Rosso di Montalcino: The “Little Brother” Wine

Since I am headed for Tuscany tomorrow,  I especially enjoyed this article on wines from Montalcino in Tuscany.  The “Big Brother” is, of course, Brunello di Montalcino>

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Typical Tuscan Dishes for Your Eating Pleasure


Here is a list of the Top 10 Foods to eat in Tuscany as published by Tuscanycious.  These are all great and they require some bravery in tasting for those who have not tried them before.

Are these your favorite Tuscan foods?

Lucca: Capturing the Spirit of a Beautiful Area

Below is a lovely article on why Lucca is a great destination for A Tuscan Holiday:

An untrodden take on Tuscany: Looking beyond the Italian obvious in lovely Lucca Read more:

Lucca, Tuscany

Ordering an Espresso in Italy – Let me Count the Ways…

Any Italian will tell you where to find the best espresso in their town or village. They may even argue over their choices with families and friends (as each person has their own criteria and strong opinion)!

This is a passionate subject. Italians firmly believe that, no matter your status or means, you should always demand the best for yourself. This attitude is certainly evident when it comes to their favorite beverage, the thick and frothy caffé.

But it does not stop here: If you hang around a caffé for a couple of hours, you will get very confused over the many ways Italians order their favorite drink. I have thought of 10. Do you know of any others?

Un caffé “macchiato” (spotted): This is a request for an espresso with a quick shot of frothy milk (in a much smaller amount than that found in a cappuccino). Non-Italians beware: this is a very strong, small shot and true espresso. If you are used to the foreign versions of espresso, this may not be for you. You may want to order one of the versions listed below instead.

2. Un caffé “macchiato” (spotted): This is a request for an espresso with a quick shot of frothy milk (in a much smaller amount than that found in a cappuccino).

3. Un caffé “corretto” (corrected): This is more popular than you may think, especially among men. It is a request to “correct” the coffee with one’s favorite aquavit or liquor of choice, such as “corretto al rum, corretto al cognac, corretto al …” (you fill in the blanks).

4. Un caffé “basso” (low): You are asking for a version of espresso that sits low in the cup (less water) and a stronger result.

5. Un caffé” ristretto” (narrow or condensed): This is a condensed version of espresso with less water, essentially the same as a caffé basso (above).

6. Un caffé alto (high): This version must appear higher in the cup than a regular espresso hence entails more water than a normal single espresso and is less strong.

7. Un caffé lungo (long): This is basically the same as a Un caffé alto (above).

8. Un caffé doppio (double): This is similar to what you can order in the U.S. It is the equivalent of two doses of espresso in one cup. A few of these double whammies and you will walk and talk a lot faster.

9. Un caffé al vetro (in glass): You are ordering your espresso in a glass rather than in a ceramic tazzina (espresso cup).

10. Un caffé in tazza grande (in a large cup): You prefer your tiny shot of coffee in a large cup. This is very trendy at the moment.

Ciao a tutti, Serenella


Going to Italy? – Caffe’ “Shakerato” (Espresso Shake) Trend

Although shakerato can refer to a number of alcoholic drinks, “Caffe Shakerato” (caffay shake err ah toe) is a very trendy, thirst-quenching drink served during the hot months in Italy. I have often had people ask me how to make a true caffe shakerato since every caffe/bar in Italy seems to have a different version.

A well-known barrista in Lido di Camaiore swore to me that the only ingredients in a classic shakerato are freshly made, excellent espresso and ice (with sweetener – usually sugar and water in a syrup form – optional).

You can mix these ingredients in a martini shaker at home and shake until a (very) thick froth forms (that’s the secret). Then pour and enjoy.

Of course, every creative barrista in Italy, especially at the trendy bar/caffes, adds an artistic anevery creative barrista in Italy, especially at the trendy bar/caffes, adds an artistic and personal touch to the shakerato.d personal touch to the shakerato. Some add cream, gelato or liquers (like Baileys) to the drink. Decorations on top can include coffee beans, whipped cream, chocolate bits or chocolate swirls. I have seen caffe shakerato served in everything from coffee cups to martini glasses, champagne flutes and parfait cups.

There is nothing to stop you from experimenting and coming up with your own original Caffe Shakerato recipe. Let me know how it goes and please feel free to share your recipes with us.

Ciao, Serenella