Italy-Part 4-Life on the Run and Singing for Dinner


Market Day – Montevarchi

OK loyal readers, are you worn out yet?  From arrival day forward, my body and mind were mixed up with the time and day plus I was riding a roller coaster of emotions.  I went from alertness to excitement to exertion, to minimal restfulness, back to anticipation and more excitement. So as we roll into our 4th day, an early foggy morning, I was in a bit of a daze, but knew I’d perk up later at the market.

We had all (now a total of 13) agreed to meet and caravan to the open-air market in Montevarchi with Mimma and Franca in the lead.  On arrival day we had added a mother and daughter to the group, as they were sharing the accommodations.  At our olive oil tasting we added five more travelers who happen to be staying on the properties of the Tuscan Mammas.

The Beauty of the Market

At the market we shopped and tasted our way through.  The freshest produce, meats and cheeses were displayed as beautiful live artwork, and the tasting added another dimension.   I will let the pictures speak for themselves, since I’m saving my energy for Part 5-Swooning for Dario-the famous butcher with a bountiful meat locker!

Our special treat – stuffed olives

We also strolled through the city to shop and purchase quality balsamic vinegar at the best price, along with truffle oil and honey with truffle.

Antica Drogheria Banchelli Enoteca

After the purchases something clicked in my head….worries arose…along with  Tortas, Cantucci and Vin Santo, olive oil, and other little gifties…will my suitcase now be over 50 lbs?  We have 3 more days to go…oh no!

We had to leave Montevarchi in a hurry to get to our pottery shop in Radda in Chianti before we headed to our next wine tasting, cooking lesson and dinner.

Ceramiche Rampini-hand painted ceramics

After more purchases, that involved shipping, we were, off to our wine tasting with Franca….

Vines of Podere Ciona


Wine tasting and prepping our dinner

slicing and dicing


Crostoni ai funghi

Ribollita Toscana (White bean soup)

Peposo di Impruneta (Tuscan stew) served with Polenta

Pere al vino rosso with Zabaglione

Appetizer – Crostoni ai funghi

While dinner cooked, we had time to take a walk and see the Tuscan sunset. 

When we returned, our stew was still cooking, so we were instructed by Mimma, Franca, Lele and Elissa (our Tuscan Mammas) that we were to come up with a song and a story to share before dinner.  Lucky for us the group had expanded to include a very nice man with a beautiful voice, who happened to be a singer in a band.  We worked out a brief introductory poem, praising our wonderful hosts, and sang “When You Say Nothing At All,” a song from the soundtrack of the movie “Notting Hill.”  We worked hard for our dinner.  Of course, the wine helped fuel our enthusiasm and entertainment spirit.  There is no recording of this little show that I am aware of….thank goodness!

Dinner was served

Ribollita toscana (white bean/cannellini with greens)


Peposo con polenta- (Tuscan stew)

Pere al vino rosso and Zabaglione (Drunken pear)

Recipe for Zabaglione

Zabaglione is a light custard made with egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine. It is whipped to incorporate a large amount of air.  Mimma whipped our’s on the stove top in a sauce pan by hand.  It was delicious!

Ingredients – Serves 4

4 egg yolks

100 gr. caster sugar

1/2 egg shell of sweet white wine-Marsala or Vin Santo


Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes white.

Add the wine and cook, whisking constantly in a “bain marie” until thick and frothy.

Do not boil the mixture or the yolks will curdle.

Set aside to cool.

Spoon out when ready to serve-you can add whipped cream.

This was a true Autumn Tuscan feast!

For the Happy Travelers it was another jam-packed, fun day filled with Italian culture, foods, wines, shopping, cooking and dining with friends.  Now…which direction will be heading tomorrow? 

Respectfully, Susan

5 thoughts on “Italy-Part 4-Life on the Run and Singing for Dinner

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