Tuscany - the fifth largest region in Italy - is blessed with mountains, rolling hills, historical vineyards and one of the countries longest coasts with beautiful beaches. With centuries of history, from the Etruscans to the Romans and the Renaissance from the 1300's, Florence and Tuscany were the birthplace of many talented and innovative geniuses' such as Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Dante. However, it is not just the history and culture which attract millions of visitors to Florence and Tuscany each year. The region is also internationally famous for its food and wine. The ideal climate and environmental conditions have allowed the Tuscans, over the centuries, to acquire and develop a culture in the production of some of the country's finest gastronomic delicacies. The beauty of the countryside and the guarantee of tasting some delicious local cuisine and wines make for a wonderful and memorable experience! Florentine Les Clefs d'Or Concierges, with their knowledge of the territory and friendly relationships with local producers, are the experts in arranging private gastronomic tours for their guests, one of the most popular being to the beautiful Chianti region, situated between Florence and Siena. Here can be found a multitude of different producers of hams, cheeses, olive oil and of course wine. So, let's start a daytrip to enjoy an amazing food & wine experience around Florence. Leaving in the morning, head to the Fattoria di Maiano, in Fiesole, a large ancient property committed to the production of excellent olive oil, operated under the certification of the "Laudemio" method. The 75 hectares property, inaugurated in 1893 by Queen Victoria, boasts 20,000 olive trees and - to the delight of children - friendly farm animals. Taskings of their selection of olive oils are held, always accompanied by homemade bread. Ten minutes from Fattoria di Maiano we can then reach the "Saltapoggio farm", a very small bio production of two different olive oils and a top-quality selection of mono-floral and multi-flower honey. The business is run by Edo - a local young farmer - truly passionate about nature. Following a walk with Edo through the olive trees and learning about the production of the oils and honey, you will enjoy a tasting of his delicious products! Leaving Fiesole, we head north-east for 20 minutes into the "Chianti Colli Fiorentini" area, where we reach "Poggio La Noce", located in Montebeni. Here the charming couple, Enzo and Chiara, have dedicated their lives working the incredibly fertile soil, so rich in minerals and perfectly exposed to the sun, allowing them to produce a bit of everything! The wine production is truly amazing, consisting of 4 different red (mainly Sangiovese grapes), one rosé and one white wine. Also, they produce grappa and a flavorful Vin Santo, the typical Tuscan liquor to drink after your meal. The couple live on the property and, as it is time, we can stop here for a typical Tuscan lunch combined with some wine tasting of course! Chiara grows an astonishing selection of vegetables and homemade bread is baked daily. As the morning has taken us around Fiesole and Florence it is now time to head south into the Chianti. Our first stop, after scenic 45 minutes-drive, is the village of Badia a Passignano, one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages in the region. Dominated by the 10th century San Michele Abbey (where a quick visit is suggested), the village is situated on top of a hill and is surrounded the vineyards belonging to one of the world's most historical wine producing families, the Antinori Family. Here you will find the Michelin-starred restaurant "Osteria di Passignano" and its iconic manager, Marcello who with its team will escort you to visit the ancient cellars beneath the Abbey. This incredible experience is a must do, both for a privilege of visiting noble cellars dating back the 10th century as well as the excellence of the wines that you will taste. A few names will help to give example: Tignanello, Pian delle Vigne, Solaia & Guado al Tasso to name a few! Since the afternoon had us busy with such a unique great wine tasting experience, it is proper that we stop, on the way back to Florence to stop an afternoon snack! So back in the car, we will head east and drive through the beautiful countryside to the medieval village of Greve in Chianti. Here in the main square we can find the gastronomic boutique "Antica Macelleria Falorni", founded in 1844 and known as the oldest cold-cuts shop in Tuscany. The Falorni family offers not only an excellent selection of meat, prosciutto and salamis but also a large selection of local cheeses. This is the perfect place to sit for a quick bite, outside in Greve's main square. Falorni also vacuum pack their products, which make ideal gifts (or perhaps for a sneaky midnight snack back at the hotel!). This itinerary will allow you to discover the wonderful countryside, meet some of the locals and experience some fine Tuscan food and wines. Your Les Clefs d'Or Concierge in Florence will make sure that your day out will be enjoyable and memorable - and make your friends so envious that they will put Florence and Tuscany on top of their wish list!
Adriano Pecoraro & Paul Lydka