Italy take two is a blog I started writing just over a year ago, highlighting my families trials and triumphs of moving to Florence, Italy for a year. I am conflicted on many levels, as our year has come to an end. On one hand I am happy to go back to Australia and re-start my life of cooking, seeing friends, walking on sandy beaches and enjoying the Sydney lifestyle, while on the other hand I am sorry to see life as I have known it for the past year being wound up and put away as a memory of the past.
The boys and I flew back to Australia a week ago and I find myself sitting at my parents’ home in Tasmania by the heater on this cold winters day, looking out over the hills of Launceston and thinking to myself…I have so much more to say about our life in Florence, places to tell future travellers about and photos I want to share. So while I am now back in the land of Oz, I want to dedicate the next few posts to the favourite places and spaces I have grown to love about my year living in the Tuscan hills in a small village called Ponte a Mensola.
Food as many regular readers will know, is one of my favourite topics to photograph and talk about. It doesn’t have to be the latest gourmet meal I’ve eaten or a restaurant that’s in all the travel magazines, it just has to be good, honest food that tantalizes taste buds and makes you want to get in the kitchen and cook, or at the very least be cooked for.
Caffé Desiderio is situated in the small town of Settignano (take the number 10 bus all the way to the last stop) and was the place we chose to have our last family meal together. The owners, Michele and his lovely wife, are wonderful hosts, who are extremely welcoming and have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Tuscan food and wine. Not only can they cook delicious, traditional Tuscan food, but they also source the highest quality ingredients that make even the simplest of dishes taste divine. I have eaten at Caffé Desiderio a few times throughout the year and have always looked forward to a return visit. It is here that I must mention Michele’s unique understanding of Italian wines. His wine list is big and bold; and for anyone who thinks they know about Italian wine he is the man you need to meet. Michele speaks beautiful English and can stand by your table for hours talking about how each bottle was crafted. For our last night we lashed out on a beautiful 2010 Barolo that Michele paired with our meal and with each sip it kept opening to new levels as the night went on.
We started our meal with a selection of antipasti to wet any carnivore’s palette: cured meats, pickled vegetables, delicious marinated prunes to accompany the fennel-studded salami (so, so good!), just to name a few. It’s about now that you wish your kids didn’t have a developing palette and empty bellies, alas we did share and they loved every last bite, especially the cured meats.
Now I could talk about every dish with glee, however, I think you should just go and experience it for yourself and enjoy the wonderful selection they have on offer. The menu changes regularly and there are often wine and food nights for a set price. You can checkout Caffé Desiderio’s Facebook page for up and coming events and you might even be lucky enough to try the donkey ragu pasta Max spotted on the menu the night we dined.
I have to admit I was a little stunned that he was so intrigued to eat donkey; however, I was also wondering what the flavour was going to be like…
It was delicious, morish and reminded me of wild boar a little. Max devoured it before I could take a second bite and then tried to eat my delicious, robustly flavoured tomato pasta! It was here that I pulled out the promise of dessert!
I’d like to tell you I have photos of the créme caramel and cassata cake, however, I was too busy polishing off a plate of eggs served with chorizo and lardon that tasted as if there was a party in my mouth. It is here I leave you with a photo of the lovely Michele himself and (hopefully) an eager desire to pop Cafe Desiderio on your list of ‘places to eat’ when you arrive in Florence, I can promise you, you won’t be disappointed…oh and FYI they make the best coffee too!
Oh I can’t believe you have gone!! Where has the year gone!! Haven’t been blogging lately due to life getting in the way!! Sorry!
I know Jo…a year flys by!
I totally understand the lack of blogging, between moving countries, then States I have been dragging my feel also. However, I have a few more posts in me before I hang up the ‘pen’ so-to-speak. x
I have been thinking about you this month, that you journey will come to an end soon. Must be strange to go from italian summer to winter. The antipasti looks great 🙂 I am a little behind on reading a few posts but I plan to catch up. I really enjoyed reading your journey. I hope you won’t stop blogging. I am really interested in your days in Sydney 🙂 xoxo Fanni
Thank you for your kind words, sorry I have been so absent these past weeks. It is strange to be back into winter, yes! however, I will blog a little longer and be back in the blogger sphere once again x
Although you have left Florence, I hope you won’t stop writing. I enjoy following your blog! And seeing all the yummy food you photograph and cook!
Thank you Tania, I have a few more post here to write and then I will see what the future holds but I also hope there is room for more writing and photos!
I hope so!
I’ve been missing your posts! Thinking about how you must be pretty busy moving. Glad to have one more to chew on and look forward to however much of a wrap-up you feel you can write!
Wow, Launceston – straight back into winter, then?
Geez, thanks Bronwyn, it has been a bit crazy this past month with moving, packing, jet lag and house hunting but I think I am through the worst of it now. It is freezing in Lonny and I am craving fresh mozzarella right about now! I have so much reading to catch up on…
When you’re ready! Yes, jet lag – hadn’t factored that in. That must have knocked out a week or so all by itself.
You are home already? It’s been great to read your blog, looking forward to the best bits you still want to introduce!
Yes, can you believe it!? Thank you for your continued support of my blog, I really loved the company and support while living abroad and I look forward to a few more posts but now I have a lot of catch up reading to do!
You must have bittersweet feelings about returning to Oz, particularly in the thick of winter but a new chapter begins, that’s always exciting!
That’s right, I need a new chapter otherwise I’ll start living in the past, there is a whole world out there! 🙂
Welcome home. I’m sure it is bittersweet, and I am amazed how fast that year flew by!!! I have enjoyed every morsel with you!
Thank you! I’m so glad you were there with me…I look forward to reading about your trip on day 😉
Welcome home. Hope it’s nice to be back. I am sure Italy misses you. X
What wonderful memories you have to look back on as you step into your new chapter of life 🙂
Opened blog nor really expecting anymore! I was delighted to read about last meal out. Are you going to start new blog? You are such a good writer
I am back from a two month trip where some of the internet service was glitchy. although freezing in Melbourne, how good is it to catch up with some of my favpourite bloggers. Now pass over that Barolo.
Ha,ha! Good to have you back…I need to get back too! Hope you had a great time away