In the "middle of nowhere" in the hills of Tuscany is a working farm which doubles as a Bed and Breakfast.
Pieve a Salti is spread over 700 acres. Seven refurbished buildings house the farm's visitors.
This year Randy and I are above the kitchen.
Each morning we are awakened by the smell of fresh croissants.
Spotted a "movie star" at breakfast. He got his food then sat outside with his back to us. I think he was attempting to be anonymous, but I came face to face with him when he came into the breakfast room and asked for salt. He smiled at me in a charming way as if to say, “You recognize me; yes, I am who you think I am.” He is probably in his 60’s now. Might have been in some James Bond type film. Wish I had a picture of him, then you could help me figure out just who he was.
Speaking of food; in the evenings we bus a mile up the road to the restaurant for our five course, two hour, Tuscan dinner experience. I'll have to admit I really look forward to these. The food here is amazing. This year we were able to coerce the chief into printing up the soup recipes for us. So here they are for you - just as he gave them to us.
(Tomato Bread Soup)
4 garlic cloves, 2 basil leaves, 1 kg of peeled tomatoes (just over 2 lbs.), 2 dl of extra virgin olive oil (about 3/4 cup), 500 gr of stale bread (about 1 pound), salt and pepper
Clean the garlic and smash it. Put it in a pan with the olive oil. Let brown the garlic and add the peeled tomatoes. Let it cook for 15 minutes, salt it and add some pepper, cut the bread and add it to the sauce. Let it boil for 30 minutes. Add the basil that you cut before, let it boil for another 5 minutes.
Zuppa di fagioli
2 celeries, 1 kg of golden onion (5 small onions), 1/2 kg (about 1 lb.) of beans (to soak the day before), 300 gr (a little over 1/2 lb.) of tomato pulp, 1/2 glass of extra virgin olive oil, salt, 1 liter of broth, 8 slices of toasted bread.
Boil the beans. Chop the onion and celery and brown with 1/2 glass of oil. Once they are golden add the tomato pulp and cook it for 15 min. Add half entire beans and the other on half smooth. Add broth and cook for 40/45 minutes.
Serve with toasted bread and add a dash of olive oil.
There is an indoor pool by our rooms; I’ve been in that pool each year we have come.
The outdoor pool way down by the restaurant has been calling me. I have seen it every Tuscany day on four trips here. It looks SO inviting, but is a ways out of the way and some years the weather has been a bit on the chilly side. But today... Randy actually had a morning off! A first for Drake Workshop. The bus was heading to the restaurant for those who signed up for a cooking class. Randy and I hopped the bus with our water gear in hand and spent the morning swimming in the COLD, ABSOLUTELY CLEAR swimming pool. Took my breath away at first, but you know me, I’m a cold water girl, and it didn’t take long for me to adjust.
And who can beat the surrounding Tuscan landscape!
P.S. I saw the movie star again. Got up the gumption to ask him if he was in the movies and what his name might be. He told me he was traveling "incognito" and wouldn't even give me a hint. I'll have to admit that if I wanted to get away and be anonymous, this would be a good place (until some nosey American asks me who I am!) Some day I will see his face in a movie and figure this all out!