If, like me, you love a taste of Italy then Bookings For you and Giovannini have created the perfect offering…
Italy has got to be one of my favourite countries ever. Despite already visiting a good few times, both with kids and without, I would never ever turn down an opportunity to return. There is so much that keeps me wanting more; the beautiful countryside and picturesque towns and cities, the wonderful hospitality in hotels and restaurants – especially how friendly everyone seems to be towards children, and of course not forgetting the good stuff; the classic Italian food. I could honestly live the rest of my days on a diet of pizza, pasta, tricolour salads, parma ham, chicken Milanese…the list could go on and on! It is no secret that I love Italian cuisine.
So, when I was invited by Jo from Bookings For You, the Italian holiday villa specialists, to attend an Italian cookery masterclass taught by the Giovannini family, founders of Giovannini Enterprises, who were flying in from Tuscany for the occasion, I didn’t need asking twice!
This collaboration between Bookings For You and the Giovannini family hadn’t come about by chance, theirs is a relationship that has grown from a shared passion and love of the perfect Italian holiday experience.
Bookings For You, founded by Jo Mackay in 2011, has grown from an initial five properties in Italy to now having a vast portfolio of over 350 stunning holiday properties in some of Italy’s most beautiful regions, as well as more recently expanding into the South of France. As well as having an award winning level of customer service, the Bookings For You team have personally visited every property on their site and Jo works closely with property owners, such as the Giovannini family, to create seamless and memorable holidays.
The Giovannini family, have lived all their lives in the beautiful region of Tuscany and as well as owning the oldest pastry shop in the small town of Volterra – Dolceria del Corso, they also own a renowned catering company that has been the winner of countless awards throughout Europe. Not only that, but they also own a stunning villa – Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne – which is available to rent (it can be found on the Bookings For You website), and where they now have the opportunity to showcase their culinary talents for their guests in Tuscany. Giancarlo and his wife Fabiola are passionate about authentic Tuscan cuisine, and with their son Dario and his wife Vera on board, they really are a formidable team.
And so, on a cold and crisp Wednesday morning I headed off to see this amazing partnership in action. I joined a great group of bloggers to learn and get hands on with what sounded like the most wonderful menu.
Scroll (and drool!) your way through these pictures to give you a taste of what was a fantastic foodie fest! I honestly wish I could portray the amazing aromas through the internet somehow!
Before we started on anything else, the main course needed to be prepared. We were set to enjoy a slow roasted leg of wild boar. It looked very much like a leg of lamb, and Giancarlo and Fabiola treated it in pretty much the same way; making lots of incisions and filling them with a mixture of rosemary, sage, garlic and some lard. The meat was then seasoned, drizzled in olive oil, and tied.
Once the meat was in the oven, it was on to the antipasti. We were treated to three different types of bruschetta: Bruschetta Toscana (bread with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper), Bruschetta al Pomodoro (with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper) and Crostini con Fegatini (Chicken liver crostini). I have to say the Bruschetta Toscana was so simple but so amazing (it must be something to do with the all organic, all natural, extra virgin olive oil made from the olives grown at the family’s estate in Tuscany!)
Next we moved on the pasta course, or the Primi Piatti. We were set to enjoy both Ravioli Ricotta e Spinaci con Pomodorini Pachino e Basilico (homemade ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta cheese, and then topped with a basil and cherry tomato sauce) and Pici all Estrusca (homemade pasta with an egg, garlic, parsley, mint and basil sauce topped with pecorino cheese, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper).
I had a go at popping the filling on the long stretched out sheet of pasta, folding, and then cutting the ravioli – it was great fun!
Back to the Second Piatti; the Coscio di Cinghiale agli aromi con Olive (wild boar baked with olives) was ready to come out of the oven, and my goodness did it look and smell amazing! I am pleased to say that it tasted even better!
The vegetarian option was Malanzane all Parmigiana (stacked aubergine, cheese, tomato and basil). I was considering converting just so I could enjoy this dish!
And finally on to desert. We were treated to a live theatre experience of watching Giancarlo create the signature pastry from the Dolceria del Corso pastry shop in Voltera – the Millefoglie Creama Chantilly e Frutti di Bosco (traditional Italian cake with cream and berries). It was mesmerising to watch the cream being piped and the fresh fruit being expertly placed on top as decoration. And it tasted simply wonderful – so delicate and light. I could have easily eaten another! Also made right in front of us was a classic Tiramisu, but despite this being one of my favourite deserts, I had to admit defeat and stick with just one desert!
And so our day came to an end, I headed home feeling very happy, with a full belly and with a lovely selection of Italian goodies to take home and share with the rest of the family.
Being able to witness the first class organisation and hospitality of Jo from Bookings For You, and the kindness, skill and pure passion of the Giovannini family was such a treat, and I would wholeheartedly recommend them both to anyone looking for the perfect Italian escape.
If a beautiful villa in the stunning Tuscan countryside, with authentic Italian food cooked by a passionate local family sounds like your cup of tea, then the Villa Le Cappane, bookable via Bookings For You, should be top of your list.
Disclaimer: I was invited by Bookings for You to attend this Italian cookery masterclass, and given a goody bag, in return for writing this post. As always, all opinions are my own.