Out of Florence so far we had traveled southeast and southwest. Today we took the faster freeway route northeast to our destination of Rufina. Along the way we saw our first artichoke fields. I could live the rest of my life on an artichoke menu. Well maybe add a little ciabatta bread dipped in olive oil to go along with it.
When we got to the back roads we saw "watch for cows" signs. Another one pointed you toward a town named Beverly Hills!! Yet another exit led you to Marignolle. We really wanted to make that turn-off. At home in our kitchen we have this wall art with an early view of an olive orchard from that very town. We knew it was a real place, but never thought to visit there. Alas, it was not on our itinerary.
After our lesson we tasted four lovely wines: a 2011 Chardonnay and a range of three chiantis from 2009. Here on the farm they also produce acacia and chestnut honey and olive oil for sale.
Here you will also find rooms, apartments, and houses to let if you are seeking a more pastoral place to lay your head at night. There is also a restaurant where we would eat our last meal of the culinary tour together. Here is brother Cesare with Chef Alberto Busetto holding his darling little pup Ugo (maybe Hugo in English?). I'm so sorry I don't remember the lady's name. Cesare look dapper in his Ferragamo suit and bright smile.
Meat was the highlight here, yet they took good of me with my veggie lifestyle. The menu consisted of: 1) crostini of various meats including salami, prosciutto, capocolla, chicken liver pate, and fresh pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese, plus a tomato bruschetta for me; 2) ‘little rags’ of egg pasta with sausage, wild fennel, and pecorino; 3) grilled strip steak served sliced with porcini mushrooms with oven roasted potatoes; 4) for me a variety platter of tasty veggie concoctions including broccoli soufflé; and 5) profiterole dessert (pastry puffs with custard and chocolate) and espresso.
We took a little walk down the roadway to survey the panoramic view one last time, and then reluctantly turned back toward Florence.