Slow Food in Tuscany

September 18, 2012  |  Food & Wine

The Slow Food movement has many adepts in Tuscany and one of them is certainly Villa le Barone!

Launched in Italy by Carlo Petrini  in 1986  in reaction to the  emergence of the “Fast food “  and  “malbouffe (poor eating)”, the Slow  Food movement has become international and aims at promoting the pleasure of good authentic food  and traditional  regional cuisine, using fresh products  locally sourced .  Tuscan cuisine is characterized by its extreme simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients (olive oil, fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, cereals).  It is, as all Mediterranean cuisine very light. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Dishes and recipes are often the creation of grandmothers rather than of chefs, which makes many recipes ideally suited for home cooking.
This is the traditional and authentic cuisine, which responds to all the criteria of the Slow Food art of cooking, that our two Tuscan cooks, Fernanda and Edi prepare at Villa le Barone. In our restaurant, meat and extra virgin olive oil, labeled “Agriqualità”, come straight from our farm. Pecorino cheese comes from a traditional shepherd  (also close to our farm), vegetables and fruit are in season and are sourced as close as possible to Villa le Barone and chosen to have taste  (some vegetables come from our own garden).  Fernanda and Edi serve almost only local recipes: Ribollita (bread, beans and tasty vegetables thick soup), Peposo (a peppery stew, the recipe of which dates back to the Renaissance), Stracotto (meat slowly cooked in Chianti wine), Baccalà (salted stockfish cooked with tomato)… and a great variety of pasta dishes which are the highlight of Tuscan dinners (the pasta we serve, also “Agroqualita”, comes from durum wheat grown in Tuscany). Our menus change every night, are prepared according to the season and are studied to be healthy and varied. For example, last week, we have been serving ‘tagliatelle’ with fresh figs from our garden, Tuscan ham and olives,  our homemade jam was prepared with plums from our orchard , and the “schiacciata all ‘uva” was prepared with our grapes. Our two cooks prepare the dishes we serve with their professionalism and love. They are a repository of Tuscan cooking know how… but they are not knowledgeable of fancy contemporary or molecular cuisine.
In addition to advocating taking time to savor meals, the Slow Food movement also pleads for the pleasure of taking time to dream, to enjoy the perfumes of nature, to listen to birds’ songs…
In the middle of a busy and stressful year, take the time for a Slow Food escape in Tuscany, savor the pleasures of food in a peaceful environment and enjoy a journey in the taste of the authentic.


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