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You can find other posts on our recent trip to Tuscany/Umbria below:

Eating Our Way Through Italy: Part 1

Villa Life: A Week in Umbria

Wine Tasting in Tuscany: Avignonesi Winery

When you think Italy, of course food and wine are top of mind, and we did plenty of eating during our trip.


It was gloriously hot and sunny every single day, and we opted to eat almost every meal outside. When visiting Cortona after a spectacular wine tasting at Baracchi Winery (more to come on that), we were ravenous and tired and happy to find Baracchi’s Cortona restaurant, Bottega Baracchi, was serving a cold lunch and pizza even late in the afternoon when many places close. We shared cheese and meat plates and more wine from Baracchi on their charming patio, but I of course had to take a peek inside and was glad I did.


While the patio of Bottega Baracchi is beautiful and overlooks bustling Cortona, the interior of the restaurant is spectacular! It just keeps going, and there’s wine and food and art everywhere. I loved the displays of fresh veggies and this rack of rosé. I’ll take it all, please!


No meal in Italy is really complete without gelato, and we stopped for a dish or cone every chance we got. A scoop of hazelnut and a scoop of chocolate for me!


Vecchio Molino in the town we were staying in, Tuoro Sul Trasimeno, was a favorite for a late dinner al fresco, complete with fried zucchini blossom heaven.

I’m well aware of the amount of oil that goes into these, which is part of what makes them so delicious.


Truffles were a regional staple where we were staying, and these raviolis in cream sauce were covered in fragrant truffle. It was amazing.


And then of course there was the wedding! The whole reason we all gathered for a week in Italy was for my husband’s sister’s wedding, and we ate all night long.


Course after course of incredible food came out all night and included indulgences like this Umbrian bread salad topped with lobster and prosciutto and cheese crepes with black truffle.

These were just the appetizers. There was a pasta with shrimp and a gnocchi in a rich montalcino wine sauce, followed by a fliet of beef, and the most decadent, cream topped, Nutella filled wedding cake.


And then after some dancing, there was pizza!


Our last night in Italy turned into a massive party at the villa, with all of the guests who weren’t staying there over to swim, and everyone brought food or wine to the table for a delicious meal. We had a professional chef in the group, which was amazing, and with his grilling and other cooking, along with everyone else’s culinary talents, we feasted on salads, grilled burgers and spicy sausage, salads, pasta, and so much more. It was the perfect way to end the trip.



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Tags: cheese, Cortona, gelato, Italy, Travel, travel blog, Tuscany, wine, wine tasting, winery

An absolute must-visit, A Tavola in Winchester ended up being our Saturday night, pre-marathon date. Initially we had reservations to go out in Boston’s North End and decided to head in to town early to have a drink and wander around.

Crazy town. Between the marathon, the Red Sox, the Bruins, and the beautiful holiday weekend, Boston, and especially the North End, was packed. I was already anxious about being in the sun or on my feet too long, so we picked the first spot that looked opened, had a quick beer and tried to figure out dinner plan B after my husband noted that town would be even crazier after the hockey game let out. I was not in the mood for crowds.

Luckily, I had spoken with Richard at lunch earlier in the week, and he had mentioned A Tavola as a great spot for dinner. I quickly looked them up on my phone, gave them a call to make a reservation, and we were on our way to Winchester.

The quiet town common and quaint streets were a nice change from the swarms of people in Boston. I was nervous, and I needed to be in a calm and cozy place. A Tavola was it.

We were seated right away at a sunny table and went over the menu; the top boxes are Piattini, meant for sharing, while the other options include larger appetizers and entrees.

A Tavola menu

We also went over A Tavola’s wine list which is comprised solely of Italian wines, many of which are offered by the glass or quartino. Since it felt so summery out, we decided to share a bottle of the Masciarelli Rosato. We have tried and love Masciarelli  Trebbiano D’Abruzzo, and we equally loved the Rosato. It was perfect for our Piattini as well as our entrees.

Masciarelli Rosato

For Piattini, we decided to split the house-made Sopressata with pistachios an pickled vegetables and the ricotta with olive oil and lemon zest. Both were simply heavenly, and based on the options available, you could easily make a meal out of small plates.

I didn’t photograph our entrees, but we enjoyed dishes of fresh, house made pasta. I had the Bigoli al Pomodoro, thick spaghetti with a tomato sauce, while my husband had the Rigatoni Bolognese. The pasta was perfectly al dente, and the sauces were flavorful and rich. The tangy tomatoes and thick ropes of pasta in mine were exactly what I wanted.


We feasted on Piattini and pasta, but I did save room to share two desserts. I had this vanilla gelato with hot fudge and hazelnuts while my husband had the house-made doughnuts. There was, of course, sharing involved. These were SO good.


After our dinner the chef came out of the open kitchen to check on how our meal went. He was delightful, and it was a nice touch.

The service at A Tavola was outstanding, making for a really enjoyable date night that left me dreaming of bowls of homemade pasta. A Tavola definitely requires a return visit.

It’s only my second day of work this week, but I am ready for the weekend. How about you?

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Tags: dessert, dinner, Food, gelato, Restaurants, wine

As planned, it is going to be a lovely, lazy Saturday night at home. I never ended up doing yoga because we decided to start painting the guest room. We chose the color “crepe” by Behr, and it is lookin’ good! I love choosing paint and nail polish colors that have to do with food. How silly is that? Our kitchen is “sweet and sour” and most other rooms are “cafe mocha”.

Anyway, for the hub’s birthday tomorrow we are planning a trip to Newport, RI. I am hoping the trip will include a stop at Cold Fusion Gelato where last summer I tried olive oil gelato and chocolate curry gelato. Both were soooo creamy and airy and delicious.

Before I head off for the night, I wanted to remind everyone that Marathon Val is having a Holey Donuts giveaway through Wednesday. Yum!! :)

AND I will be doing another giveaway. . . want to know what it is?


Food goddess

Food goddess

I love Nigella, and I LOVE this book. I think she is just gorgeous, funny, makes great food, and is just an awesome woman who isn’t afraid to eat amazingly indulgent foods.

The actual contest will not start until tomorrow at 7PM eastern time, and I will announce the winner next Sunday (the 19th) at 7PM eastern time.

How do you enter?

1) Link back to my blog in one of your posts this week.

2) Leave a comment and let me know who your favorite celebrity chef is. Doesn’t have to be on tv, it could be a local celeb too. It will be a food education for all of us!

Nigella Lawson is obviously one of my favorites, and I also love watching Giada Delaurentis and Guy Fieri on Food Network. Locally, I love Joanne Chang, Barbara Lynch, Will Gilson, and Ken Oringer, among others. Boston just has so many to choose from!

Have a good night, and I will be back tomorrow evening, hopefully after a day of adventure!

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Tags: cookbook, Food, gelato, giveaway

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