all great cuisines I think! I intellectually knew this before but I didn't really learn this lesson until this trip where we ate a lot of very simply prepared food that was delicious without needing to be overly spiced or prepared in a complex fashion. The best example of this was when one of our cooking school classmates picked up a great Tuscan tomato from the Florence farmers' market with Judy Witts and rubbed it on bread with some olive oil. The flavour was awesome!
- Tuscan tomatoes are fantastic.
- There is only one olive oil: extra virgin. Don't use anything else. The difference in flavour is astounding. Cold pressed olive oil is preferred.
- The Tuscans have not lost their connection to the land like we have in Canada. Everybody seems to either live on a farm or know somebody who does. Perhaps this is why their cooking is so great: people have not forgotten the real taste of meat, fruit and vegetables.
- Italian coffee is real coffee. Call me a snob, but I can only really enjoy coffee when I am in Italy. It tastes and smells better and my body processes it better in Italy.