Sunday, February 1, 2009

An Italian agriturismo

I have been wanting to go to an authentic Italian agriturismo for dinner since we got to Italy. And on Friday night I finally had my chance. My Italian friend Viviana from my local coffee shop organised a group of us to visit her friend's property, Villa Cristina, for dinner 60 km's north of Florence. I can't seem to find a direct translation of agriturismo into English, but basically it's like a homestay property and usually in an old style Italian villa.

As soon as we got there and I saw the table, I knew I should not have worn my jeans and opted for tracksuit pants instead. Or a loose skirt. I suddenly had the urge to un-do my jeans button in preparation of what was to come.

We started off with antipasto of crostini with porcini mushroom, fresh proscuitto, fried bread dough, pate crostini and blue cheese tart. If I know I am dying and have to have one more meal before I die I will request Cristina's porcini mushroom crostini. And until I tasted her secret recipe, my last meal was always going to be a Polish meal. Yes, that's how much I love food. I have already planned my last meal, although with some good luck and health my last meal will hopefully be when I'm 90 and will have to be puree'd pumpkin soup.

I was too busy stuffing my face with the primi (first course) to take a photo of it. It was a wild boar pasta that again was delizioso. Then followed the main dish which after much debate and translation was determined to be wild deer. Again it was amazing and was a perfect combination to the red wine.

Over dinner we all compared stories of our lives which is my most favourite thing to do when meeting new people. Here are some of the ladies in our group...I have no idea why my husband looks so happy in this photo?

We were from all parts of the world including Italy, Australia, Poland, Austria, Albania, Romania, Germany and India. All of us were invited by the staff that work at the Golden View Bar - the coffee shop I go to every morning for my breakfast. All of us have been going to the Golden View Bar for coffee every day for some time and without doubt, we have been there at the same time. So now, we will have an excuse to share our coffee and breakfasts together and remember what a great night we had on Friday.

Who would have thought that going to the same coffee shop every morning would end up in me tasting my most delicous meal in Italy to date. Not to mention that it also ended up in us making some wonderful new friends.


erin :: the olive notes said...

i just got through looking at these photos on facebook! it looks like you had a fantastic time :) the porcini crostini sound amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

Everything just looked so delicious!! Have wild boar and deer sounds very interestijng but it sounds like they cooked everything to perfection! The photos look like they belong in a recipe book. xx

Welsh Girl said...

Oh my god - that all looks so delicious, particularly if you are me and have been snowbound for a week! I'm moving to Italy. Well, as soon as I can get off my mountain anyway.

larissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
larissa said...

Hi Monika ! my name is Larissa Zverchkhovaskaia.
I am an official tourist guide, in Italian and Russianmy mother language, ( I don't feel enough confortable with English yet), for the two most beautiful provinces of Tuscany: Florence and Siena.

My companion Stefano ( that by the way has traveleld in Australia many times nad fall in love with it ), as a pure Florentine, would say " But what are you saying? Florence and Siena are simply the most beautiful provinces of the world". As there is so much to see and do, it took me some time to realize it, but now I definitely agree with him. I still remember my first vision of Florence's Duomo: we were riding on a Vespa 50 and I was sitting behind, all of a sudden, as we rounded the next corner, it stood in front of us in all its magnificence, I just fell in love!!! In my site ( always under construction) you can find a lot of information and photos about Florence and Siena, I hope you enjoy them. Of course, I will be more than happy to tell you all about the history, the traditions, the people and their customs, and guide you through these two marvelous territories, If You feel like we could exchange Italian for English ( what about Russian?) lessons. A spectacular 2/3 days journey : heading down from Florence to Siena you may travel through Chianti and Val d'Orcia and come upon a lot of minor but very famous cities like San Gimignano, Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano and also an incredible number of well hidden treasures, not to mention the food and the wine that go hand in hand with them! I'm looking forward to have you visiting my site (critics are very welcome):

Anonymous said...

mmmm I love those sorts of meals!

You guys are such an attractive couple...sorry if I make you blush :-)

also, the best meal of my life was also in Florence at a restaurant in the city center called Il Latini (closed on mondays)! There are no reservations, instead the doors open at 7pm (around the time you should get there) and there'll be a huge line outside the door the entire evening!

Before you leave YOU HAVE TO GO!!!!

ShawnaHanna said...

You two make me want to travel even more! You just make it sound worth going if only to try the food. Just a far you from Rome or Milan?

Chef Chuck said...

Thanks for sharing that food experience, That looks and sounds great!

Monika said...

Hi Erin,
I can't describe how good the crostini where! Please come back and I'll prove it to you by taking you there!

Welsh Girl: I saw you are snowbound - amazing! We don't get snow in Florence.

Ciao Larissa, I'll be sure to visit your site soon

Eryn: My husband has been there for a work do and he really liked it too. I wan to go sometime :) Also, thanks for the compliment but I think the same for you and your husband! (and doggie!)

Shawna Hanna: ciao! We are about 1.5 hrs on the fast train from Rome and about 3 (I think?) from Milano. Are you coming to visit?

Chef Chuck: I loved the food as it was dishes that I wouldn't cook at home (ie deer). I hate going out to a restaurant where I eat things that I can easily make at home :O)

ShawnaHanna said...

I can't even begin to tell you how much I would love to visit, but sadly no I will not be able to. All of our money has to go into our desert of a backyard right now. No traveling pour moi! :(

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi I don't know how I missed this post!! I had Rabbit with pasta when in was delicious!!!