Story by Giulia Scarpaleggia

I’ve been living in the Tuscan countryside since I was born, in the same house where my father was born and my grandmother was born. Tuscany is my daily life and the landscape I see from my bedroom window each morning. My primary and strongest passions are the English language and foreign countries.. I’ve always loved travelling and discovering new countries and new cultures through their culinary traditions and people. When I am abroad, I am often asked about my country, our typical wine and food, nature and small villages sitting at the top of the hills. I started seeing my home land through the eyes of foreigners and I discovered a new point of view, new colours, fresh and primitive emotions, genuine flavours and tantalizing scents. I deeply fell in love with the vision that foreigners have of Tuscany. Each day I discover a new sight, a new traditional dish, brand new sensations, interesting and true people: I live my experience of Tuscany with the enthusiasm of a child.

I live between Siena and Florence, near the Chianti area, in a small village. I love to call my hamlet village because it sounds poetic, bucolic, it almost tastes of milk, of freshly cut grass, of washing hung out under the sun. I still live there with my parents, my younger sister and my grandma. We have a small vegetable garden: my grandmother has the green thumb and she grows our own vegetables, especially in spring and summer: delicate lettuce, artichokes, strawberries, zucchini and tomatoes.

Talking about food, Tuscany for me is bread without salt; it’s a good extra virgin olive oil; it’s a meat grill with friends; it’s roasted chicken with potatoes and wild fennel; it’s Siena panforte and Florence schiacciata; it’s rosemary and sage”¦but mainly, Tuscany for me is grandma Marcella's cooking. My favourite dish is fresh home made pasta. Grandma taught me the basics, the movements and the patience. Grandma lent me indefinitely the pasta maker to roll out pasta, the very same pasta maker that my Grandad gave her more than twenty years ago. Now, grandma looks at me proudly when I roll out the fresh pasta and says: “you’re very good at making fresh pasta, dear! But now it’s time for you to learn how to make cream puffs as well. You’re not yet good enough at baking them yet!”.

About the author: Giulia Scarpaleggia is a writer and she is passionate about Tuscan food. Giulia also has a food blog.