My Eat Paint Cook Tour of Tusany has begun and we are off to a great start! We began our tour by visiting a small nearby town called Castellina in Chianti. It’s a cute walled city and has quite a few picturesque corners, and shopping. There’s a great pizza place right on the Main Street where you can eat outside and yummy gelato (a real plus in my book!) I wasn’t able to take my group here last time, so it was a real treat to go back after being away for a couple of years. Every year, the trip is slightly different due to logistics and weather. As group leader, I get to plan our locations, so I always make an effort to cull the best experiences from past years, and work them into our week.
Our first full day included a trip to Castellina in Chianti. It was partly sunny and often overcast, but we made up for it with some tasty treats on the street…and yes, the food is as delicious as it looks! Our home base of San Fedele serves primarily organic locally produced food without butter. Our chef is almost a radical in this realm…he only uses olive oil as his fat and no butter. For a girl who enjoys butter, what’s most surprising is I don’t even miss it!
Pizza on the street in Castellina.
Today in town I managed a quick sketch before it rained. Painting on location is also referred to as “plein air”. It can be a challenge, but I always maintain that if you really want to SEE something, DRAW it. I promise that if you do, you will never forget it. While drawing the sketch below, the cyclists returned and took their bikes away. That’s why it’s always a great idea to take a photo immediately when you begin a sketch. Taking another picture when something changes can be helpful too. There were no shadows when I drew it, but I took this shot later in the day when the sun began to shine. I hope to add the shadows and the people to my sketch soon. I’ve saved some light areas that should allow for them to be inserted easily.
When we returned home from our outing, our chef Andrea Anichini was in the midst of preparations for dinner. Helping in the kitchen and Cooking classes are part of the fun here at San Fedele. Organic locally grown foods are the staple, and we eat and enjoy the best meals together. And of course, every Italian chef needs an appropriate apron! (the best 5 Euros I ever spent 😉
Speaking of artistry…Look at these beautiful starters!
Here is the plate up close…and this is only the first course! Without all the sulfites that are used to preserve wine in the bottle, we’ve all found we can enjoy much more wine without the usual consequences…that makes for some fun evenings!
Bobbi and Dave are here celebrating their romantic anniversary. We had first class entertainment on Sunday night. In honor of a family birthday, the lovely family which owns San Fedele gifted us with a party and some entertainment. It was such a fun filled night! A talented singer from Florence serenaded us all evening, and dancing and singing accompanied each course. Bobbi and Dave tore up the dance floor. =)
Barb and Rya are grandmother and granddaughter…here making memories for a lifetime. <3
My group this year is fantastic and it’s such a pleasure to show them my favorite spots in the area surrounding our home base. I can tell you it’s even better the second and third time you visit here, so if you have been here in years past, keep that in mind! If you’re thinking about joining me for the first time, there is not a prerequisite to be an artist, or a chef, but you must plan on bringing a positive attitude and a willing spirit. That is essential to group chemistry, and makes everyone’s experience a good one.
I have many more adventures to share with you, and you can join us by following this blog. The new posts can come right to your inbox by typing in your email into the box where it says “subscribe to this blog”on the side of this page. Better yet, you can join me next year for what will be another opportunity to make your own memories of Tuscany. The brochure is available now following this link:
You can register today by following the links in the brochure. Early registration is best, because space is limited.
As always, I am hoping this year’s trip will be an opportunity to Share Love, Spread Light, and DO ART! It’s part of everything I try to do…Stay Tuned and Stay in Touch <3