Most who travel to Tuscany have their hearts set on views of rolling hills, plates of handmade pasta, and glass after glass of amazing wine. But some want more than that. Some want walks through the countryside to see the details of the landscape, they want to learn how to make the pasta themselves, and they want to take in the view not from a tour bus window but from a local’s dinner table.
Excited to see what else lay ahead, we hopped back in the van and drove to a local’s home in San Casciano, where the beautiful Lucrezia welcomed us with a big smile and walked us through her countryside garden (as an adorable puppy followed on her heels). I tried to ask the pup if he knew how lucky he is, but he just plopped over on his side, asking for a belly rub, ‘figures…
It wasn’t long before Lucrezia and her boyfriend had us aproned-up and getting our hands dirty. We prepared tagliatelle pasta with pesto and ravioli filled with creamy ricotta and chives. For dessert, a summer strawberry twist on the classic tiramisu! There were plenty of laughs along with the labor (mostly laughs directed at me- there were a few “kitchen faux paus” that I’m not proud of)!
After all the work preparing recipes that Lucrezia had learned from her grandmother, we stepped outside to relax into the evening with a glass of absolutely delicious prosecco, selected by Lucrezia (a sommelier). This prosecco was the best I’ve ever tasted, made from the highest altitude grapes in Italy. To accompany the bubbles, we tasted olive oil fresh from Lucrezia’s family farm in Puglia- the flavors were so bold, fresh, and vibrant, with a zingy kick at the end!
Finally, it was time to enjoy all our preparations! Every bite was more than delicious. Truly exceptional flavors combined for a memorable meal topped only by the entertainment- a private opera performance by three outstanding, professional musicians! We all had chills from being in the presence of such talent and passion.
More than just a beautiful and memorable evening, this was the result of three different groups of people who each had a passion, a dream, and the guts to go after it. Lucrezia, our hostess, dreamt of combining her passions for both music and cooking, the musicians dreamt of spending their lives sharing their talent, and Sierra, founder of Creative Edge Travel, dreamt of helping people connect with locals on a deeper level and have more meaningful and authentic travel experiences in Italy. After a deep-dive discussion with the opera musicians, it was clear that this was a one-of-a-kind experience that left everyone fulfilled and inspired!