All of us have a meal that stands out in our memory for years after the actual occasion. Perhaps we have several that might vie for first place in that category. Mine happened in late September 2008. My husband and I were on a week’s tour (for three people, including us) of Tuscany. We were headed to a walled town in the foothills for the day and it was approaching lunchtime. Rita, our tour guide, was driving and she suddenly pulled off into a farmyard. We stepped out of the van to be introduced to the owner and his wife of the farm. The husband and his brother were in the midst of their grape harvest so he excused himself to go back to his work as rain was threatening even though it was sunny and warm at the moment. His wife invited us to sit down at a large picnic table covered with a tablecloth that was under some tall cypress trees. Then she and Rita brought out our lunch. Everything had been produced on their farm. Luscious, pink prosciutto, golden olive oil, homemade bread rubbed with garlic and tomatoes, ruby red wine made from their grapes. Truly a feast fit for the gods. It was a simple meal in a simple setting under the trees that are a symbol of Tuscany.

After lunch we went out to the vineyard to see the beautiful red grapes hanging in clusters among the green leaves and watch the owner and his brother cut the grapes and put them in large baskets.

It would probably be another month before their olives would be ready for harvesting and pressing. We were sorry to miss that process.

With a hug and a big “Grazie” to our hostess we were on our way to the walled town with the pleasant sensation of having been the recipients of some exceptional Italian hospitality.

Of all the wonderful meals and great wines we had on that trip, this was the most outstanding.



Tuscany with friends
CelebrationZoe Bartlett