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THE TALE (and some pics) OF THE PERFECT TUSCAN CHRISTMAS LUNCH

I'm writing a book (which has been published in the meantime). Hence I raise the word count by cutting down on aperitifs (not an easy feat in my Tuscan village), and I keep the storyline going by dodging invitations to Sunday lunch. But when I know that the table will look like this...

The table setting for a Tuscan Christmas lunch in the Chianti



and the food like this

Eggs poached in tomato sauce and Olivier salad

it's hard to resist...



Hence we drove to the Chianti and followed the crowd through the woods to jump into the midst of the clatter, chatter and laughter of a Tuscan Christmas gathering,

Tommy and Giulia serving the second course during a Tuscan Christmas lunch


The long table of a Tuscan Christmas lunch in the ChiantiA bottle of Chianti shared by the guests of a Tuscan Christmas gathering


which was cleverly interrupted by countryside walks to make sure there was room for more,

A group of people walking on a trail through the woods in the Chianti
until - inevitably - the moment arrived, when all the plates were licked and the last bottle of Chianti was emptied and it was time to go home (you said you drive, right?). 

Empty bottles and wine glasses on a decorated table in the Chianti





















INGREDIENTS FOR A TUSCAN GATHERING

Lunch was organized by Emiko Davies and Giulia from Juls' Kitchen, who with the help of their respective partners put together a fabulous Christmas menu. Wines were served by Sarah Fioroni from San Gimignano's Fattoria Poggio all'Oro

Good chats were had with lots of people, but I drunk too much to remember all of them - (Sarah thanks for filling up my glass! But through the mist I definitely remember having met the owners of some fabulous B&Bs and agriturismi in Tuscany and Rome - they obviously managed to leave a vivid impression. 
  • Irene Berni and Paolo from the incredibly stylish Val di Rose near Florence
  • Luisa and Matthias from the ideally located Agriturismo Il Rigo in the midst of Val d'Orcia
  • Linda and Steve from The Beehive, my favorite B&B and hostel in Rome 
  • and Molly McIlwrath - no accommodation here, but plenty of useful Tuscany based information (I've alreday told you about Molly in my article about family tours in Florence)
All of this took place in the fairytale location of la Selva giardino del Belvedere, which - like B&B Val di Rose and Il Rigo mentioned above - is not just a great venue for a festive lunch but also for a romantic wedding in Tuscany. For the recipes don't ask me (no hope there) but find all the details needed to create the perfect porcini polenta or fig filled panforte on Emiko's and Giulia's blogs.

Two bowls in front of the fire in a traditional Tuscan ovenA contemporary amphitheater in the Tuscan woodsThe heavenly swings at la SelvaCandles and quinces on top of the fireplace

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