Today is a little travel day, we pick up a car, which this time André will be driving and we move out of Florence to a tiny village called Certaldo in Northern Tuscany. Luca from our cooking class when we mentioned we were coming here, told us it was his favourite town and the next door town, San Gimignano had the best gelato in Italy ( of course we got the name and address for that). We have a Fiat station wagon which fits us and the luggage very comfortably and we are now the Floosy family.
We are not allowed to drive into the historical town called Certaldo Alto but park just outside the city gates and roll our bags the last 300m. The apartment is spotless, beautiful and looks right out onto the Palazzo, as we are at the top of the main “ drag”.
It is lunch time so we get Silvia’s recommendation and head straight out to get a bite. The location is great, looking out through a green hedge of jasmine onto the rolling Tuscan hills and “ new” town below.
Extra entertainment is provided by 5 tiny kittens that are super mischievous but we are warned not to play with them as Mum is very protective at this stage and is eyeing us off to keep our distance.
This turns out to be a magnificent meal, clearly now with our pasta making experience we can tell what is “fresh pasta” freshly hand vs that bought in a store and sold as fresh. This one has definitely been made for us!
André gets a spaghetti with a delicate but slightly spicy tomato based sauce, Tanya has the ravioli with ricotta, pecorino and potato filling with a light tomato and ham, olive oil sauce and I get the gnocchi with a Gorgonzola sauce lying in a bed of pumpkin sauce.
All three sauces and pasta are fabulous. The gnocchi are tiny and so delicate that it’s a little pop of flavour in my mouth, virtually melting away!
Of course sitting in the shade of a huge umbrella admiring the view is a very energetic and taxing activity so we have room for dessert. I pick a fluff of petals of crisp pastry interspersed with fresh chantilly cream. André orders a spoon and coffee, so Tanya moves away from his reach with her warm cioccolati and nocciola ( hazelnut) torte and I am the one that shares just a spoonful with him from mine.
It has turned into a gorgeous sunny afternoon so we explore the rest of the historical town.
We are so surprised how little tourists there are in town and certainly after 6pm we seem to be just about the only tourists left except for a group of American students who are able to study a semester of art here.
The light on the small medieval bricks in the afternoon is so pretty.
Around every corner there is something that captures the imagination.
We notice that there are at least two cooking schools that are run from here, but we know that it will be impossible to upstage our Luca and Lorenzo experience.
We only have room for a light dinner of local cheese, olives and fresh bread and we go out for our last evening explore.