What does living in Siena really mean? What does this everyday relationship with the Chianti Classico territory entail? Through pictures and words, Dievole has made this kind of unfiltered storytelling its mission. But sometimes its necessary to take a step back, to look at things through the eyes of another person, admire our surroundings from a different perspective. In early June we received a beautiful message from one of our readers, saying that she really appreciated our vision and blog. Her story was fascinating so we decided to interview her on what living in Siena really means.

Thirty-two year old Anna Maria was born on the beautiful island of Sardinia but decided to study in Siena, where she stayed after graduating and now works in the events sector. She loves literature, movies, studying new languages and, last but not least, travelling – this passion has led her to discover the most hidden corners of our land. We enjoyed a nice chat with her, tackling subjects like art, social media, itineraries and, yes, food.

From the coasts of Sardinia to the world-renowned Tuscan sun. Tell us a bit about the choices that brought you here and made you fall in love with Siena and the land of Chianti Classico.

What could ever lead Sardinians away from our beloved land? I made this tough decision and followed my heart’s desire when I decided to pursue my passion in Art studies, after graduating from High School. Choosing the right school was quite easy: Siena’s athenaeum is one the most prestigious Italian universities. My final thesis focused on Iconography, while I specialised in Medieval Art History. I couldn’t have chosen a better setting for this kind of studies.

When people ask me what I love the most about Tuscany, I always quote geographer Henri Desplanques: “Refined people built the Tuscan countryside as a work of art. These were the very same people who in the fifteenth century commissioned paintings and frescoes: this is the characteristic, the main feature that throughout the centuries can be found in drawings of the countryside and the architecture of Tuscan houses. It is incredible how these people built their rural landscape as if they had no concern but that of creating a thing of beauty“. I also love the great awareness and pride that the Tuscans feel towards their artistic and cultural heritage, traditions and longstanding craftsmanship.

How did you discover Dievole and our Blog?

I discovered Dievole quite simply, thanks to a glass of its excellent Chianti Classico wine. I have been “initiated” to the magical world of wine for quite some time now and I started with what I believe is the true essence of Italian winemaking. One of my future projects involves becoming a sommelier. I started reading the blog thanks to Dievole’s social media, especially instagram which is my favorite platform, where I share my passions and pics of my trips.

Siena isn’t only Piazza del Campo and its touristic landmarks. Which are your must-see places? Do you have a suggested itinerary?

Although predictable and very touristic, the Duomo and Piazza del Campo must be visited, but I also suggest perusing Palazzo Pubblico’s museum  with Simone Martini’s wonderful Maestà, Guidoriccio Da Fogliano’s oeuvre and Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s frescoes portraying the Allegory of Good and Evil government: a sublime example of educational yet topical art.

Col naso all'insù…

A photo posted by The Dreamcatcher (@annamarcis) on

To travellers on the road, I would suggest doing what I have learned after all these years living in Siena: just let yourself go and explore, possibly with a camera by your side. Siena offers unexpected and wonderful niches that no guide will ever be able to show you. When it comes to delving into the Tuscan countryside, I see it more as a state of mind than a geographical area – therefore all you have to do is breathe in all its strength and beauty. So my suggested itinerary is: no itineraries!

For an art lover such as yourself, what was the most surprising element you encountered once you moved to Tuscany?

When I started living in Siena, what really surprised me about Tuscany was the feeling that nothing of its landscapes and architecture was by chance. Sometimes I feel like I’m standing inside a gigantic movie set where everything follows the precise will of a meticulous set designer, down to the smallest detail, as to create that fixed image that we all evoke in our minds when it comes to thinking about Tuscany. After all these years, maybe what really fascinates me about this region is its being magically suspended between reality and imagination.

Last but not least: what is your favorite Tuscan food?

Easy: pici cacio and pepe!

Thank you Anna Maria for sharing your story with us!

Do you also want to tell us about why you love living in Siena and Chianti Classico? Send us a message through our facebook page!

Here at Dievole we have a mulberry tree (known as “Gelso”), which rises tall next to the paved path to our Colombaio house. Its thick trunk gives off an allure of ancient beauty and its full canopy of leaves offers shade during the Summer heat. Thanks to its abundant fruit, we’ve been getting creative in the kitchen, so this July we will be talking about mulberry recipes.

For some unknown reason, its juicy purple-red fruits have been overshadowed by other, more common berries, but our kitchen loves to shine a light on local produce and create unique and creative dishes with what grows lush and bountiful from our land.

Closely related to figs and breadfruit, the mulberry ripens in late summer and its cluster-structure resembles the blackberry’s. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C and can be used to make juice, jam or perfectly healthy dry snacks!

Our mulberry tree is a cascade of green!

Our mulberry tree is a cascade of green!

So many things must be said about this fascinating plant and there are so many mulberry recipes worth discovering. Its tough flexible roots hold the earth in place and were therefore used to contrast landslides on unstable terrain. Mulberry leaves are a unique source of antioxidants and minerals and can be dried to make a medicinal tea which in the olden days was used as a treatment for diabetes.

 

Here are 2 simple Mulberry Recipes

Mulberry Gelato

One of our favorite mulberry recipes: creamy handmade gelato!

One of our favorite mulberry recipes: creamy handmade gelato!

Among our seasonal dessert mulberry recipes, this handmade ice-cream is a real treat! Handmade with mulled Chianti Classico wine, juniper berries, cinnamon and cloves (and of course a good dose of cream), the layered and spicy flavour is enhanced by its fresh and creamy consistency. This gelato can be made if have an ice-cream maker or even without. You’ll want to combine your washed mulberries with sugar, a pinch of salt and a bit of balsamic vinegar for tartiness in a food processor and blend. Then in a pot, mix that with your milk and/or cream, and proceed to freeze, or put into your ice-cream maker, following the latter’s instructions. Serve with a few fresh mulberries and a zesty glass of Dievole Rosato Le Due Arbie IGT Wine.

Braised Beef in Mulberry Chianti Classico Sauce

This sweet and savoury recipe is bound to make an impression!

This sweet and savoury recipe is bound to make an impression!

When it comes to savoury dishes we also like to add the mulberry’s tart sweetness as a finishing twist to our braised beef in Chianti Classico sauce, a renowned Italian recipe which perfectly combines different regional culinary traditions. This might not be the most easy dish to prepare but follow our instructions and you’ll master it in no time!

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg Beef (Chuck tender or vein steak)
  • 1 Bottle of Chianti Classico Wine
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Stalks of celery
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Sprig of Rosemary
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 Handful of ripe Mulberries
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4 Grains of Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cinnamon stick
  • 40 gr Butter
  • 3-4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

One of the most important steps involves the meat, which must be drained of all residue and marinated in Chianti Classico wine for 12 hours, together with the finely chopped vegetables and spices. Preserve in a cool area of your kitchen and, once the designated time has passed, delicately dry the meat with kitchen paper. Melt butter in a warmed pan and brown the beef on both sides for about 5 minutes. At this point add the marinated vegetables and spices and cook for about 15 minutes. When tender, cover the mixture and let it simmer on a low flame for 2 hours.

Once the meat is perfectly braised, extract it from the pan and blend the vegetables to make the sauce. Pour the mixture back in the pan and add the handful of mulberries. Cook for a few minutes and garnish the meat with the result. If you want to add some extra flavor, drizzle the composition with fresh Dievole Extra Virgin Olive Oil DOP and serve with a glass of Dievole Chianti Classico 2014. Your guests will be absolutely thrilled!

The “La Buona Pizza” (good pizza) is a book by Tania Mauri and Luciana Squadrilli that was recently released in Italy. A gastronomic trip down the boot that tells the tale of the pizzaiolo, or pizza chef, through ingredients and connections with local territory. With beautiful photography by food photgrapher Alessandra Farinelli, the book is published by the prestigious Giunti Editore, and Dievole is a sponsor. We spoke with one of the authors, the food journalist Luciana Squadrilli.

In viaggio alla scoperta della Buona Pizza! Ph. Alessandra Farinelli

Discovering good Pizza book! Ph. Alessandra Farinelli

So, your book is a a food travel story that stops in 10 locations, 10 important places for the world of food, and 10 great pizzerie… Tell us a bit about this adventure.

The idea came from an early piece that I did about a few Italian pizzaioli, where I found that they pay so much attention to their place and to the prime ingredients. They’re chefs capable of creating networks with producers, especially local ones. This was the starting point for the idea of telling a story about Italy through pizza and through their work. We can consider it a kind of taste-itinerary, even if it’s only 10 stops. We wanted to demonstrate the richness of Italy both in products and in traditions, through 10 protagonists of the pizza world and their territories. “La Buona Pizza” is not a “top 10” but ten stories in which pizza, its recipes and multiple formats, is a sort of symbol of the country’s diversity. We also made a point of paying attention to some less recognized areas like Basilicata.

After meeting pizza chefs from across Italy and having tasted their creations, in your opinion, what are the characteristics of the modern pizzaiolo and, on the other hand, what are the traditions they keep or should keep?

Tradition plays an important role in the preparation of pizza, and that is handed down centuries. But even the traditional pizzaioli are constantly searching for new recipes and products. Even the simple and classic Margherita opens up to a world of possibilities by studying new cooking techniques, hydration, rising times… So on one hand we’ve reevaluated tradition, but on the other hand we continue to look ahead and study new methods to make a dish that has, in the past, been considered a simple and poor meal.

In our kitchen we love to use ancient flours, which you often cite in the book. What are the benefits of these in pizza?

In the introduction to our Good Pizza Book, we talk about these when we discuss dough and primary materials, while in the various chapters we mention some small producers who are innovating in the market of ancient flours. Compared to the more common flours available on the market, these ones are not genetically modified, they have less glutine in them and often are easier to digest.

One thing you mention is really important is extra virgin olive oil, which is of course something we feel strongly about!

We get into the olive oil discussion particularly in our chapter about Faenza, where they’re doing some specific research on this ingredient, tasting various olive oils and using different varieties depending on the pizza, in order to bring out the taste. Many pizzaioli are starting to pay more attention to the quality of the olive oil they use in the kitchen, which is an interesting trend because normally pizza is considered a cheap meal and chefs might tend to save money on ingredients. But now it’s more and more common to see special, expensive olive oils used “cold” to dress the pizza after cooking, adding its unique flavour to the dish.

Matteo Tambini e Davide Fiorentini della pizzeria 'O Fiore Mio a Faenza. Ph Alessandra Farinelli

Matteo Tambini and Davide Fiorentini, pizzeria ‘O Fiore Mio in Faenza. Ph Alessandra Farinelli

Let’s address the age-old question of wine and pizza – do they pair?

Generally, pizza tends to be paired with beer, rather than wine. With the new trend of fried pizza, champagne is becoming an important pairing. In some cases, like pizza with tea-marinated fish by Simone Padoan, the dish encompasses such a world of flavours that beer cannot bring it all out. What’s important is to have fun and to play with the discreet flavours of the dish.

Tell us about your collaboration with photographer Alessandra Farinelli.

We’re really happy with Alessandra’s work: the book is beautiful thanks in particular to her photographs, that capture not only the beauty of the dishes but also the personalities of the people we met. We wanted to tell the stories of pizzaioli and producers, and these photos capture them with daily naturalness.

Choosing presents for family and friends can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re on the hunt for the perfect gifts. It can be even more difficult if they are experienced wine enthusiasts. So, here at Dievole, we’ve done some of the work for you. We’ve researched and selected eight original wine gifts ranging from practical to elegant (and sometimes both!) so you can give thoughtful wine gifts to your family and friends this year.

Personalized wine cork shadowbox

Wine Cork Keeper Original wine gifts

Wine Cork Keeper

Grace your home or delight a fellow wine lover with this beautifully rustic wine cork keeper made from all natural pinewood and glass. This homey shadowbox can be personalized by the artisan with your choice of text or design. Find it here on Etsy.

Murano glass wine stopper and charms set

This bottle stopper and wine charms set is a great gift that balances elegance and practicality. Designed with artisan glass from the Island of Murano near Venice, this original wine gift will add an authentically Italian touch to any gathering or event. Find the product here on Amazon.

Periodic table of elements wall décor

Wine wall decor Original wine gifts

Wine wall decor

What’s better than science, wise words and wine? Check out these incredibly quirky, yet totally contemporary, handmade pinewood tiles. Featuring W for Tungsten, I for Iodine, Ne for Neon, and a wonderful wine quote, they’re perfect for a sleek, contemporary home. Hang them on a wall, or stagger them on a shelf display. Find them here.

Wine bottle candleholders

Wine bottle candleholders Original wine gifts

Wine bottle candleholders

We love the creative usage of these wine bottle candleholders, hung from trees or patios for a dreamy bohemian look. Each bottle comes notched at the bottom for airflow so you can set them down on a table, mirror, or wherever speaks to you. Find the set here!

Wine picnic set

Anywhere in Europe, you’ll find wine as part of any good picnic. This insulated wine-tote fits two bottles of your favorite Dievole wine, two wine glasses, two napkins, a corkscrew, and a bottle stopper. Where allowed by law, we think this wine picnic set is a perfect companion for any traveler or outdoorsy wine-enthusiast. Imagine picnicking in front of one of these beautiful landscapes in Tuscany. Check it out here.

Party of four

Another economical option for your wine enjoyment is this clever handmade rack for wine and glasses that is perfect for a party of four on a small table, making it easy to carry out all you need to your terrace. The smooth sassafras, cherry, maple, or walnut wood is finished with oil, and the holder fits over any standard size (0.75 L) wine bottle, including Dievole! Find it on Etsy here!

Wine bottle thermometer bracelet

Ever have qualms over whether your wine is the right temperature when serving guests? Never again with this wine bottle thermometer bracelet. This smart device not only measures wine temperature but actually suggests the best serving temperature for most wines. This stainless steel ring with flexible band fits any size bottle—check it out here.

Dievole wine

Last but not least, from the heart of Chianti Classico, we think that any wine lover would want a case of Dievole wine—the Chianti Classico 2014 in particular. Its red fruits and cherry finish, and young but balanced tannins, make this wine pair well with meats and cheeses, and it will age well, making it a long-lasting gift for the wine enthusiast’s cellar.

As they say, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy wine. And that’s kind of the same thing.” Give the gift of happiness, we guess!

 

words by Angela Sanders

The Tuscan garden is a mysterious and fascinating place. Its tame yet wild nature exudes a unique charm and the very fragrances that define our region, giving off a balmy breeze that will always bring you back to when you first set foot on Chianti Classico soil. The Tuscan garden thrives with warm Mediterranean temperatures and is characterised by shades of vivid green (the leafy herbs), lush purple (That can be spotted especially in lavender, rosemary and thyme flowers) and the golden hues of its sun-baked soil. We take great pride in our Tuscan garden for it also plays an important role in our everyday life in the kitchen. Basil, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, thyme, sage: these are some of our most prized plants, together with the spontaneous herbs and flowers that we pick fresh every day from the fields and meadows of our estate to garnish and prepare our signature dishes.

The Gourmet Potential of having your own Tuscan Garden

Our light Parmigiana with basil foam!

Our light Parmigiana with basil foam!

What many probably don’t know is that these typical Tuscan garden herbs have an amazing culinary potential and we love experimenting in our kitchen to create new gourmet toppings and flavourful twists. For example, we infuse our tartare meat with tarragon-scented water and we season our light, modern version of the world-famous parmigiana with the frothy delight of basil foam.

Pestos are also our speciality and on our menu you can always find a nice plate of handmade pasta with a new seasonal variation of this world-famous sauce. Not only have we mastered the classic basil pesto that everyone loves – we have also created zesty pestos with mixed herbs, tarragon and fennel. They are easy to make and simply delicious, and Dievole Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds a special flavour to the mix!

Basil, the King of our Tuscan Garden

Leafy, green and delicious: Basil is the king of the Tuscan garden.

Leafy, green and delicious: Basil is the king of the Tuscan garden.

Known as one of our region’s most iconic plants, the word basil comes from the Greek etymon “βασιλεύς” (basileus) which means “king” – and indeed it is hailed by many as the king culinary herb of Italian cuisine. With its abundant leaf clusters, it is one of the most versatile ingredients of our kitchen, although it is delicious even when served fresh as a decoration on our meat or pasta courses. Its distinctive perfume fills our Tuscan garden, especially during the Spring and Summer months.

Discover these Must-have Herbs

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme... that song definitely describes a Tuscan Garden!

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme… that song definitely describes a Tuscan Garden!

Basil might be the king but there are other potent and regal herbs when it comes to our Tuscan garden. Tarragon is a species of perennial herb especially used in chicken, fish and egg dishes. It can be used crushed or in dried sprigs and its pungent taste is quite unique. Rosemary is used especially in the preparation of meats and baked goods. It is said to be a powerful relaxant and is often used in aromatherapy for its natural properties. Sage is a small evergreen shrub with velvety leaves and its peppery flavour is particularly appreciated in the preparation of meat dishes. Parsley is the perfect final touch to your plate but it also provides unique health benefits with its rich content of anti-oxidant nutrients.

Dievole is all about rediscovering authenticity and making the most of what our bountiful surroundings have to offer. Our genuine cuisine is founded on seasonal ingredients and natural produce, that’s why we cherish our Tuscan garden as a treasure trove for new ideas and constant inspiration.

When it comes to combining wine and food, things can get quite confusing. That’s why we’ve selected some of the internet’s best wine pairing charts to guide you in a one-of-a-king tasting experience and to educate you on the fine lines between gustatory disaster and perfection. Your matching knowledge is sure to impress your friends at the next dinner parties and wine tastings!

CHAMPAGNE

Ever thought of pairing wine and pies? Chart by Vivino.com

Ever thought of pairing wine and pies? Chart by Vivino.com

Creativity is key when it comes to pairing drink and food, so take the wine pairing charts’suggestions with a grain of salt and never forget that experimenting can bring your taste-buds into undiscovered realms of taste. Originally from France, the primary grapes used in the production of Champagne are black Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier but also white Chardonnay. It is said to come alive with food and goes well with appetisers, lobster, seafood and mushrooms, while in the dessert department its sparkling light consistency marries wonderfully with strawberries, fruit puddings, apple crumble and almond based cookies. Naturally fresh oysters and a flute of champagne are THE signature dish if your palate wants to delve into the lap of luxury eating.

CHARDONNAY

Wine pairing chart from winefolly.com

Wine pairing chart from winefolly.com

Unlike common belief, premium Chardonnay actually is a great food wine.

CABERNET

Pic from winebarrel.org

Pic from winebarrel.org

Fatty red meats such as pork and lamb and bitter-edged vegetables such as broccoli and grilled radicchio really enhance the tannins and natural fruitiness of Cabernet. Rich dishes  with cheeses and butter are also a great match with this full-bodied wine with a strong savoury character often described with flavours such as black pepper and tobacco. Because of these strong tasting notes, it does not pair well with chocolate but is perfect with herbed cous-cous and grilled swordfish.

SANGIOVESE

Check out our Sangiovese Wine Pairing Chart!

Check out our Sangiovese Wine Pairing Chart!

Sangiovese is the most widespread vine in Italy and Dievole’s most cherished grape, for it expresses the very essence of our peculiar terroir. Our Chianti Classico wine is extremely flexible when it comes to pairing: try it with melon and Italian prosciutto ham, game meat, pizza and pasta.

Wine Pairing Charts about pizza are the best!

Wine Pairing Charts about pizza are the best!

PINOT NOIR

A fun way to choose the right bottle of wine! Chart found on Winewankers.com

A fun way to choose the right bottle of wine! Chart found on Winewankers.com

With a  medium-low tannin content, silky feel and light, subtle flavours, Pinot Noir is considered a catch-all food pairing wine. As depicted in the wine pairing charts above, Pinot Noir is a safe haven for all uncertain wine choosers who want to obtain the maximum result with the minimum effort. Be it a light dish of salmon, duck breast, roasted mushrooms or lentils, this unique red is bound to satisfy everyone.

MERLOT

Wine and herbs... a very interesting pairing chart by wineeveryday.net

Wine and herbs… a very interesting pairing chart by wineeveryday.net

Red  fruits and a soft finish are two of Merlot’s main characteristics that make it the perfect wine to serve with aged cheeses, beef, tuna, black truffles and dark chocolate. Among the interesting wine pairing charts we found on the web, we particularly enjoyed this one regarding cooking herbs for we will soon be releasing an article on our Tuscan garden. Stay tuned and stay curious!

Recently, we at Dievole have started making fresh pasta every day for the guests of our restaurant. Considered a fundamental part of Italian cuisine, fresh pasta maintains the mystique of being time consuming to make, something connected to a world of bygone traditions. But really, home made pasta is simple to make, fresh and delicious. Is fresh pasta better than dry pasta? Both are excellent, but here are some reasons we love home made pasta.

Choice of flours

The Ancient Flours of Dievole's Kitchen

The Ancient Flours of Dievole’s Kitchen

When we purchase fresh or dried pasta in Italy from producers or at the supermarket, there really are a lot of choices nowadays for high quality pasta, including those made with different kinds of grains. You’d be surprised that dry pasta at the supermarket now, at least in Italy, is easily available from corn, spelt, rice, whole grain as well as white flour. Fresh pasta is more likely to come in many shapes, but often just with white flour.

We at Dievole love experimenting with organic ancient flours which we source from small, local producers. The truly distinguishing feature of ancient grains is the absence of GMOs and chemical fertilisers, features that we value as part of our philosophy and search for authenticity and excellence. Making our own pasta, we can experiment with these flours, blending them to create new flavours and textures that create original and inventive dishes.

Easier than it looks

If you ever get to take an Italian cooking class, especially here in Tuscany, chances are the first thing they’ll teach you to make is tortelli. This is the easiest pasta to make because you can do it without a pasta machine, because filled pasta doesn’t have to be as thin as say, tagliolini.

All you need is a clean surface – your kitchen counter is fine but a wooden pastry board is best – and a few ingredients to make a small portion of pasta (for 1-2 people): 100 grams of 00 flour (or partially cut with other flour of your choice), 1 egg, some cold water.

Make a mound with your flour, and create a crater in the middle where you put the egg. Start working this with your hands, and where necessary, add a bit of water until you’ve absorbed all the flour and are able to knead the dough. Knead for 10 minutes, periodically tossing the ball onto the board to maintain elasticity and get out any air bubbles. Then, roll it out with a rolling pin on a floured surface. That’s all! Of course, from there, you’ll be either filling it, or cutting it into various shapes. For long pasta, you’ll want to use a pasta machine rather than a rolling pin.

Quick to cook

For the busy home chef, fresh pasta has a further advantage over dry pasta: put simply, it cooks faster! Though be careful: if you’re buying it at a supermarket, make sure it contains no more ingredients than flour, egg, water and possibly salt. If you can find 15 minutes to make your own, you can store it in the fridge for a few days by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap.

In a busy restaurant like at Dievole, speedy boiling is a plus for our clients, who enjoy the freshness of pasta made the same day, but also the faster service – as everything is always cooked singly upon order.

We love the way it holds a sauce

Fresh handmade pasta with rabbit ragù!

Fresh handmade pasta with rabbit ragù!

In Italy, there’s a keen awareness of how there are certain combinations of pasta shapes and sauces that just go well together. In our area near Siena, the most traditional pasta is pici, a kind of thick spaghetti that is always a fresh pasta, and it’s ideal to hold a meat ragu, often heavier game-based sauces like hare sauce. Short fresh pastas like maltagliati go great with beans or with vegetables like mushrooms or zucchini. Pesto adheres well either to long pasta, or to short textured pasta like trofie. To each shape, his sauce!

Working on a wooden board, fresh pasta acquires a wonderful texture that helps certain sauces adhere, making it particularly pleasing in the mouth. With the right combination of pasta and sauce, fresh pasta makes for a satisfying and balanced meal composed of a complex carbohydrate and complemented by proteins and vegetables.

Ancient flours are making a comeback and Dievole is at the helm of a small yet tenacious gastronomic revolution. Our kitchen has slowly started to integrate this precious organic ingredient in its everyday preparations – a novelty that has further improved the quality and digestibility of our handmade pasta dishes thanks to its lower gluten content and genetic purity. Here at Dievole, we take pride in choosing only the best for our guests and customers. Come try our fresh pasta – it’s the result of a boundless love for Tuscan tradition and pairs beautifully with our Chianti Classico wines!

Not many know that flour comes in many different varieties and each one has its own unique flavour and characteristics that we cherish and value in our recipes. Let us introduce you to the ancient flours we use in our kitchen!

Einkorn flour – Farro Monococco

Spelt flour is ancient and pure

Spelt flour is one the most ancient of flours

This typically mediterranean species is the first grain to be cultivated and used by humans more than 10,000 years ago. Thanks to the massive presence of bran and germs it contains an astounding amount of vitamins (A, E, C and B) and minerals. Its high Magnesium content makes it particularly indicated for athletes, for it facilitates insulin circulation and improves muscle contraction that prevents cramping.

Senatore Cappelli

Senatore Cappelli is one of the ancient flours we use to make our handmade pasta!

Senatore Cappelli is one of the ancient flours we use to make our handmade pasta!

Since the beginning of the 1900s, this special durum wheat flour has been employed in the pasta-making process because of its nutritional and flavourful qualities. Organic and unrefined, this ancestor of the modern durum wheat variety is free from contamination by mutagenesis, factor considered responsible for gluten intolerances and allergies. It contains a higher percentages of lipids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and is sweeter than other grains.

Ancient flours of Tuscany

Verna is one of Tuscany's most ancient flours

Verna is one of Tuscany’s most ancient flours

It is renowned that Tuscany has the world’s most ancient flour varieties that date back to over 30.000 years ago. Verna, Gentil Rosso, Frassineto, Sieve are the perfect wholemeal flour varieties to make bread or mother yeast – we tend to blend them with more traditional flour varieties to maintain elasticity, since ancient flours absorb less water. The truly distinguishing feature of ancient grains is the absence of GMOs and chemical fertilisers, features that we value as part of our philosophy and search for authenticity and excellence. Among the many heirloom and ancient grains, Verna is rich in protein, low in cholesterol and contains only 0,9% gluten, an astounding percentage when compared to the 14% present in more common flour varieties. It is ideal to prepare focaccia, which takes on a distinguishing amber crust and subtle almond fragrances. Gentil Rosso is another important Tuscan hemp flour variety that goes way back in time, although its use was abandoned from 1927 when, during the “Grain Battle”, the agronomist Nazareno Stampelli introduced more productive wheat varieties. This stone ground flour is ideal to prepare pizza dough and piadine flatbread. Suitable for breads and cakes, Frassineto wholemeal flour and Sieve have managed to preserve their unique characteristics and we love to think that mother nature is helping us in our perpetual endeavour towards perfection.

In all of Italy, there isn’t a single place you wouldn’t dare dream to visit – from the metropolitan city of Milan and the charming medieval wonder of Orvieto to the sparkling sea and soft sands of Sicily. Dievole is located in the very centre of the Italian peninsula and therefore the perfect starting point for any wanderlust-fuelled escapade. While choosing the best slice of Italy is impossible, here are 8 of the best places to visit in Italy this summer.

Positano

The beautiful Fornillo beach is one of the best places to visit in Italy Ph. Radu Micu (Flickr CC)

The beautiful Fornillo beach Ph. Radu Micu (Flickr CC)

 

Lemon, cream, peach, and terracotta hued houses color the Lattari mountainside – located in the Campania region, this is one of the best places to visit in Italy. Positano in all its splendour can be seen from the volcanic black sands of Spiaggia Grande, the place to be for social life, restaurants and the bar scene. Discover quieter, more peaceful shorelines off the beaten path at Fornillo beach. You won’t want to miss it! As John Steinbeck once said, “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”

Mondello Beach, Sicily

A beautiful view of Mondello beach, one of the best places to visit in Italy Ph. Giovanni Tufo

A beautiful view of Mondello beach Ph. Giovanni Tufo (Flickr Creative Commons)

 

This little slice of tropical paradise is in the small village of Mondello, Sicily. The beach gets a bit crowded in the summertime with both locals and tourists but for good reasons: its mountainous views, sunshine, and the sparkling turquoise of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This beach is a prime vacation spot for swimmers as well as families with kids.

Capri

A view from one of Capri's highest peaks Ph. Pikakoko (Flickr Creative Commons)

A view from one of Capri’s highest peaks Ph. Pikakoko (Flickr Creative Commons)

Discover the isle that has so long captivated lovers, writers, and poets. Capri is famed for the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) a sea cave where sun passes through the water illuminating the cave with blue reflection. It’s also the mythical isle in Homer’s Odyssey. Can you hear the sirens singing? Fall in love with Capri! There’s nowhere else in the world quite like it and that’s why we consider it one of the best places to visit in Italy.

Is Arutas, Sardinia

The quartz beach of Is Arutas Ph. Gomezdegomera (Flickr Creative Commons)

The quartz beach of Is Arutas Ph. Gomezdegomera (Flickr Creative Commons)

Unlike most beaches, Is Arutas doesn’t have sand. Instead, smooth quartz crystals of white, pink and green sparkle in the sun casting a stunning ombre effect on the water. Baby blues and sea foam greens fade to deep ceruleans in the depths of the Tyrrhenian Sea. As soon as the water hits the sand, it’s already pretty deep. Is Arutas is a prime spot for surfers.

Florence (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Florence is one of the best places to visit in Italy Ph Antonio Cinotti (Flickr Creative Feedback)

Florence: must we say more? Ph. Antonio Cinotti (Flickr Creative Feedback)

Florence is a dream and it is quite unanimously considered one of the best places to visit in Italy. Bustling cobblestone streets, relaxing sunset vistas, and the river Arno running through them is enough to make us want to stay forever. With the timeless architecture by Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, modern frescoes by Tiziano Lucchesi, and street art by Clet Abraham and Blub – you’re guaranteed to find something wonderful at the turn of every corner. Whether you decide to stroll through this creative haven or not, Florence lives, breathes, and moves on. There’s art to be created and life to be lived; it’s a world definitely worth discovering – the perfect day-trip during your stay at Dievole!

Siena (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Siena's iconic Piazza del Campo Ph. Kok Chih & Sarah Gan (Flickr Creative Commons)

Siena’s iconic Piazza del Campo Ph. Kok Chih & Sarah Gan (Flickr Creative Commons)

 

Just South of Florence beyond Chianti lies Italy’s largest medieval beauty, Siena. The city was built on three hills and has three sloping main roads that intersect at Piazza del Campo, the heart of Sienese life. Locals and tourists alike soak up the sun and enjoy this space. It’s also famous for the Palio di Siena, an intense horse race where a horse can win even if his jockey has been knocked off. Every year the Palio takes place on July 2 and Aug. 16, two exceptional dates to visit!

(Check out this scene from the James Bond film Quantum of Solace for a sneak peek at the Palio).

Alberobello (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Trulli as far as the eye can see! Ph. Alfonso Minervino (Flickr Creative Commons)

Trulli as far as the eye can see! Ph. Alfonso Minervino (Flickr Creative Commons)

Ever stayed in a trullo? Here in Alberobello, that’s the best way to go. Trulli are white houses with cone-shaped stone roofs. The town is filled with them making this dreamy town seem too good to be true! The town museum, Museo del Territori, is a curious construction of ten trulli put together. In addition to being one of the best places to visit in Italy, Alberobello is also known for its specialty shops of artisan lace, pottery and dried fruit.

Cala Violina, Grosseto

Breathe in the pure sea air Ph. alessandra elle (Flickr Creative Commons)

Breathe in the pure sea air Ph. alessandra elle (Flickr Creative Commons)

 

If after a relaxing stay at Dievole you feel like taking in some sea breeze, just a few hours away from our estate you can take refuge in Cala Violina, which is said to be the most beautiful beach of the Maremma and – some dare say – all of Tuscany. It’s a secret crescent moon cove in the Gulf of Follonica where the crystal blue water and soft white sands remain unspoiled. Cala Violina is part of the Bandite di Scarlino Nature Reserve, and you’ll find very few tourists here if any at all. Keep in mind, its beauty remains because it is visited by so few, and those who do hold it very near and dear to their hearts. Please leave the beach as you found it!

 

Text by Angela Sanders

With 14,000 bottles in the Latitude20 wine cellar, nearly 100 specialists interviewed for its multimedia content, and a panoramic view of the city of Bordeaux in France, the wait is finally over: La Cité du Vin, the world’s largest wine museum, is open for its inaugural season – and its store features Dievole wine amongst just a few hundred hand-selected for this prestigious space.

La Cité du Vin from La Cité du Vin on Vimeo.

Drawing inspiration from theme parks and museums while adopting the traditional forms of neither, La Cité du Vin is the world’s largest cultural center devoted to wine. It aims to celebrate the spirit of wine in each of its guises: the sculptor of landscapes, the heart of society, inspiration for the arts, link between peoples, mythological and sacred wine, and the joys of sharing.

Owned by the city of Bordeaux, it’s the only facility of its kind tailored for a global audience. To make this possible, La Cité du Vin created trilingual signage and hand-held guides in eight different languages. Far larger than the current Italian wine museums, the facility offers something for everyone from first-timers to wine connoisseurs.

Discover La Cité du Vin

One of the wonderful rooms of La Cite Du Vin Wine Museum.

One of the wonderful rooms of La Cite Du Vin Wine Museum.

Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières, Parisian architects XTU, designed the modern edifice of La Cité du Vin to be reminiscent of wine swirling in a glass. Step inside, and experience the imaginary world of wine. The facility includes:

Gorgeous viewsThe 35-meter-high belvedere offers an unbeatable way to experience fine wines with a panoramic view of Bordeaux and the surrounding area. With the help of a professional, visitors can choose from a daily selection of 20 world wines to taste and discover.

Live performances and cinema—There’s an auditorium, seating 250 people, for performances, concerts, screenings, conferences and debates.

Temporary exhibitions—The hall of columns, nearly 700 square-meters in size, is designed to host two cultural exhibitions per year and one exhibition by a guest wine region every summer. It will also display works of art from the greatest museums across the globe.

La Cite du Vin - Flickr 2

Dining—Dine at the panoramic restaurant on the seventh floor and Latitude20 where you’ll find the wine cellar housing 14,000 bottles of wine from more than 80 countries across the world. Régis Deltil, a Bordeaux wine merchant, Andréas Larsson, World’s Best Sommelier 2007, and Michel Rolland have curated the selection.

Tasting workshops—Three tasting areas offer an immersive multi-sensory space and educational workshops. Discover the diverse themes hidden in wine and grape varieties.

Travel by river—A 90 meter pontoon secured to the banks of the Garonne river allows boats to tie up closer to La Cité du Vin. Water shuttles also enable visitors to explore vineyards along the river.

Shopping—The 250 square-meter boutique concept store offers a selection of books, limited edition items, and wine-related gifts. Be on the lookout for Dievole products, the perfect way to indulge.

citevin3

Reading room—The reading room offers a wide scope of wine-related materials printed in multiple languages. Discover how wine has affected societies and regions of the globe for millennia, from 6000 BC to the present day.

Gardens—The gardens are freely accessible (as they should be!) creating a link between La Cité du Vin, the Garonne river and the vine’s wild origins.

Dievole is honored to be featured at this revolutionary, world-class establishment.

 

Text by Angela Sanders