Thursday, April 30, 2015

Walking from Radda to Volpaia

Cross-country Commandoes

our goal: the hill town of Volpaia, as seen from the hill town of Radda in Chianti. Volpaia is the cluster of buildings just visible below the skyline slightly right of centre.
Our guidebook Walking and Eating in Chianti* is 10 years old, but we depart Radda confident in the knowledge that Volpaia will be visible from most of the route: we can overcome any potential problems 'navigating by sight'.

Leaving Radda is easy enough, the guide's description extremely precise. It is a perfect day for a walk, warm but with a breeze, sunny but with occasional clouds.
The way is lined with grassy olive groves dotted with wildflowers

Monday, April 27, 2015

Wild herbs and weeds for lunch

Country lore and the table

The 4th Sunday of every month a small organic market is held at Greve in Chianti where almost all the produce is local. The market is called Il Pagliaio which literally means straw rick or stack.

Fresh bread and other baked goods, herbs and spices, preserves and jams, cheeses, wine and oil are all on sale. One or two stalls also sell their farm-grown vegetables. And one stall in particular, run by two soft-spoken farmers, husband and wife, specializes in fresh herbs and edible 'weeds' gathered in the countryside. 
strigoli, clematis vitalba sprouts and wild asparagus

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Report

abundant clematis armandii: and the perfume!
It may seem trite, but the joys of spring, the return of vitality to our world never cease to delight. A small record of it seemed in order. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chamois of the Alps in Chianti

On Goats and Cheese at 
Podere Le Fornaci

first glimpse of Podere Le Fornaci from a cypress-lined avenue which leads to Villa Calcinaia and Podere Le Fornaci
Since the year 2000, 30 hectares of farmland just north of Greve in Chianti have been home to an increasingly large herd of chamois goats. 
the podere (Tuscan name for farm) with its goat huts below the hills

the farm from near the river flats where a large basin (right) has been created to collect floodwater from the Greve river; otherwise it is used for grazing

the younger of the only two billy goats at the farm; the beard and the thicker horns are the giveaway. This individual is one year old; his name is Canederlo; the older one is called Elvis