Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Finally the Tuscany we know and love is showing it's sunshine face! The season here is behind 2 or 3 weeks so the flowers and vines are small but as the days warm you can see them getting ready to burst. I managed to find a couple of poppies that were courageous enough to come out in spite of the weather and unseasonal temperatures.
Fortunately the weather has not affected the wonderful flavors of the fruits, vegetables and the wild herbs we use. We have been able to pick Tabi which is a vine that grows wild and wraps itself around berry bushes. When blanched and sauteed with garlic is very green and a bit bitter, delicious on crostini.
One of the things I love about being here is the smell in the air. Now the acacia trees are in full bloom and the trees are fecund with luscious, sweet smelling flowers that I associate with honey. I made a frittata with the flowers and it was heavenly and aromatic. We don't waste a thing here in Toscana!

Friday, April 30, 2010

We are in full gear to embark on our 15th season of adventures and workshops in Italy!
Spring is showing it's face here in NYC but is in full bloom in Tuscany. I can't wait to see where we will find the most beautiful field of poppies for our painters or if they still have agretti (a vegetable that looks like chives but tastes like spinach) at the market. We have decent attendance in the workshops this season even with the turbulent economy....I think people's passion for travel, art and culture can no longer be put on hold. This is a good thing because the rewards of following one's passions far exceeds the cost. That's how this Il Chiostro adventure began in the first place. So as I begin thinking about packing my bags for the next 65 days I am wondering how many interesting folks will come through the gates of The Tuscan Renaissance Center and how many new friends we will make.