Organic food in Tuscany

Jujube fruits at Villa le Barone Panzano in Chianti
Jujube fruits at Villa le Barone Panzano in Chianti

Do you wish to taste organic food and seasonal food in Tuscany? At Villa le Barone we serve organic food, with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables: in early spring, we had the cherries. In summer, we have made our jam with the apricots and the plums produced in Villa le Barone.

Soon the quinces will be mature and we will make the jelly!

Did you know that in Greek mythology, the “golden apple” Paris gave to the goddess Aphrodite (in return for the love of Helen, ‘the most beautiful woman in the world ‘) and which sparked the Trojan War, is thought to be a quince, and not an apple? We have brought back from our organic farm the savory “beefsteak tomatoes” (cuore di bue), as well as the delectable “Muscat Hambourg” grape, a black grape known for its sweet flavor, its smooth texture and musky taste. It also makes exquisite pies!

Soon we will be able to crop the white grape “Dattier de Beyrouth”. There are still some peaches with which we are making our own sherbets. Figs are beginning to ripen… and some guests like to pick them up on the tree! In our orchard, we also have hazels, medlar, kakis, and ”jujube”, a very ancient shrub tree coming from south Asia, with thorny branches, that produces fruits looking similar to an olive pit! And we have, in our farm as well as in Villa le Barone, many olive trees, allowing us to produce an extra virgin olive oil that benefit from the ecolabel “Agriqualità”.

In Villa le Barone’s vegetable garden we have some salads, kale to make the delicious “ribolitta”, beautiful pumpkins, and all the aromatic herbs necessary for cooking: various species of sage, rosemary, thyme, laurel… The organic food served in our restaurant is genuine and delicious! It is “slow food”!

The long history of sun umbrellas

Infinity pool with sun umbrellas at Villa le Barone Tuscany
Infinity pool with sun umbrellas at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Sun umbrellas, which you find today by the swimming pools, terraces or gardens have a long history.

Sign of high rank and honor, they were reserved for the use of great personages. On Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian and Indian sculptures and paintings, domestic servants protect their sovereign from the sun with an umbrella. In Assyria, only the king had the right to possess one. It was in the 16th century that Catherine de Medicis introduced in France the sun umbrella as a symbol of femininity. At the King of France’s court, when walking in the gardens, the courtesans protect themselves from the sun with their sun umbrellas. Keeping a fair complexion is a sign of wealth and superiority. In 1820, the wave of sea baths was reserved for a handful of privileged people. Young ladies had to keep a complexion of porcelain, and were hiding under large umbrellas, as can be seen in many impressionist paintings.

Sun umbrellas welcoming guests at Villa le Barone Tuscany
Sun umbrellas welcoming guests at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Only in the middle of the 20th century, when the paid holidays are established and sea baths democratized, sun umbrellas are invading the beaches and become more affordable. Usually with white and blue stripes and fringes, they are bought in drugstore or in shops selling beach articles. Today the manufacture of umbrellas has become industrialized, although in Italy there are still many artisans who produce them. At Villa le Barone, the yellow umbrellas on the terrace in front of the entrance are our signature and welcome Villa le Barone’s guests. Then can afterwards relax by our infinity pool and admire the Chianti magnificent landscape under the shade of traditional white and blue or large unbleached umbrellas.

Green facades and green walls in Chianti

Green wall and Terrace at Villa le Barone
Green wall and Terrace at Villa le Barone

Green facades and green walls are trendy … and Villa le Barone follows this trend with its green facade of jasmine and Virginia creeper. It gives charm to our historic Villa, but it has also many advantages: it provides insulation, it changes with the seasons, it hosts birds and butterflies…

Many architects are now designing green buildings with green walls, green facades… Certainly at our Villa we cannot compete with them, but we have a beautiful green façade that welcomes guests, accentuating the green side of our hotel! The “Granaio” or the “Garden house”, parts of the Villa, are also covered with Virginia creeper and jasmine. And these green walls are not only aesthetic, they help insulate the Villa, preserving from the heat, therefore contributing to energy savings and furthermore absorbing greenhouses gases! They also change color with the seasons, from the light spring green to the dark summer green to the flamboyant red in autumn. In spring, the fragrance of the jasmine is a delight. And green facades also bring a soothing note: green walls allow to hear the sound of the wind in the leaves, the song of the birds, and to see the butterflies twirling… The quietness of the terrace in front of the green facade is only disturbed by the gurgle of the fountain.