Posts Tagged ‘Porcini’

Welcome and Benvenuti to All my Lovely Followers around the World,

It’s been a very busy week here on the edge of Chianti in our little bit of beautiful Tuscany. We are surrounded by vineyards and it is the middle of La Vendemmia (Grape Harvest) when all the existing squeaky tractors and clanging trailers are hurtling along the track like there’s no tomorrow. To add to the traffic chaos, the main road is closed for repair between Certaldo and Fiano, so most vehicles are following our track and taking the country route. This then also creates a hell of a lot of dust! But things will quieten down later today as rain and wind is forecast; mind you, although not good for the harvest, the land and gardens could certainly do with some heavy showers. But we don’t care about all that, life eeez good, life eeez now!

Meanwhile, we can enjoy the fruits of the woods and trees in the shape of Figs and Porcini Mushrooms. Both are two of my favourite locally grown indulgences. Autumn is definitely peeking through and hopefully Tartufo Bianco (white truffles) will be on the menu soon. The local truffle hunters and their clever dogs know the exact weather conditions and the secret locations for successful hunts.

Now, you may remember that the Commune di Certaldo holds an event called the Calambur every September and our local village of Fiano is represented by Rione Le Fonte, a bunch of very enthusiastic athletic and bright people dressed in red and white. So last Sunday was a day of races and intelligence tests and all four teams tried their very best to win. Then when the winners were announced as our team, for the second year running, everyone jumped around whooping and cheering waving the coveted banner in the air. So well done again to the guys and gals of Rione Le Fonte!

Now it’s rare for me to promote the work of another writer. However, this one is a lovely friend, is Italian and is called Rita (Carla) Francesca Monticelli. She has just published a hard back English version of her thriller Kindred Intentions and it would make a great Christmas present for your thriller loving friends and family. I love her books. Go to her Amazon link https://mybook.to/intentionsHB/opt/1

Well, time to think about lunch. I’ll go check the fridge out!

Have a great week, do drop me a line at june.finnigan0@gmail.com or visit my website at http://www.junefinnigan.website

Salute June x


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Back to Blogging in Beautiful Tuscany

Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Sunday – Are you still out there? I do hope so, it’s been a while since I last wrote to you. A year’s recovery from a fall is no joking matter, but I was pretty legless for a while!

But I am so happy to be inspired to write again and to send you updates from our lovely little bit of Chianti. We have just come back from morning Coffee in Fiano and things are pretty much back to the way things were before Covid kicked in. It is uplifting to be greeted by the same old faces and some new baby ones too. And, the weather has taken a turn for the better; the air is fresher and cooler after a drop of rain a couple of days ago. It feels like we are breathing in oxygen again!

You may be aware that The Rock Chick Band and I performed our 10th annual Rock Concert at the end of June, which was a big break through for me and a joyous reunion of the band and our wonderful guests. Great music, food and wine. I can honestly say it was a fabulous occasion and probably the best one so far. Make sure you diary date to be here next year on the 16th June. Send me your email address if you are not already on our guest list.

We have also returned to C’era Una Volta restaurant and usually twice a week. Paolo and Gaia provide good traditional Tuscan food and are conveniently local. In the evenings you can dine outside with a fabulous view and likely sunset. The sunsets here can be spectacular. Wednesday – The first porcini mushrooms were available at Paolo’s. Wood fire grilled with spicy bietola and absolutely yummy. And, look at these incredible huge garlics below, grown in Paolo’s Orto. http://www.ristorante-ceraunavolta.com

I started writing this blog last Sunday, nothing but interruptions but mostly welcome! Since I started we have had a couple of big storms, last Monday’s wind lifted a large garden brolly, still attached to it’s heavy weight, across the garden narrowly missing the car! But the heavy rain has been very welcome, we were beginning to melt under the heatwave; thankfully it’s cooler and calmer now.

What else? Well Monday was Ferragosta and a bank holiday for all Italians. So this started the big exit to the coast or mountains where the air is cooler. Motorways were once more chocablock after three years of no holidays for many. You can’t blame them for the frenzy; meanwhile, we are very happy to stay here in our little bit Chianti in Tuscany with Izzy the Lizard who likes to display his plump underbelly through the window!

Saturday and time to get this blog off to you, very damp outside but the sun is shining!

Have a great week and see you next time. Do drop me a line and visit my blogsite at http://www.junefinnigan.website

Salute June x

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Welcome and Benveuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Have you visited Florence or should I say Firenze, which is the Italian name for this beautiful Renaisance City? For hundreds of years creative people have flocked to the city, drawn by the history and atmosphere. The beauty of the buildings, some a thousand years old, is breathtaking and despite the massive surge in tourism over the last two centuries, they remain untouched by the passing years. To shop for artisan products has always been a joy, but sadly Covid has reduced tourism to such a low that many craft and creative people have gone out of business. Even an art gallery is closing down and is selling off all it’s easels and work tables for next to nothing! So sad.

So, I was delighted to read in The Florentine about a new website for these lovely people to get support and to promote themselves on-line! This is such a good idea and will keep the traditions going and the creative people can continue to survive! The website is beautiful, put together with love and creativity. It is called ‘Creative People in Florence’ and you can visit it now! Do take a look, contact the artisans and buy something special for yourself, your home, wardrobe or garden. You may not be travelling at present, but there’s nothing to stop you having a little bit of Florence all to yourself! http://www.creativepeopleinflorence.com

Meanwhile, back in our little bit of the Chianti Hills, everything is looking very lush after days of rain. But today the sun is shining and I took a stroll around our lovely garden and realised that my man had been carefully looking after the potted plants and nothing needed doing! Autumn fruits are flourishing including the Pomegranate bushes. But, it was sad to look up at the Ash Tree, which will need cutting down soon. It gave up it’s struggle completely this year. Although there is some beauty to see in it’s bare branches and shape, perhaps we’ll keep it for a while.

We popped into Paolo’s at C’era una Volta restaurant yesterday; I just needed to relax and not cook. It is the season for Fungi and in particular Porcini. Yes, I had yet another giant porcini grilled over the open wood fire, so mouth-watering! Paolo, his sister and Gaia, his wife, will travel for two hours into secret woodland to pick all kinds of fungi. He often proudly brings out a box of their latest hoard.

And so, Autumn is here. It is cooler but the air is wonderfully fresh. The zanzari (mosquitos) did not find me this morning, so with a bit of luck they may be dying out. So I think today we will enjoy an aperitivo in the garden, the sun is warm enough and the breeze is light. We will raise a glass or two to all our friends and family around the world.

Have a great week and do stay safe.

Salute June x

PS Visit my website at http://www.junefinnigan.website

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Welcome and Benveuti to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

Storm clouds over Tuscany, pinterest.

Well, the rain is thundering down on our Tuscan country home. We also had storm force winds yesterday and more are expected. It’s difficult weather because we are having to deal with high humidity too. A digger driver spent the whole of last week digging drainage channels in the valley below us; it’s amazing how canny the Tuscan contadini (country folk/farmers) can be about the weather. Do you consult your local country folk or fishermen/women on the weather forecast?

Meanwhile, we are thick with tourists. No obvious English or American yet, but we don’t really want to encourage them! Covid remains a worry here, although our area on the edge of Chianti has been only slightly affected, it’s the visitors that are the problem. Many are not bothering to wear masks and those that come to the restaurent wearing them, take them off at the table, which is fine, then go brain dead and get up to go to the loo or take fotos without putting them back on again! My man has to restrain me from shouting! But hey ho! This did not stop me from enjoying the first Giant Porcini Cap of the season, grilled over Paolo’s open fire! Wonderful!

Anyway, life eeez good, life eeez now!. We met up with our beautiful daughter and granddaughter at Jam Caffe in Certaldo for coffee in the week and my man had his favourite pastry, Pastina Arancia. Our granddaughter (15) was telling us that her return to school is likely to be on a part-time basis, the rest of the time studing on-line. Her last term was all on-line and she did very well without the nomal distractions of friends. Tuscany has so far provided excellent schooling this way, but obviously the face to face social interaction is important too.

Our Grandson (nearly 20) has just signed up with a South East Rugby Club in England for the coming season. At the moment, the club is only training on Thursdays, but he is very glad to be there. He was desperate to play English Rugby after having played in both Italy and France. As most of you know, Rugby in Italy has much room for improvement including proper investment into facilities and pitches. We are delighted for him!

Back here in our Tuscan country garden, Phil the pheasant is looking so much better and we have been reliably informed by a friend in the know, that his dissapearance and bedraggled return is because the males need to recover from the mating season and moult at the same time. Thank you Hilary for that snippit of knowledge! And, we have another resident, found by my man, curled up tightly in our entrance hall in a nook in the stone steps. A young skinny viper and whilst immature, we don’t really want him inside the house! So he was gently swept out the door and has taken up residence under an earthenware pot outside. foto Animalia.bio

Meanwhile, I’ve been sorting out my music repertoire and am ordering more backing tracks, but this time in the correct key for my voice. Also, we have ordered some better lighting for the Sound Studio from IKEA and whilst I was online, I thought I may as well order more bookshelves, a bathroom cabinet, two bedside tables and more lamps. I know, naughty indulgences! Deliveries here are now fairly reliable if you live in Tuscany and there’s nothing like a bit of shopping therapy to brighten the day! Some of the pricing is also amazing. We bought this great non-intrusive floor lamp a few weeks ago, for just 15 Euros on-line at IKEA.it! What do you think?

Well, I think we will pop out to Paolo’s for lunch again today. I had a funny moment yesterday, forgetting that I had planned to go out to eat! My man came to find me and could not believe that I had forgotten. But he’s always happy to eat a home, bless him.

So, time to get the fotos added and do an edit. I do hope you enjoy my waffling, I blame it on the heat and humidity.

Have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you. Visit my website at http://www.junefinnigan.website

Salute June x

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Welcome and Benvenuti to all my Lovely Followers

Rugby victory for Italy! La Nazione

Rugby victory for Italy!
La Nazione

Yesterday evening my man was jubilant!  Many of you know that we are a great Rugby family.  Most of our men have played rugby and our grandson has followed suit.  Why was my man so happy, well Italy had just beaten South Africa, a very strong team, 20-18.  So, Italy goes from strength to strength and considering Rugby is not the country’s first sport, which is football (Calcio), this is very pleasing indeed.  The new coach, Conor O’Shea, seems to be making a big difference and confidence is high.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil senza (without) palm oil. La Reppublica

Extra Virgin Olive Oil senza (without) palm oil.
La Reppublica

Anyway, what about things closer to home in our little bit of Tuscany?  The subject of pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil is on everyone’s lips in the caffè bar.  Are you aware that this beautiful nectar is being sold around the world, some claiming that it is pure when in fact it is ‘watered down’ by palm oil!  Now, this should be shown on the label, so read the very small print and make sure you get the real stuff.  You can always come to Tuscany and buy fresh from the producers if you fancy a little break!

Carlo and son Simone behind a pile of lovely panettone at Bar/pasticeria Fiorentino. La nazione.

Carlo and son Simone behind a pile of lovely panettone at Bar/pasticeria Fiorentino in Montespertoli. La Nazione.

Meanwhile, and in the run-up to Christmas, our part of Tuscany has been running a Panettone making contest, and we were really pleased to read in the paper yesterday that our good friends at Bar Fiorentino in Montespertoli have won the accolade!  This ‘Derby Del Gusto’ is a popular event each year and my man always takes two of the fig and walnut versions to England for friends and associates.

Grilled Porcini caps at Montalbino. Foto J Finnigan

Grilled Porcini caps at Montalbino. Foto J Finnigan

Ah, then there’s the subject of Porcini mushrooms.  Still available in the shops, markets and restaurants the big grilled caps are to die for.  My man and I went out to Trattoria Montalbino for lunch on Thursday.  This tiny family-run place is in the middle of nowhere but not far from Fiano.  They specialise in fungi and the husband goes hunting for fresh porcini and truffles.  When the season is ended they still manage to do some wonderful dishes with the dried varieties.  Visit Trattoria Montalbino, Montespertoli on Trip Advisor.  Table bookings – 0039 339 3695 121

Simple Minds in Tuscany. La Repubblica.

Simple Minds in Tuscany. La Repubblica.

And, not to forget for all you rockers like me, touring bands this week have included Simple Minds and Aerosmith.  Oh, and for all the teeny boppers we are also currently hosting Justin Bieber.  I just popped off to check out Simple Minds on YouTube and there’s some great stuff there.  You may remember their number one hit ‘Don’t you (forget about me)’ in 1985.  The Scottish band was heavily influenced by Roxy Music.  Now Brian Ferry I can watch him perform anytime!  Aerosmith?  Well they are just brilliant in my mind, but tickets seem to be sold out the minute we hear about these bands; hey ho.

OK, time to go, cooking lunch at home today (Sunday) as two-thirds of the local restaurants are closed for winter holidays.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.  I love to hear from you!

Salute June x

Visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

My current Books. Foto J Finnigan

My current Books.
Foto J Finnigan


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Buon Giorno to all my lovely Loyal and New Followers

Wet misty morning viewed through cobwed to the lower terrace. Photo P Finnigan

Wet misty morning viewed through cobweb to the lower terrace.
Photo P Finnigan

My man and I woke early this morning, despite the fact that it is Sunday, and found thick fog obscuring our view down to the valley.  We got in the car and my man said, “That’s interesting, we are one minute earlier than yesterday and four minutes later than the day before.  Oh, and we have done eighty-eight thousand miles!”  “Well, thank you for that….” I smiled.  Don’t you just love him?  Desperate to find sunshine, we drove further uphill to Fiano for our morning coffee.  Hurrah, there was the sun, smiling down on this little hilltop village, so we relaxed, read the papers and greeted the locals, who were all dressed for Sunday, mostly in fashionable track suits.  On our return to our little villa, we were still fog bound, however, my clever man noticed some incredible cobwebs and took a misty picture for you.

autumn Vines through Paolo's window. Photo J finnigan

autumn Vines through Paolo’s window.
Photo J finnigan

Wood fired grilled Porcini mushroom. Photo J Finnigan

Wood fired grilled Porcini mushroom.
Photo J Finnigan

Earlier in the week and before visiting a possible new property, we popped into Paolo’s Ristorante C’era una Volta, where Porcini Grilliata was on the menu.  The larger Porcini mushrooms are really delicious if cooked over an open fire, which is how Paolo grills all his food.  Yummy….  It was a lovely warm sunny day and we sat in the picture window where we could see the Autumn vines stretching away in all directions.  My man glowed with contentment as his Pici alla Pecoraia (thick spaghetti in a pecorino cheese sauce with sweet baby tomatoes) arrived.  I just love to see him enjoying himself!

Daniel joins us for coffee. Phew! L Nazione.

Daniel joins us for coffee. Phew! L Nazione.

Then yesterday, Saturday, we dropped down to Certaldo and Bar Solferino for coffee where we were joined by Daniel Craig, looking absolutely gorgeous in Armani and flashing an expensive watch.  Yes, I know, not really, but a girl can dream.  We then went to see another potential country house that turned out to be an apartment with a shared garden; I don’t think so.  So far I have viewed seven possible new homes, and we may have found the ideal place not far away from where we are now.  Watch this space!

Meanwhile, I am currently working away on an exciting ghost writing project.  It is a thriller based on a real life story and is a fascinating and topical subject.  But do not worry, you will not be forgotten and my weekly blogs will go out without fail.  Also my monthly column in Expat Focus, the on-line magazine for, not surprisingly, expats!  My book, ‘The Italian Connection’ will now hopefully be published by the summer of next year.

Pre-lunch drinks on the upper terrace. Photo J Finnigan

Pre-lunch drinks on the upper terrace.
Photo J Finnigan

And finally, it is so important to have that relaxing aperitivo in the early evening.  Also a nice drop of wine before lunch in the garden.  We have been lucky enough to enjoy several lunches outside this week.  When the sun comes out the middle of the day is quite hot, despite the chill in the air.  I know, we are so lucky!

Well must get on, more writing to do, places to go and people to see.

Have a great week and do drop me a line.

Salute June x

PS Do visit my author site at http://www.amazon.com/author/junefinnigan

'My Father, The Assassin'. Book one in the series.

‘My Father, The Assassin’. Book one in the series.

'The Bolivian Connection' Book two in the series.

‘The Bolivian Connection’ Book two in the series.

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