Italian Food

Eating is a necessity, but cooking is an art…

Light bulbWhen you rent a villa in Tuscany one of the highlights is eating out, or having a feast at your villa rentals in Tuscany cooked, served and cleared up while you sit back and enjoy the view at your Lucca villa rental recently we scoured the area around La Collina del Sole and found that in addition to the restaurants highlighted in the Lucca villa rental website all of which are fabulous there is an exceptional “eaterie” in the midst of Villas for rent in Tuscany it is called Locanda del Mezzo and is situated in the heart of Barga a beautiful historic town and on the “MUST SEE” list when you stay at Holiday villas in Lucca Upon entering this charming restaurant you might think you have accidentally stumbled upon a newly launched, up-market restaurant in Soho, London, as opposed to a Locanda (Italian for an Inn) in the middle of Garfagnana. Run by a young and up-and-coming duo the restaurant offers a welcomed daring take on traditional Tuscan cuisine. It is clear right from the offset that these boys know their stuff. They know how to treat their guests with not only a feast for their taste buds, but also an aesthetical one. The food tastes delicious and is presented in the most inventive and artistic manner. The atmosphere is equally satisfactory as one is waited on by the warmest and most knowledgeable of waiters. The chef takes a "minimalistic" approach to his cooking. He specially selects only the finest local ingredients to infuse together, therefore adding a very rare depth to his cooking. These innovative dishes are light, therefore you will easily be able to sample a dish from each section (starter, first course, second course and pudding) allowing you to really enjoy the whole tasting experience from the very carefully curated menu. If you are looking for a dining experience with a wow-factor this is certainly a destination to add to your “to do” list. I would even go as far to say this is my favourite restaurant in the surrounding area of La Collina del Sole due to its fresh take on the old classics. (Current menu) ANTIPASTI -Selection of local cold meats -Cream of bean with mussels -Beef tartar -Liquid salad with marinated mackerel -Richly cured hams

PRIMI PIATTI -Three tomato pasta -Watercolour Risotto, accompanied by mullet caviar and cream of clam -Velvety broccoli and potato soup with rosemary croutons -Cream of chickpea and squid artisanal pasta -Hand-made ravioli stuffed with three-time-roasted spelt, drizzled with butter and sage

SECONDI PIATTI -A selection of cheeses chosen by the famous Luigi Guffanti -Merlot infused braised meat on a bed of red-polenta and onion -Filet of beef with sautéed aubergine and spinach -Over-baked hake with seasonal vegetables and saffron sauce

DESSERT -Chocolate torte with a melt-in-the-mouth vanilla core -Marsala (sweet wine) laced custard-like pudding, topped with pistachios and almonds -Baked apples with mascarpone cream and honey-comb truffles -Aniseed infused creme brulèe Eat, Enjoy, relax and dip into the saltwater infinity pool at La Collina del Sole to top off the perfect day !

LCDS Pool360Degree

Cinghiale or wild boar Pappardelle recipe… Good things take a long time coming

PastaThis recipe is a speciality of the local area for La Collina del Sole an outstanding Lucca villa rental situated in the heart of the chestnut wood area of Garfagnana a region rich in experiences and activities, with beautiful places of interest that you can explore while enjoying your holiday villas in Lucca The mountains afford world class climbing, and mountain recreation like walking; a real treat in the heat of the summer when you rent a villa in Tuscany as the usual villas for rent in Tuscany have flatter surroundings. Here you find a rich landscape that changes with every passing hour … ideal to just sit and “chill” at your villa rentals in TuscanyThe recipe for cinghiale sauce requires time and skill and can feed 10 to 25 people. Whether you try your hand at it, get one of our chefs to cook it for you, or just order pappardelle al cinghiale at a local restaurant, this recipe reveals the work that goes into this seemingly simple Tuscan treasure. The sauce: start with a fresh cut of wild boar, and leave to age for at least three days at O degrees Centigrade. Bone out the leg parts and cut off what little fat you will find. Cut the ribs into chops and set aside to make the stew. Cut half of the meat into large squares and place in a big pot with lots of sprigs of freshly picked rosemary, sage, bay, peppercorns and parsley stalks. Dice up vegetables in the same manner: red onions, the white part of some leeks, celery, and a small quantity of carrots and add to the huge pot. Add lashings of good Tuscan red wine until it covers the cinghiale. You should work on 2/3 meat, 1/3 vegetables ratio, and for every two bottles of wine add one cup of olive oil. Leave the stew to rest in the fridge for two days, stirring when possible to help marinate all the flavours. Throw in a few peppercorns and juniper berries for good measure. After a couple of days drain off the liquid and set aside. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan and throw in a good amount of olive oil-then double it. Sautè the cinghiale and vegetables. This step can be done in stages, so you don't stew the meat, but brown it. Once all the meat has been browned, throw everything into the pot, adding the liquid marinade and a small amount of tomato pulp. Bring to a boil and simmer very slowly for at least four hours. Season with salt and taste for flavour and then smother you chosen pasta with the sauce. To accompany go for an aged pecorino cheese (not parmesan) and a bottle of Piastraia Bolgheri Rosso DOC Michele Satta which beautifully accompanies the rich, intensely gamey taste of the wild boar.If you would like other wine suggestions contact us and we or our freind Andrea at il Vecchio Mulino will be deligthed to help Enjoy! 360DegreefromPool

His father was a wild boar, his mother was surprised…

Mr PigIn the forest that surrounds la Collina del Sole there lives the Italian wild boar…and whilst most of you may know what to do when confronted by a grizzly bear, a lion, a tiger or a scorpion, one might be less aware of the protocol for a cinghiale (wild boar). Cinghiale is a favourite dish in the local restaurants of this Lucca villa rental as like some other holiday villas in Lucca it is situated overlooking the Apuan mountains in Garfagnana. Unlike many villas for rent in Tuscany commands the most extraordinary view. The last thing on your mind when you rent a villa in Tuscany is to come face to face with a cinghiale, to be honest, it is a rare occurrence with residents of villa rentals in Tuscany however if you are very quiet while walking in the woods near La Colina del Sole you may find one.These beasts are actually quite timid. They have a sharp sense of smell, but poor eyesight, so once they smell your presence they may get a little closer to see you, however, usually upon realising that you are a threat they will just run away in a fit of squeals and grunts. And they can run fast…so don’t think you’ll be able to outrun one.

In the rare occasion that a cinghiale should feel threatened (perhaps you are hunting it… in which case, that is fair enough), a wild boar does have the strength to harm you. In which case you should either talk loudly or yell. The boar will most likely want nothing to do with you and scoot off. I recommend vocalizing a recipe for “papardelle con cinghiale” just to really drive home the message …well that is my theory anyway! You could also back away slowly and steadily, this prevents the animal from feeling further threatened which means it is less likely to charge at you. Some sources even suggest trying to climb a nearby tree, which in my opinion is easier said than done, especially in Northern Tuscany where the trees tend to have thin branches where are next to impossible to scale!

There is no need to panic about the likelihood of stumbling across a wild boar; you most likely will never see one. The most probable encounter you will have with one is when you sit down at El Pozzo restaurant down the road from La Collina del Sole about to tuck into a bowl of wild boar stew - a rare and deliciously intense dish that you must try if offered on the menu. LCDS Sunset from road leading to La Collina del Sole

Chocolate is cheaper than therapy, and you don’t need an appointment...

Chocolate TrufflesChocolate makes you feel loved! and if you are treating Mum to a holiday villas in Lucca and spending Mother’s day the glorious Lucca villa rental called La Collina del Sole then pop into the local town of Castelnuovo and seek out Antica Pasticceria, in our travels around villas for rent in Tuscany we have not found its equal, as being chocoholics; Chocolate is important to us whether we rent a villa in Tuscany for fun, whether we are at work or whether we are advising fellow travellers of the delights and places of interest around villa rentals in Tuscany Among the favourite experiences that we love in the Garfagnana area is the Bar and Patisserie called Antica Pasticceria …You may think that you have just walked straight onto the set of Charlie and Chocolate Factory as you drink in the heavenly fumes of freshly crushed roasted cocoa beans, and stare awe struck at the rows of finely crafted chocolate figurines, which range from chocolate-shaped Ferraris to chocolate-shaped crowns and frogs. Behind the glass tops a very beautiful woman (the wife of the chocolatier) will allow you to sample some of the mouth-watering chocolates on offer, they are all hand-made, and they all rival the chocolate at Fortnum and Masons…

Why not try some of their truffles…They range from the amaretto, which is a bittersweet chocolate ganache with a nutty Amaretto liqueur and chocolate drizzle. Or a smooth dark chocolate with a red-hot explosion at the finish as it is dusted with hot chilli pepper powder. The chai chocolate truffle is a bittersweet chocolate ganache with a heavenly blend of exotic teas and spices, or the champagne truffle which gives the dark chocolate ganache a light, creamy flavour. For the more exotic amongst you, sample the flaky fresh coconut pieces swirled into an all-white chocolate truffle with a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth centre. Or the Dulce de Leche chocolate truffle which combines Argentina's signature blend of milk caramel in a white chocolate and sweet cream ganache, enrobed in rich dark chocolate. For the decadents amongst you there is the Poire au Cognac, which takes the natural juices from the local pears added to a smooth white ganache, enrobed with dark chocolate. Antica Pasticceria has an impressive fan-following. Locals frequently pop in to eat their favourite cakes, biscuits, croissants, mousses and confections. One can even order a traditional Tuscan hot chocolate; the hot chocolate arrives piping hot, a deep caramel colour with cinnamon sprinkled on top, it is so thick and creamy that the spoon stands up straight in the cup! All their items are made with traditional recipes and choice local organic ingredients which gives their products a distinct and well-rounded flavour.LCDS vineyard and pool viewSmall

You are the butter to my bread…

LOVEValentine's Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Italy. So get ready to celebrate when you rent a villa in Tuscany Valentine’s Day was initially celebrated as a Spring Festival by Italians, worth remembering when you stay at La Collina del Sole a beautifully located villas for rent in Tuscany This Lucca villa rental is within arm’s length of the Apuane Natural park hence for a romantic holiday villas in Lucca respite surrounded by nature at its best this villa rentals in Tuscany is the best thing going. Valentines celebrations were held in the open air, where young people would gather in orchards or ornamental gardens where they would enjoy listening to music and reading poetry together. Later they would stroll off with their Valentine into the gardens. The custom steadily died out over the course of the years and has not been celebrated since.In Turin, betrothed couples used to announce their engagement on Valentine's Day. Therefore several days ahead of February the 14th shops would guild their windows with china baskets loaded with delectable Valentine's Day candies tied with ribbons - these were to be presented as gifts to the newly engaged valentines. A bizarre tradition that Italians used to uphold was the practice of unmarried girls waking before sunrise on Valentine’s Day and standing by their window to watch a man pass by. This was because Italians strongly believed that the first man an unmarried girl laid her eyes upon on Valentine's Day would be the man she would marry within a year! Lucky postman! For the lovers of Italy, Valentine ’s Day is called “il giorno della festa degli innamorati”. A popular Valentine's Day gift in Italy is Baci Perugina - "Baci" chocolate "kisses" are small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts containing a small slip of paper with romantic poetic quotes in seven languages. These love notes are written in either: Italian, English, French, German, Greek, Spanish, or Portuguese. I thought I would leave you with a thought for the day that I read last time I ate one of those tasty balls of hazelnutty chocolate goodness… “Love doesn’t make the world go round, but love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

LCDS Sunset from road leading to La Collina del Sole

Have you been naughty or nice?

Lady with HatIn Italian folklore the Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children and fills their socks with candy and presents if they are good, or a lump of coal if they are bad. A jolly handy piece of information if you happen to rent a villa in Tuscany during epiphany which is a spectacular time of year to stay at holiday villas in Lucca as the air is crisp and bright and Italians love to PARTY, for example the village inhabitants near La Collina del Sole will gather and if they are alerted that young children are staying at this beautiful Lucca villa rental will visit with sweets and treats and a brass band - a unique lifetime experience to enjoy while you stay at villa rentals in Tuscany In fact La Collina del Sole is one of the few places among the villas for rent in Tuscany where guests will be so warmly and wholeheartedly welcomedLa Befana travels throughout Italy on the night of January the 5th, delivering presents in a similar way to Santa Claus. Attention children, stay at the Italian villa La Collina del Sole during January because in Italy children get both gifts from Father Christmas and the Befana! The Befana is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick wearing a black shawl, and covered in soot because she enters the children's houses through the chimney. She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy and gifts. The broom that she carries is not only a mode of transport but signifies the sweeping away of the problems of the year. It is suggested that one should leave a small glass of wine and a plate with a few yummy treats on it ; otherwise she may not leave any presents for you! Legend says that the Befana was approached by the Three Wise Men a few days before the birth of Jesus. They asked for directions to where Jesus was, as they had seen his star in the sky, but she did not know the answer. She gave them shelter for a night, as she was considered to be the best housekeeper in the village, with the cleanest home as she swept all the time. The Three Wise Men invited her to join them on the journey to find baby Jesus, but she declined because she was too busy with her house cleaning. Later, La Befana changed her mind and went searching for baby Jesus. That night she had no luck in finding Him, so to this day, La Befana is still searching for the little baby, leaving presents for good children such as toys and candy, and for the bad children that she meets along her way...coal.

Don’t get your knickers in a twist…

Image of girlItalians have managed to make the otherwise innocent New Year's Eve celebration a little bit naughty. Tradition dictates that everyone must wear red underwear on New Year's Eve - from boxer shorts to sexy lace panties - anything goes, as long as it's red. Shortly after Christmas, red underwear is stocked exclusively all over the country, so there is no excuse not to join in! When you rent a villa in Tuscany which we highly recommend as Italian New Year’s celebrations are legendary! With a great deal of feasting and fireworks that can be brilliantly overlooked in the valley below from La Collina del Sole one of the best located Villa rentals in Tuscany as it is placed overlooking the Serchio valley. This superb Lucca villa rental has a commanding view of the Apuane hills, where more fireworks can be seen from high altitude villages and refugios where long distance walkers have accomplished a once in a lifetime experience and trekked from their holiday villas in Lucca to the top of the Apuane range, with its beautiful Monte Forato a mountain that has a huge circular hole through the middle,  a highlight to view from the villas for rent in TuscanyIn Spain and Chile there is a similar custom of wearing unusual underwear in case you thought that it sounded a little odd, in Japan locals consume large amounts of a chewy, sweet rice cake, called Mochi, in order to guarantee a long and happy life. This sounds innocent enough, however this tradition has been known to lead to people choking to death – I’m not sure if it’s worth the hassle, to be honest…best to stick to red underwear! Italians also eat “cotechino e lenticchie” (pig’s feet and lentils) during New Years. According to tradition this bizarre ritual will bring good luck to the Italian’s finances in the coming year. The economical abundance wished for is symbolised through the hoof because the meat has a high fat content and a superior richness in flavour to other cuts of meat. Equally symbolic are the lentils, as their ovular shape is reminiscent of gold coins and the money the Italians hope to earn in the coming year. Needless to say, the more you eat, the better off you will be financially! The traditional recipe that you will come across in the surrounding area of la Collina del Sole will be pig’s feet in a tomato sauce. Nicely browned pig trotter will simmer in a sauce composed of sautéed and thinly sliced onion and chopped garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, oregano and Italian seasonings. Chefs will cook the pig’s feet in the sauce for up to four hours until the meat in incredibly succulent and tender, and it falls off the bone easily – sounds pretty delicious to me!

LCDS Sunset from road leading to La Collina del Sole

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth…

Winter evening sceneChristmas season begins in Italy on the 30th of November! In the cold winter weather of the northern Tuscan mountains where you can rent a villa in Tuscany Christmas fairs feature fireworks, bonfires, hot chocolate, sugary pastries and piping bowls of pasta. Near Lucca villa rental Christmas markets overflow with new figurines for the manger scene and Christmas baubles to decorate the Christmas tree. If you would like to savour the Christmas spirit earlier than most; we suggest you visit La Collina del Sole one of the few Villas for rent in Tuscany which is designed for both winter and summer living. With a welcoming living room complete with open log fire, high beamed ceilings typical of the best Holiday villas in Lucca and a plethora of speciality food shops bursting with truffles and funghi porcini and fabulously well priced restaurants that serve the best local fare all of them found near our villa rentals in Tuscany Nine days before Christmas it is traditional for Italian families to sing Christmas carols and re-create the manger scene in their homes (some families put life-size figures of Mary and Joseph in their front yard) where they will gather to pray every morning and light candles. Interestingly both the concept of manger scenes and Christmas carols originated in Italy! During the run up to Christmas, children will write letters to their parents wishing them a merry Christmas, promising good behaviour, and making a list of the gifts they hope to receive – much like we do in England. However, in Italy the parents read these letters aloud at dinner. Then they toss them in the fireplace! The children chant to La Befana, the Christmas Spirit, [who when she turns up looks like an old lady] as their wishes go up the chimney – this certainly makes it a little bit trickier for Santa or the Befana when remembering what the children asked for! Once the first star appears on Christmas Eve Italian families light candles in their windows to light the way for the Christ Child. They light candles around their manger and pass the figure of the Baby Jesus from person to person, kissing it, before finally placing it tenderly in its crib. Then they enjoy a lavish supper based on seafood, vegetables, salads, antipasto, bread, pasta, and sweets – no meat will feature in this meal. After dinner the town will gather at church for a midnight Christmas Eve mass. Christmas Day is reserved for church, presents, family, and – in true Italian style – feasting! Foods which feature heavily at Christmas are Pannettone, a yeast cake filled with fruit, and panforte, a dense honey cake spiced with cloves and cinnamon, and cassata, which includes ice cream and fruit. So in the words of a young man “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!”..


You’re my sweet honey pumpkin pie…

Pasta Pot imageFor such a famous vegetable, the pumpkin has a dull reputation; in the United Kingdom except for a bit of excitement around Halloween, it is dismissed. On the other hand, Italians, love pumpkins far too much to smash them in the streets for a bit of fun. In the tiny medieval-walled town of Venzone they have dedicated an entire day to the pumpkin. Each year, a contest awards prizes for the largest, heaviest, longest, most aesthetically pleasing, and most unusual squash!  Venzone is in the North East of Italy, a delightful cross mountain drive from La Collina del Sole towards Venice, past Bologna where you can take in a bit of culture while you rent a villa in Tuscany Italy takes food seriously - as you will find out when you have holiday villas in Lucca Tuscan food in particular is pivotal to life when you stay at villas for rent in Tuscany this is why one experience we love at our favourite jewel among villa rentals in Tuscany called La Collina del Sole is a learning to cook like Mamma opportunity, where the cooks of this amazing Lucca Villa Rental will teach you all the secrets and shortcuts of Mamma’s Italian cooking including pumpkin based dishes.The pumpkin has dense, flavourful and silky flesh which makes the flavour an ideal canvas for the savoury and sweet culinary creations whipped up by Italian cooks. The pulp can be made into savoury pumpkin tarts flecked with prosciutto, or a pumpkin-honey-candied orange filling coupled with a walnut-flour crust. Long ago, vendors would walk the streets selling great slices of pumpkin, the vibrant orange fleshy vegetable is rich and sweet enough that once cooked it can be eaten as a confection. Balancing wooden planks piled high with roasted pumpkin on their shoulders the vendors would offer up their sugary snacks by shouting, "Suca baruca, suca baruca". One of our favourite recipes that we have come across during our stays at La Collina del Sole is the penne with pumpkin, bacon and balsamic vinegar. Here is the recipe…enjoy! INGREDIENTS: ⅝ lb pumpkin 3 ½ oz bacon 2 oz parmesan cheese parsley to taste rosemary to taste 1 clove of garlic A few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar ½ onion 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ¾ lb penne pasta

PREPARATION: Peel and remove the seeds from the pumpkin. Cut into cubes of about 0.5 inch each side. Place the rest of the pumpkin, the onion, and a little salt in a pan and cover with water until it boils. When the vegetable is cooked, whip until you obtain a cream. First cut the smoked bacon into pieces of about 0.2 inch in length and then cut in Julienne style. Mince the rosemary, garlic and parsley. Put a pan on medium heat, add a drop of oil and fry the smoked bacon. Remove the smoked bacon from the pan, add the pumpkin and cook, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic, rosemary and the bacon to the pumpkin and after 2 minutes of cooking, add the pumpkin cream. In plenty of salted boiling water cook the pasta, drain and add with the previously prepared sauce. Add the Parmesan grated, plate the pasta and drizzle with Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena before serving.

If I could marry pastry cream I would...

Raspberry sliceThe unique Italian art for making pastry: Tradition, Technique and Taste! We have discovered where to learn these secrets while enjoying a Lucca villa rental overlooking the Carrara marble hills! It is called La Collina del Sole and has a variety of exclusive experiences that are only available at this villas for rent in Tuscany one of the best "unique to La Collina del Sole" experiences is cooking lessons with Maria you can choose what you want to learn from the suggested menu at this holiday villas in Lucca or send your request by contacting the owners of this award winning villa rentals in Tuscany and really get stuck in to the Italian culinary tradition which as you will discover when you rent a villa in Tuscany has been influenced by different populations such as the Roman, Greek, Arabian and Norman, this influence is particularly noticeable in the art of Italian pastries. The use of nuts and caramelised sweets folded into their all butter, sweet, light textured pastries are mouth-watering.In the past, the dessert course was created for the family to enjoy purely for special occasions, such as a religious festivity. Nowadays, however, as Italian food is considered one of the best all over the world, these deserts (luckily for us) are widely available! So why not pop down to one of the cafes and pasticcerias that surround La Collina del Sole this Special Italian villa for rent in Tuscany, and try a... GIANDUIOTTO - a milk chocolate sweet. Originally from Torino, it is descended from a traditional chocolate pudding recipe involving crushed hazelnut s and lady fingers. The concept of mixing hazelnut pieces and chocolates was born during Napoleon’s reign, when importing cocoa from South America became extremely difficult and was “bulked up” with hazelnuts. BACI DI DAMA – a "ladies Kiss". As legend has it they were created by a chef who worked for the Royal family of Savoia as he wished to impress King Vittorio Emanuele. The name most probably represents a kiss between two lovers and the shape of the “baci di dama” itself resembles a lady’s lips. These baci combine hazelnuts with butter flour and sugar until a rich, smooth and luscious texture is achieved. CASTAGNOLE - little fried dough balls flavoured with aniseed liqueur. Castagnole are made with an egg enriched dough, which contains baking powder, aniseed liqueur, lemon zest which is fried until golden. Crunchy and sweet on the outside; soft and warm on the inside. They are the typical carnival pastry. SFOGLIATELLE - shell-shaped filled pastries native to Italian cuisine. "Sfogliatelle" means "small, thin leaves/layers," as the pastry's texture resembles stacked leaves. Recipes for the dough and filling of sfogliatelle vary and include orange-flavoured ricotta, almond paste, and candied peel of citron. These desserts are well known for giving a sweet and powerful taste whilst retaining a light texture. Buon Apetito !Botega del Gelate YUMmmm by Rebecca Jensen

A hug in a mug…

Hug in a Mug Everyone loves hot chocolate, it’s one of the best things about winter. It’s just so amazingly warming and comforting, like a big snuggly hug in a mug! What hot chocolate does for me is bring back my childhood memories…like autumn holidays spent at La Collina del Sole our very favourite Lucca Villa rental . Where among the many experiences we enjoyed like walking in the chestnut woods funghi hunting and visiting places of interest or checking out the locations where wedding magazine had taken the press shots in the area… Happy memories of holiday villas in Lucca with fabulous feasts brought in by Maria - surely the best outside catering found in any of the villas for rent in Tuscany So with such fond memories I thought today we could investigate how to make the Italian version of this comforting drink. Italian hot chocolate is very different to the hot chocolate that we English are used to. Italian hot chocolate is rich, thick and decadent. It has an almost pudding-like consistency with an incredibly bold chocolate flavouring. It’s made with just 4 simple ingredients (4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate which is 70% or higher, 1 1/2 cups of whole milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of corn starch) and takes less than 5 minutes to whip up on your stove. It will warm you from head to toe and make your smile wider with every sip – why not add a twist to your hot chocolate by complimenting it with rosewater, orange blossom or a sprinkling of chilli peppers… I personally enjoy drinking a healthier version, which is equally so perfectly thick and creamy, and as sweet and chocolaty as ever. This is a super-food hot chocolate which not only tastes incredible, but will leave you feeling fantastic afterwards…The two main ingredients are almond milk (which you can buy at the Coop in Pieve Fosciana the closest health food providing supermarket to La Collina del Sole the best among villa rentals in Tuscany ) and cacao powder. Cacao is full of disease-fighting antioxidants, as well as lots of the hormone serotonin, which acts as a natural mood booster and anti-depressant. Almond milk and almond butter give you lots of energising plant protein, heart healthy fats, and an incredible dose of vitamin E, which is amazing for healthy hair and glowing skin. You will need: - 1 cup of homemade or bought almond milk - 2 tablespoons of maple syrup - 2 teaspoons of raw cacao - 1 teaspoon of almond butter Simply place all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat gently whilst stirring to ensure all the ingredients mix together and the almond butter doesn’t get stuck at the bottom. Enjoy whilst you snuggle up in front of the wood fire at La Collina del Sole a jewel among the welcoming spots when you rent a villa in Tuscany !

The bluffer’s guide to wine…

Glass of WineAt La Collina del Sole they have their own vineyard and produce organic wine, at this Lucca villa rental you can experience the vendemmia [wine harvest] and join in the celebrations afterwards as described in a recent blog. Coming up at this time of year there is a special date - Sunday the 19th of October 2014 the wine festival will be held in Riana, a picturesque village and definitely a place of interest near this Holiday villas in Lucca The chances are that when you rent a villa in Tuscany it might have a vineyard surrounding it but a feast day dedicated to wine…that is special! wherever you choose your villas for rent in Tuscany At the feat in Riana they will be serving wonderful food with Polenta with Funghi Porcini in every conceivable fried, stewed, roasted, these wonderful mushrooms which by the way are well known surrounding this area of villa rentals in Tuscany will be accompanied with a generous portion of organic wine, local cheeses, and cured meats and local tarts…of the eating variety, so we suggest after the festa you walk home to La Collina del Sole a 15 minute uphill walk from Riana, after you have visited a few of the cantinas where the wine is made, sampled the wine that spouts from the village fountain and witnessed the wine barrel race. And to get you in the mood in order to enjoy our wine and wine in general I thought I would put together four rules of thumb that I learnt from an ingenious website called Wine Folly, which will help you in the complex process of selecting wines: 1. Cotes du Rhone is a red wine from the South of France made with an abundance of varying grapes (the French name their wines by region, not by the type of grape, as Americans and Aussies do). If you can't pronounce the words on the wine list, ask for the "Coat Do Roan". French wines can be incredibly expensive but Cotes du Rhone is usually the most economical, because a substantial amount of the stuff is produced every year! 2. When you’re going cheap, the cabernet sauvignon is the best option. Making wine with the grape Variety cabernet sauvignon is incredibly easy as the cab fruit thrives even under strenuous conditions. Therefore even a bottle made from cheap grapes will be drinkable. 3. For a fancy wine, think pinot. The pinot noir grape is the opposite of cabernet leafletsauvignon: It's hard to grow and do right. "Thin-skinned and temperamental" as Paul Giamatti would say. Some cash needs to be splashed when selecting a pinot noir so maybe only buy this one for serious wine lovers, your closest friends and family, or if you really had a terrible day at work and need a serious treat. 4. For cooking, the sauvignon blanc is apparently the best option for white wine sauces, because it adds a dash of acidity, like a lemon would. As we discovered previously, sauvignon blanc is economical - perfect for chucking into your moules marinieres recipe. When a recipe needs a red wine, Wine Folly suggests a Chianti or a Sangiovese. Now that you have the basic know-how of what to choose in France, why not try your knowledge out at one of the many wine shops near the La Collina del Sole the Lucca villa rental that overlooks the Carrara mountain range, or indulge in a “wine tasting experience” found at Il Vecchio Mulino at Castelnuovo the closest market town to La Collina del Sole. Or alternatively you could sit back and relax by our salt-water pool and enjoy the fresh bouquet of our complimentary organic, home-grown wine.

“Pick-me up” at la Collina del Sole…

Pudding ImageTiramisu literally translates into "pick-me-up" and is one of the favourite desserts requested from our suggested menus for in house dinning at La Collina del Sole our favourite Lucca villa rental. Some claim that this title refers to the dish being so delicious that the taste of it makes you weak at the knees; hence needing a “pick me up” in order to recover from the taste explosion. Another explanation could be the caffeinated ingredients in the dish; espresso and cocoa. When you rent a villa in Tuscany in order to pay this ancient pudding the respect it deserves particularly while you are staying at your holiday villas in Lucca, what better than to have it freshly made for you at La Collina del Sole by our team of expert chefs. This service is provided through the in-house dining experience. In Italy a meal usually concludes with fresh fruit rather than dessert. Therefore, the addition of a dessert marks a special occasion This may explain why Italian desserts are particularly memorable, presenting lavish arrangements of indulgent ingredients and truly unforgettable flavour combinations, such as those found in Tiramisu. Although having tried the dish once, food lovers may find the battle to resist indulging once again a difficult practice, particularly if you taste Marias Tiramisu when ordering your feast from the suggested menus as you enjoy the delights of villa rentals in Tuscany

Every Italian dessert is mindful of one distinct rule, which is to create a dish that provides pleasure above all else. A consequence of this rule came Tiramasu; an elegant and rich combination of lady finger biscuits, espresso, mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, Masala wine, rum and cocoa powder. Though you might think that the grouping of these diverse and powerful ingredients may not work, an intense yet refined dish emerges. The delicate flavour of the mascarpone contrasts with the robust presence of espresso and the sharpness of cocoa powder. These flavours fuse nicely, creating a velvety texture that provide for a luxurious treat. If guests are gluten or lactose intolerant, our chefs are more than happy to tailor the dish to your needs, as they provide entire meals tailored to food allergies and preferences, at La Collina del Sole we believe that we might as well give you the BEST experience you have ever had while staying at Villas for rent in Tuscany and if the feedback of our guests in anything to go by … we are succeeding and will continue to do everything in our power to offer an unforgettable holiday rather like the unforgettable Italian desserts !

Italy is ABLAZE with fireworks and gifts

During New Year’s Eve the skies around Lucca Villa Rental are literally alight with Fireworks coming from all different directions the position of La Collina del Sole is exceptional as it has one of the most commanding views of Villas for rent in Tuscany and  allows you to survey the valley below as every house party attendee, formal dinner guest La Collina del Sole Party time  (4)and restaurant reveller let off thousands of fireworks of every description. A bonus when you rent a villa in Tuscany is to partake of the joys of life in the region and as many Italians visit their country cousins in the area of villa rental in Tuscany  you get to really live the Italian Dolce Vita when you stay at Holiday villas in Lucca Apart from the riotous firework displays another particular custom in the remote parts of Italy on the 5th of Janaury is the visit by a Befana an old lady who walks from house to house in a village where children can be found if they have been good she gives them sweet and toys if they have been naughty she gives them a lump of coal, you can still find “lumps of coal” in provincial sweet shops that are made with spun sugar. Traditionally each home offers the befana and the befano if she is accompanied by her husband a tot of homemade grappa and some homemade biscotti called Befanini , plain sweet biscuits specially decorated for the occasion. Barga a beautiful town near La Collina del Sole is well known for its Befanini di Barga  some have 100’s & 1000’s sugar topping others have icing sugar. Barga very close to Lucca Villa rental also plays host to the House of thFood WINTER FRUIT Largee Befana or casa della Befana where children post their requests through the letter box. Rather like posting requests to Father Christmas! At this time the household might also produce special homemade juices like RASPBERRY or BLUEBERRY JUICE for the children who accompany the befana or indeed for the Befana herself if she is a little worse for wear after visiting many homes. To make these juices, you clean the blueberries, or raspberries and put them in a pot with some water on a low flame long enough to soften them, then pass all the softened fruit through a fine mesh sieve and drain the juice, mix it with sugar according to taste no more than 300 grams per litre of juice. This recipe can be used with any berry or fruit. LCDS SUNSET winter Composite

Tis the season to be jolly …

During the festive season the area surrounding Lucca Villa Rental bursts forth with DSCN1794different homemade liqueurs, because where you find villa rentals in Tuscany you also find an abundance of home grown fruits!  And as harvests are plentiful in the region where you find villas for rent in Tuscany the surplus fruit is used to make syrups and liqueurs, the recipe was given to us by the cook at La Collina del Sole it is simple and very effective judging by the feedback of guests that have stayed at this fabulous Holiday villas in Lucca they also have several experiences at this Lucca Villa rental with truffle and funghi hunting, the pizza experience, wine harvesting  and cookery classes where you could make a stash of liqueuFood WINTER FRUIT Largers to take home with you when you rent a villa in TuscanyMany fruits are made into liqueurs using the base of grappa, which can be bought or home made by distilling wine that is surplus to requirements.

For example to make BLUEBERRY LIQUEUR Clean the blueberries and put them in glass jars along with a couple of tablespoons of honey, then cover them with grappa and let them stand for a few days, gently agitate the glass jars from time to time, the liqueur will be ready when the grappa takes a bit of color from the blueberries.

Using this same recipe you can get creative and use many kinds of fruits such as strawberries raspberries, cherries, pears, figs, oranges and so on as long as you have a surplus. Herb Grappa is also very special you can use any aromatic herb. Add grappa to mint , juniper berries  or gentian with honey in fact any other herb can be uDrinks Bonini  Spirits(5)sed as long as it is aromatic and you like the taste. Add a few sprigs to a liter of grappa and leave to fully infuse.

You can also make other fruit spirits with alcohol here is the recipe for ALCOHOLIC BERRIES   Place 1 kg of various types of fruit ( redcurrants,  blueberries,  blackberries,  raspberries , etc. ) in a glass jar and add 250 grams of sugar which has already dissolved in half a glass of water, fill the jar with alcohol at 45 ° Close the lid and leave for at least 3 months before consuming. There is a HUGE variety of fruits that you can prepare in this same way.

Enjoy the variety of Tuscan tastes in liquid form too ! LCDS Pool360Degree

Truffles - God’s gift to gourmets

  Ever wondered why the world goes wild over the taste of truffle? It is because it has a Eating at tablehaunting taste, is expensive and cannot readily be found all year round. Tuscany is the home of Truffles so what better treat than to find some yourself  as a pastime when you stay at villas for rent in Tuscany  The area around La Collina del Sole is bursting with black truffles, one of the favourite restaurants of the guests at Lucca Villa Rental serve truffles as though they were as easy to find as walnuts, this is because the cooks father in law and his dog find a plentiful supply of black truffles in the area of villa rentals in Tuscany the best way to enjoy their full flavour is to savour the capellini  [angel hair pasta] with truffles shaved on top at the Casa del Pescatore. When you rent a villa in Tuscany in the area of the Tuscan-Emilian Appennines  you can request to experience truffle hunting which is no longer done with sows but with trained dogs, you need to enjoy this at the a special time of year at the Holiday villas in Lucca as it is only allowed between September and December, when you accompany the hunters using a tool shaped like a small spade to go truffle treasure Black Trufflehunting, the areas in which truffles grow, especially black truffles, can be identified due to the lack of grass.  Nowadays there are approximately under 2000 registered truffle hunters and 9 truffle associations in Tuscany. They hope to institute a “garanzia di origine” or guarantee of origin for Tuscan truffles.  Truffle areas exposed towards south generally grow earlier, followed by the ones exposed to east and west and finally by the ones exposed to north.. The truffle with its strong and pleasant smell, can vary in shape and can weigh over 1 kg. It costs more or less €2200 euro per kilo but can reach €5000 per kilo or €200 per kilo depending on its type white or black and size. If you would rather buy in bulk rather than spend hours rambling in a truffle treasure hunt then you could join the  “International Tuscan truffle auction” held in the Medici Castle in Cafaggiolo, north of Florence towards Bologna, where the most prestigious truffles are found. The strong aroma is best enjoyed when shaved over warm pasta and butter, on a simple risotto, polenta  or over scrambled or poached eggs.Food Bonini  Polenta(21) Truffles are found, not grown, and not transplanted. In an age where tomatoes, strawberries and mangoes are perpetually in season, this is the one food that cannot be  grown in a greenhouse. Although there is no sign of flagging demand, there has been a steady decline in the truffles to be found,  the weather has changed the autumn in Tuscany is getting warmer and this is not good for truffles and accounts for much of the decline. In addition, over the last 20 years, many trees in the area have been cut down to plant vineyards, so the traditional places where hunters looked for truffles are limited. “What is it that makes the truffle so special? It is the relationship between whatever is in the earth and the roots of a tree. Until you have smelt the real thing, you don’t know what to look for and the more you are exposed to it, the more critical you become.” A culinary conundrum! How about the latest addition to the “truffle recipes” of the world, we recently read Miranda Bryant’s article on “A fish pie billed as “the world’s most expensive ready meal” went on sale today for more than £300" on the 4th of December 2013.  The dish - which contains white alba truffle and is sprinkled with 24ct gold crumbs - comes hand delivered by a security guard on a gilded tray in an aluminium case the hands of a secuFunghi by Alina  (6)rity guard will be handcuffed to the meal until it’s been delivered to the correct person. Other ingredients include Balik salmon, Cornish lobster tail, salted oysters, wild turbot and lobster poached in vintage Dom Perignon 2003. It comes accompanied by an amuse bouche of Beluga caviar in two mother of pearl spoons. Even the potato mash is made special Yukon Gold Heritage potatoes to make the meal taste extra special and the salt comes from the Piran salt plains of Slovenia, the Olive Oil from El Mil Del Poaig with Montgomery Cheddar, Pecorino cheese and peppercorns. The chef said the meal was created to give people the opportunity to try multiple exclusive ingredients in one go and expects it to appeal to the wealthy and “curious”. Well if you are curious forget the handcuffed pie and join the most fabulous experience you will ever have in the late autumn truffle treasure hunting experience at La Collina del Sole and you will have the added satisfaction of having worked out and found your own truly tantalizingly tasty truffle … LCDS Sunset pool square image

Well, well, well what do we have here …

CHESTNUTS  Lupinaia the village above La Collina del Sole is hosting  the Festa della Castagna  this weekend. The humble chestnut is responsible for keeping the populationFunghi by Alina  (6) alive in the area of Lucca Villa Rental during WWII as there was little else to eat. You can see the why in the Museo della Liberazione During WWII the chestnut trees of Garfagnana continued to yield their fruit. In order to eat the naturally sweet chestnut that continues to be so abundant in the woods above Holiday Villas in Lucca you first collect the chestnut or Castagne  then they are dried gently over a ”Metato” for 40 days. A metato is either a two tier rustic building erected during the chestnut harvest in the Apennine area where you find villas for rent in Tuscany  or sometimes the “metato” was an integral part of the house in the kitchen area which in the autumn and winter became View from La Collina del Sole a meeting place. Although nowadays when you rent a villa in Tuscany the most attractive feature is the scenery and sunspots a few decades ago the most inviting part of a home was the warm meeting place near the kitchen, where the chestnuts were placed to dry on reed scaffold or planks of wood or cane close to the kitchen hearth which ensured a constant heat. Not a normal feature nowadays in any of the villa rentals in Tuscany ! The chestnuts then dry up over 40 days in a gentle heat, once dried, the chestnuts were shelled with a vigorous beating that shredded theLa Collina del Sole in the EVENING light with Pool skin off nut shells inside sturdy bags. Nowadays  “metati” have disappeared as they have been transformed into storage rooms or large cupboards.From the Middle Ages until the present day, the chestnut has been central to the nourishment of mountain dwellers, as evidenced by the numerous laws over the centuries, for the protection and regulation of the exploitation of chestnut trees. The Statutes of Gavinana of 1540 for example stipulate that the chestnut harvest by the owner of the woods ends with the month of November, after which the poor could freely reap the remaining nuts.   Once dried the nuts would be taken to FOOD at La Collina del Sole the mill to be turned into chestnut flour, as this flower is naturally sweet there is little need for additional sweeteners and is made into fried tranches of chestnut flower or castagniaccio, which is chestnut flour mixed with water, rosemary, orange peel, pine nuts and walnuts, raisins, milk and olive oil. Chestnut flour was also used for bread and polenta. Chestnuts could also be either roasted and called necci or eaten boiled and called balucci.   Even the most mundane food when said in Italian has a special ring to it !

La Collina del Sole Sunset view in Winter (6)

Perfect Party Planning the Italian way!

Villa Collina Del Sole WED Mag Full Article. WEBSITECelebrating a significant birthday? Or wedding anniversary? Why not rent a villa in Tuscany ? you can invite a select group of friends to join you at your chosen villas for rent in Tuscany For example you can celebrate at La Collina del Sole and have every meal catered for with themed menus and have the housekeeping team decorate the table with sumptuous splendour.  Lucca Villa Rental specializes in making the most of your celebrations whenever the special date might be.Relax  … the hardest decision you will have to make is to select the La Collina del Sole  Evening lightguests who will join you,  and decide whcih bedroom you want from our floorplan on your holiday villas in Lucca the rest is as they say in Italy … FACILE.  With delicious local Prosecco and food to ENJOY you can sit, savour the view and while all the work is done for you … be merry.  You can even get married in the spacious Villa rentals in Tuscany with views that will make your wedding photos a delight to see again and again, you could also have your hen night here as suggested by Wedding Magazine.

For those who like to choose what they want and then relax while all is done for you we suggest you see the suggested menus and order to your hearts content, if you like to savour the local wine La Collina del Sole has its own organic wine which is delicious. For the celebrations that require themes we coLa Collina del Sole Wine Labeluld suggest you have the Pizza experience which has been loved by all the guests that stayed at La Collina del Sole  as you can read in the feedback

You could organize either beforehand or as the mood takes you Wine or / and Olive oil tasting sessions, with our concierge and discover ruined medieval fortresses in the places of interest around Lucca villa rental

For those who require serious exercise to celebrate what about a walk in the Apuane hills where Michael Angelo came to personally select each chunk of marble he required. There is a list of suggestions that you can consider each walk in the itinerary comes with a fuwalks Alpi apuanelly accredited guide.

For those whose Idea of heaven is to go shopping there are interesting food shops, and local handicraft shops including gilded frames in the area or you can visit Florence, the beautiful city of Fashion;  you are welcome to contact us for a list of tried and tested Florentine restaurants and boutiques

If you are of an academic bent then we could suggest you engage the services of our Italian language teacher an experience that A Feastwill help you all of your life,  and to add a sense of competition you could make the forfeit of the worst learner a meal in one of the fabulous restaurants in the area, or if you are felling charitable you could make the forfeit a round at the fabulous bars and gelaterias   For those who enjoy a bit of Va va Voom then an outing on your personal Ducati’s around the main roads in the valleys or the more sedate riding or mountain bike excursions in the chestnut hills surrounding La Collina del Sole all of these can be hired in the area Whatever the special date might be; consider making it a significant memory by sharing experiences with your nearest and dearest on a break you will never forget A LA ITALIANA ! GELATO ! ! ! by Rebecca Jensen

Food Fest with Funghi Porcini

Well it is official the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few!  And if you love Funghi Porcini  check Lucca Villa Rental as  La Collina del Sole is surrounded with this delicacy,Funghi by Alina  (2)  Funghi Porcini appear around the location of villa rentals in Tuscany and this year is a bumper crop! You can book your forestry guide for the experience of a lifetime foraging for Funghi Porcini at La Collina del Sole you can also read the feedback from past visitors who collected 3 kilos in one walk.  Funghi Porcini are a delicacy worldwide and are used in the local cuisine of Holiday villas in Lucca year round. Funghi Porcini appear approximately 10-12 days after rainfall when there has been gentle wind for the dissemination of the spores to take place. It is such a special experience to have in the autumn when you rent a villa in Tuscany that we highly recommend it ! Particularly if you are dreaming of a holiday around the special dates of September and October in a villas for rent in Tuscany alternatively you could find them at the local delicatessenAnd after you have found kilos and kilos full you will need to either preserve them by drying them or keeping them in oil as seen in the collinadelsolewordpress blog or cook them in as many ways as your palate will enjoy, the secret is to have a base that will absorb as much of the Funghi taste and aroma as possible like Polenta or pasta,  to help you on the way we share a few of our favourite recipes:

FARRO E FUNGHI or spelt with funghi porcini  for 4 people INGREDIENTSFunghi by Alina  (4) 300 grams of barley or spelt 300 grams of fresh Funghi Porcini 2 cloves of garlic Fresh parsley 6 tablespoons of olive oil salt and pepper 1/2 cup of dry white wine 2 ripe tomatoes Broth either vegetable or chicken 1 knob of butter 6 fresh mint leaves Clean the mushrooms and cut into small pieces, mix with the chopped garlic and parsley and place into a pan with the olive oil to brown. Add salt and pepper and leave it to cook for about 10 minutes having added the wine, allow the wine evaporate. Add the diced tomatoes, and allow the flavours to mix together as they cook for about 6 minutes then add the spelt or barley which has been properly cleaned , stir for 5 minutes then begin to pour in broth until fully cooked , which will be about 25 minutes. Finally in the last minute add the butter and mint leaves.

PAPPARDELLE AI FUNGHI  or “Butterfly” shaped pasta with Funghi Porcini for 6 People INGREDIENTS 400g Butterfly or “bow tie” shaped pastaFunghi by Alina  (1) 300 grams of funghi porcini 2 cloves of garlic 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil mint chopped 50 grams of grated Parmesan cheese Beef broth salt and pepper

Place the oil, garlic and chopped mint in a pan and fry, add the mushrooms well washed and cut into slices. Cook for a few minutes, add the broth, salt and pepper and let it evaporate over low heat. As you are cooking the funghi porcini boil the pasta in plenty of hot water, once cooked drain and dress with the funghi porcini sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. This shape of pasta is preferred for this recipe as the openness of the shape will allow a generous quantity of sauce to be on it and as it is eaten the pasta will be more exposed to the taste buds and hence intensifying the flavour of the funghi porcini.

AND in case you wanted an alternative way of preparing Funghi Porcini in oil here it is: INGREDIENTS Per kilo of mushrooms:Funghi by Alina  (3) 2 cups water 2 cups of wine vinegar salt peppercorns fresh herbs like thyme and parsley garlic extra virgin olive oil

Clean the mushrooms and cut into medium-sized chunks, boil the water and add the vinegar, salt and herbs. When the water re-boils put the mushrooms in and boil for 3 minutes. Strain the mushrooms and place them to dry on a cloth for one day. Put the mushrooms in glass jars with garlic, peppercorns and thyme then cover with extra virgin olive oil close the jars and keep them in a cool, dark place. BUON APETITO ! La Collina del Sole Sunset view in Winter (8)

Food Glorious Food ... a la Garfagnana

While staying at our favourite Lucca villa rental  called La Colina del Sole we were able to La Collina del Sole Party time  (4)buy home pressed olive oil “di frantoio” from friends of the cook who prepared meals for our  holiday villas in Lucca  Her homemade cooking as you can see from her suggested menu uses liberal quantities of olive oil so with the knowledge that olive oil is excellent for your health and memory… I asked for the recipes of her bruschetta and her farro  Delicacies that you must try when you rent a villa in Tuscany as they embody the Tuscan flavour you encounter when eating in at your villa rentals in Tuscany or enjoy the delights of the best regional restaurants near your villas for rent in Tuscany

The olive oil we bought has a strong sweet taste and a strong green colour, and the trick is to eat it raw to get the best out of its nutritional properties and its flavour.
To make the bruschetta use Italian bread, potato bread for preference that is one day old Vendemia Feastallow two slices per person. If you are serving 10 slices;  just before your guests arrive, finely chop some vine tomatoes [a heaped handful will do ] and with their juice soak them in a bowl with a least 5 tablespoons of the best olive oil, add a pinch of salt. ThBruschettaen peel garlic cloves, and rub one raw clove at a time over the surface of the slightly dry bread, one clove will cover the surface of 2 to 3 slices of bread. Finely chop at least 20 basil leaves and add to the tomato and olive oil mixture, ladle the chopped tomatoes and basil leaves onto the bread slices allowing the fresh tomato water and oil mixture to ooze through the bread and … Presto one very delicious antipasto served up !

To cook Farro or spelt in the traditional garfagnana way for at least 12 people, cook the spelt as you would rice, with 3 cups of good stock to one cup of spelt, fry the spelt gently in a tablespoon of olive oil [ not the Da GiaccoREALLY good freshly pressed olive oil but good extra virgin oil that has been kept out of the sunlight.] Fry the spelt in the hot oil until lightly golden add the three cups of boiling stock. Cook for about 15 minutes until most of the stock has been absorbed by the spelt, while it is cooking cut 5 to 8 vine tomatoes into rough cubes keeping the skin and all also finely chop at least 30 leaves of basil.  When the farro has finished cooking and is still warm add the tomatoes and basil and at least 4 generous tablespoons of the best olive oil. This dish can be eaten warm or cold and can be kept for at least 3 days in the cool part of the fridge.
Buon Apetito !
LCDS vineyard and pool view