By Nancy Smorch
My husband and I just returned from Tuscany. I have had an intense desire to go to Italy for quite some time. Every time I would imagine being in Italy, I would feel a strong pull in my heart - I knew I must visit this place and feel, first hand, the energy of the birth place of the Renaissance and the Slow Food Movement and home to the most divine food in the world! My husband happened upon Casa Fabbrini, a 17th century farmhouse owned and operated by Paola and Giorgio Fabbrini, in his online search for a place to stay, and it appeared to be exactly what we were looking for. This place far exceeded our expectations in every way and my experience of Italy left me wanting more!
My daughter asked me what was the biggest thing I came away with from Italy and I have to say that it is an even greater appreciation for the perfection of good food and a deep respect of the land and the hands that nurture it. I came back incredibly inspired and I have used this gift to create and increased level of energy and creativity around the food I prepare for my family and friends. And I have a renewed sense of joy when shopping for the ingredients that go into our meals. This inspiration has also flowed into my visions for our property and our farm - in terms of the care and nurturing of the food we are currently growing as well as the food we will be growing.
Where did this inspiration come from? The food in Italy - especially the food we experienced at Casa Fabbrini was amazing! It really wasn’t anything too complicated - I think it was just that the quality of the ingredients that went into the meals and the passion and effort with which they were prepared truly made the difference. You see, they don’t have genetically modified plants in Italy, and much of the food was grown right on the property. The olive oil which was used in everything from the scrambled eggs with truffles in the morning to the tomatoes and cheese for a snack to the eggplant and pasta for dinner, was produced from the olives grown right on Casa Fabrini’s property. Paola feels as if the olive trees are her own children - her babies - and she talks to the trees as she nurtures them along. And, this past year their olive oil won an award in Europe. It seriously was the best olive oil I have ever tasted!!! And, have a conversation with Giorgio about grapes and wine and how he prepared the evening’s dinner, and you can’t help but feel his passion for good food and wine - and it shows in the dinners he prepares for his guests.
A drive through the Tuscan country side is an experience in itself. It was one photo opportunity after another - beautiful centuries old farm houses, vineyards, olive groves, and farms, beautifully arranged and nurtured. And out of this region comes, as I said earlier some of the world’s most amazing food. The long term vision, the discipline, the knowledge, and the appreciation of good food that the locals possess is not only evident in the whole Italian food experience, but is incredibly infectious.
Italy not only didn’t let me down; it raised my standards even more.