Lucca villa rental

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

Make the world better with a sweater…

Christmas JumpersItaly has launched a global campaign promoting wool, inspired by the "Live naturally, choose wool" moto. In these winter months, villa rentals in Tuscany can get fresh so… what better way to keep warm in your Lucca villa rental than a beautiful hand knitted woollen sweater, like the ones you get in Marias shop just down the road from La Collina del Sole where the sweater will be made for you within a couple of days - another unique experience and service when you rent a villa in Tuscany !! At La Collina del Sole a warm and welcoming addition to villas for rent in Tuscany skiing is just 1 ½ hour away, a visit to the sea shore is the same distance, and Milan well ... that is just over 3 hours - hence it is perfectly placed as a holiday villas in Lucca to enjoy Tuscany in all its natural splendour.Italians are promoting wool as a natural, biodegradable and renewable fibre, launched in Milan, the celebrations have united the textile community, the fashion industry and consumers all together for the first time. A flock of traditional Italian sheep were left grazing in a pen in front of the Duomo to highlight the natural origin of wool and offer consumers an unexpected wool experience. This campaign for the promotion of wool has caught the attention of Italians because, as the Prince of Wales explains: "You do not have to look too far back in history to see that wool was once the mainstay of the global economy. In recent years however, wool has been fighting to compete with man-made fibres. For too long we have managed to forget what a wonderful fibre wool is. Wool is empowered with exceptional natural elasticity so not only will a wool garment offer superior drape and handle, this elasticity also gives the wearer a durable and high quality garment that will last for many years. - Simply put, wool looks good for longer! One of the highlighted aspects of wool was the natural beauty of Merino wool. The Merino is an economically influential breed of sheep prized for its wool as the Merinos are still regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep. Although ‘fluffy’ in appearance, the fibres of a merino wool product are lighter than any other sheep’s wool, reducing the scratchy, heavy sensation that many people associate with a thick woollen jumpers. Therefore merino wool can be spun into a huge snuggly jumper or for “next to the skin” clothing such as socks, and underwear. Italians have a mission to convince consumers that opting for wool as opposed to synthetics in fashion and lifestyle will make a positive contribution to environmental sustainability around the world - give me the opportunity to snuggle up in a Marino wool jumper in front of the fire at La Collina del Sole with a cup of hot cocoa and I am sold!

Old wines and friends improve with age...

Lady drinking wineItaly varies widely when it comes to climate and terrain. The northern regions have very hot summers and super-cold winters and are therefore excellent for villa rentals in Tuscany . At La Collina del Sole set in the middle of a stunning vineyard, overlooking the Carrara mountain hills, luscious grapes ripen gently near the award winning infinity pool and produce the organic wine given to each guest… Rather a treat when you rent a villa in Tuscany ! This Lucca villa rental also offers a once in a lifetime experience which consists of joining the vendemmia during the wine harvest. You could be part of the team, pick some of these glorious Sangiovese grapes and be involved in the wine production. The vendemmia usually takes place in September or early October and gets booked up so if this is an experience you would enjoy while appreciating your holiday villas in Lucca It is best to contact the owners in good time for rather a special vedemmia instruction while you stay at villas for rent in Tuscany Italian wines are world renown:Tuscany is the most enduringly famous of all Italian wine regions, thanks to the romantic glamor of its endless rolling hills, snaking country roads and hilltop villages. Tuscan wines have a fantastic reputation founded on such iconic wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Factors that contribute to this ideal environment for the cultivation of grapes are the coastal and mountain climates, the mixture of well-drained and dry soils and the moderately hilly terrain extending towards the Apennine Mountains, which collectively help maintain the grape’s balance of sugars, acidity and aromatic qualities. The Sangiovese is a red grape that particularly thrives on these Tuscan hillside vineyards, performing best in direct sunlight. Another Tuscan treasure is the notable sweet red wine called Elba Aleatico Passito, which features the Aleatico grape. As well as being famed for its reds, Tuscany produces some distinguished whites such as the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Tuscany is also home to the renowned dessert wine Vin Santo – “holy wine”. It is called “holy wine” because it is usually comprised of the Trebbiano grape which has been air-dried until the start of Holy Week before being produced into wine. In the north of Italy the high altitude vineyards near the Alps produce wines with a high degree of acidity and freshness, due to the huge fluctuation in temperature from day to night. As you travel southwards the Mediterranean Sea becomes the principal influence on agricultural regions, the winters are mild and the summers are hot and dry creating a ripe, lush wine crop. Whichever is your favourite tipple … Salute !

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

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 !

Beauty - without and within

I don’t know about you, but all the delicious food and drink that I had over the Christmas period at La Collina del Sole the Lucca villa rental we stayed at during the festive season; where a home cooked feast from the suggested menu at the villa handbook was as easy as la collina del sole terrace for feasting !calling and waiting for it to be delivered and served.  The extra kilos… yes kilos that were gained, despite the fabulous walks we had in the local places of interest  coupled with the cold and rainy weather in England where I am writing from,  has set me on a path to exercise and healthy eating which is easily kept up when you rent a villa in Tuscany as restaurants and food shops are bursting with fresh produce that comes from the area around villa rentals in Tuscany  For recreation you can rent bikes to enjoy the hilly countryside - nothing quite like going up and down scenic mountain ranges  near holiday villas in Lucca to get the heart beating and blood pumping !  So as you prepare to be stunningly healthy and fit by the time you enjoySan Pellegrino from La Collina del Sole your holiday in villas for rent in Tuscany  Let me whet your appetite with suggested activities that you can do to continue feeling and looking  great at La Collina del SoleFirst of all there is a comprehensive list of ONLY at La Collina del Sole and once in a lifetime experiences  A fabulous range of suggested walks in the recreation section of Lucca villa rental to say nothing of the salt water infinity pool one of the many facilities of the villa where to get fit is a pleasure. There is one thing you have not heard us speak about before and that is a line of beauty products which are made LOCALLY with 100% natural ingredients and no chemicals, these products are cruelty free and are vegan…interested???Natural Lip Balms

Ask our concierge where you can access these healthy and exotic delights such as NATURAL LIP BALM: This lip balm is made with honey, olive oil and beeswax or in the dark chocolate  version for some colour … and great taste!  All the ingredients are completely edible and they have high moisturising properties. They don't contain any chemical ingredients and will naturally last in a storage jar for up to a year, and on the lips…well that is up to you!

And how about the best ally in the kitchen that heals burns quickly andSaint johns wart flowersIMG_7695 perfectly. It is the… SAINT JOHN'S WORT FLOWER OIL INFUSION: made from St John’s Wort flowers also known as Hypericum perforatum which grow spontaneously and abundantly in the locality of Lucca villa rental these flowers are well known for their antidepressant properties - that is why you hardly ever see a depressed Italian!  St John’s Wort flowers within an infusion heal burn scars very quickly and well, The infusion is locally made following an ancient recipe with St John’s Wort flowers and olive oil. The secret in making it is that the flowers must be collected on … Saint John's day ! and then put in a jar in the sun with olive oil for two weeks. This will turn the olive oil into a deep red colour. The St John’s Wort flower infusion has been used for centuries for its healing properties specifically for burns and scars. It is a great ally in the kitchen as if it is rubbed on the skin as soon as you burn any part of the body, it will naturally heal the burn very quickly. So get healthy and beautiful … and join us at La Collina del Sole ! LCDS SUNSET winter Composite