Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Olive oil mill visit and Masseto farmhouse cooking class

The second day in the Chianti region was very relaxed.  First we visited an olive oil mill, which is a lot more high tech than what I once saw a mill in Spain...  Emanuele gave us a very detailed tour and olive oil taste test:
Now I know that the olive oil harvested in October has higher anti-oxidant content than that from November.  And one should only buy extra virgin oil, period!

The Masseto farmhouse is managed by Paola and her two daughters, Federice and Nicoletta. It is very charming and sits in the middle of the countryside.

 In the dining room, they have a huge fireplace, which kept us so warm.
 Paola is a very gracious old lady and speaks excellent English.  She had cooked a chick pea soup already, but was ready to make another batch from the scratch just so we could have some hands on practice:

 The final soup has some whole pieces of peas floating in a thick pea paste/sauce.  Delicious!
Nicoletta demonstrated how to make the appetizer:  Italian sausage and cheese toast (bread were toasted first, then layered with the sausage cheese mixture, baked at 180 C until done); and a chicken ham rolls (very thin slices of chicken and ham rolled together and tied by a tooth pick, then pan fried)
The dessert was pineapple tiramisu done by Ferderice

Paola also showed their apartments for rent to vacationers.  I thought that Ed would probably enjoy staying here, and venture out to the countryside via biking or hiking.
After a long lingering at the farm house, we finally said good-bye to our hostess.  It was indeed a very enjoyable visit.
We then did a bit hiking again along part of the pilgrims route, and arrived the Castle of Monteriggioni, built in 1213 by people from Siena.  It was overtaken by Florentines in 1553.  The historical fights among citi states seem to still left people to hold some grudges. even today, even after the unification.
The whole castle has just about one main street, and some old stone houses.


 The historical hostel for pilgrimages.
 We returned to the villa, and had the last dinner in the place.  The chocolate dessert was simply to die for.  The thick warm chocolate sauce just oozed out as one cut open the piece.

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