Archive for March, 2011

Good Tastes of Tuscany, at the “Metro Cooking & Entertainment Show” Washington DC November 2010

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Good Tastes of Tuscany, at the “Metro Cooking & Entertainment Show” Washington DC November 2010

Florence (PRWEB) November 6, 2010

Good Tastes of Tuscany… a “Cooking Class with a difference”, will be showcasing its culinary programs and cooking talents at the Metro Cooking & Entertainment Show to be held at Washington Convention Center, Washington DC , USA from November 13-14th 2010.

There are thousands of cookery treats and giveaways in store for the customers who visit the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show. They include several hundred exhibitors; live cooking demonstrations, tasting workshops, food and wine pairings, celebrity events, events for kids and various food and wine related seminars. There are general admissions and special ticketed events.

Good Tastes of Tuscany can be found at Stand # 704 where they can provide information on their wine tours, olive oil tours, and most importantly their popular cooking classes that include Single day, Multiple Day and a 7 Day Culinary Adventure. They will be doing “live demonstrations” of fresh pasta making giving you just a ‘taste’ of what they offer in Tuscany during our classes.

Encompassing the old with the new, blending modern cooking technology with ancient culinary wisdom has been the principle on which this cooking school has operated from the kitchens of a wine and olive oil farm called the Villa Pandolfini Estate, located near Florence in Tuscany Italy.

In keeping with the times, the Good Tastes of Tuscany by Connextions Group Inc can be followed on facebook, twitter and their recent technological foray is the free application ‘Tuscan Foods’ which can be downloaded free onto your iPhone.

The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show is open to the public from 10am to 7pm on Saturday, November 13, 2010 and from 10am to 5 pm on Sunday November 14, 2010.

For additional information

Massimo Brogi

Connextions Group Inc

Suite 500, 2825 East Cottonwood Parkway,

Salt Lake City , UT 84121, USA

Phone: (801) 606 -2843



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San Gimignano Joe Sambataro 17.0 by 13.0 inches Art Print on Paper

San Gimignano Joe Sambataro 17.0 by 13.0 inches Art Print on Paper

  • Title San Gimignano
  • Artist Sambataro
  • Paper Size 17.0 by 13.0 inches

To Quality fine art print, Image size: 17.00, 13.00 (inches) Paper Size: 17.00, 13.00, (Inches)

List Price: $ 17.00


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San Gimignano

San Gimignano


San Gimignano

List Price: $ 0.99


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Endangered Whites

Endangered Whites

“ABC”, anything but chardonnay, was a term readily bandied about the wine world a few years ago.  To some extent justifiably so, given some of the insipid and over-oaked wines produced from the queen of white varietals. Chardonnay, thankfully, is on the road to redemption. Driving this shift is that many chardonnay producers – especially those typically classified in the “value” category, today are making better wines than ever from this prolific grape.

Contributing to its perennial hold on white wine dominance is that the chardonnay grape has been planted widely in wine-growing regions previously dominated by indigenous varietals, such as Italy’s Alto Adige. So while all this has been good for chardonnay consumers, sadly, varietals that were just beginning to be recognized, that is consumers began exploring and buying them, run the risk of falling back into the relative obscurity from where they originated. This means that only the locals, and a few aficionado’s of the vanishing varietals, can find or bother to uncork them.

When was the last time you pulled a bottle of gruner veltliner, or one of Italy’s “three V’s” – vernaccia, vermentino, or verdicchio, from your merchant’s shelf, or ordered a bottle at the local bistro? As I suspected.  I don’t buy enough of the “lost varietals” either. Shame on both of us. These are delicious and distinctive wines, worthy of our wine consumer dollars, but we continue to wallow in a “big three” rut (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio ) when it comes to white wines. 

I remember not so long ago while on a wine shopping excursion asking a friend whether he had tried a particular gruner veltliner and he replied, “I never drink anything I can’t spell.”  Ouch! That hurt. After all, this wasn’t trockenbeerenauslese, or even gerwurtztraminer. For those of you who haven’t tried the delicious “V” varietals lately (or at all), they have improved remarkably in the last few years.  A little about these wines and some producers to look for. Note: Producer recommendations are based on wide-distribution and those I have tasted. Check with your retailer for options in your area. Also, better Italian restaurants will have the vermentino, vernaccia, and verdicchio on their list. Go ahead, explore!

Gruner Veltliner (groon-er velt-line-er).

The most widely planted white varietal from Austria, and grown successfully in many Eastern European vineyards, gruner veltliner is a mouthwatering, light to medium-bodied, slightly spicy wine that is especially food friendly. It’s surprising that this varietal isn’t getting a lot more play given that it is a current darling of sommeliers in the finest restaurants in this country and abroad. Top producers include: Winzer Krems, Familie Brandl and Laurenz.

Vernaccia (ver-notz-zee-ah).

It is almost impossible to visit Tuscany, especially the medieval, 11th century, walled-city of San Gimignano, and not have enjoyed a chilled bottle of one of Italy’s earliest varietals, vernaccia. Like any number of Italy’s wines, it is only in the past ten years, that vernaccia is being produced in what could be considered a consistent style. The better labels are rich and full-bodied, often redolent of almonds with a slightly bitter finish. Travelers to Tuscany enjoy many fine examples of vernaccia in the tiny village cafes and trattoria’s in and around Florence; unfortunately, there are only a few dozen producers who ship vernaccia to America, but they are certainly worth seeking out. Here are the best from the region generally available in the US: Vincenzo Cesani, Falchini, and Carpineto. 

Vermentino (ver-men-teen-oh). If there is a single white varietal, and for that matter a single wine region that has most excited me in the last few years, it is vermentino from Sardinia. While this grape is grown in a number of regions throughout Italy, it is the vermentino from the island of Sardegna, as the Italians refer to it, that has ignited so much interest in this previously ignored wine growing region. It is one of the more aromatic wines you may ever encounter, with intoxicating scents of wild fennel and sage, especially from the northeasterly scrub-covered and rocky terrain vineyards of the Gallura peninsula. On the palate, the wine often resembles the malvasia grape, with its melon and lemon flavors. Vermentino’s crisp acidity is an incredible match to most simple seafood preparations and this is the wine I look for when ordering a Caesar Salad to alternately contrast and complement the anchovy-laced dressing. 

Outstanding value vermentino producers include: Argiolas, Antinori, and Cantina Santadi.  

Verdicchio (ver-dee-key-oh). Indigenous to the Marches (mar-kay) region of central Italy and bordering the eastern coastal area of the Adriatic Sea, this subtle green-hued white, at its best, is elegantly dry and crisp. Most of the better vineyards are planted inland from the sea along the foothills of the rugged Apennine mountain range where, until recently, they produced mouth-puckering, overtly acidic wines sold in fish shaped bottles. Verdicchio’s have a distinctive nose of pine and flavors of apple and pear, and not unlike vernaccia, a somewhat bitter almond finish. In the hands of a new generation of winemakers, this is a varietal that has shed its once tarnished image and is worth revisiting, especially as a match to shellfish and most simple, grilled, unadorned fish dishes. Look for these producers: Falesco, Saterelli, and Bucci.

Eat, drink and be merry!


Naples Wine News is another step in a three decade long journey in the world of wine for its founder, Bruce Nichols. First introduced to the hospitality industry as a teenager in a summer job, Bruce worked in restaurants and hotels through high school and college. In the 1980’s, in his position as Director of Restaurants for Sheraton Hotels, based in San Francisco, Bruce served as wine buyer, conducted wine education programs and hosted California winery owners and winemakers, and worked with syndicated wine writers, Leon Adams and Jerry Mead.

Over the next two decades, Bruce managed the corporate food service program for a global financial company while consulting on wine programs for independent restaurants and developing and conducting wine education classes.

Fast forward to late 2004, Bruce retired to beautiful Naples, Florida. In 2006, Naples Wine News was born and “A Nichols Worth of Wine”, was introduced to Naples and surrounding community wine enthusiasts through his internet-based, on-line publication

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The Benefits Of Visiting Rural Tuscany

The majority of people who visit Tuscany see Florence and Pisa as the predominant attractions and fail to recognise that the rural localities of the region as a tourist attraction in their own right. This countryside paradise, full of wonderful farm buildings and beautiful medieval towns and villages should form part of any trip itinerary when in Tuscany; it is simply too good to miss. Most consider this to be the real Tuscany, a landscape of rolling hills interspersed by farm buildings, vineyards and terracotta houses.

Holidays spent travelling round the sumptuous Tuscan countryside are relaxing in extremis; allowing visitors to completely unwind and forget about work and life at home. Visitors may choose to watch the world go by sitting at a local cafe sipping the great wine or coffee, or may wish to sit atop one of the many hillsides purveying the glorious scenery. Holidays in this part of the world are all about relaxation and rejuvenation, winding down to the local way of life and simply, taking it easy.

For the chance to sample the fine cuisine and wines of Italy Tuscany is a must visit destination. The Tuscan cuisine is heavily focussed on meat dishes even though the countryside is predominantly used for arable farming. The dishes include steaks and pork cooked in a traditional way and accompanied by fresh, juicy seasonal vegetables. Locals think of nothing of spending hours at the dinner table conversing and enjoying both each other’s company and the great food; for travellers, doing the same is a vital experience.

Italy is famed for its wine and has been since at least the Roman age. Thankfully Tuscany is exactly the same and is intensely proud of its wine making heritage. The farm complexes and affixed vineyards in most cases are happy to welcome tourists on tasting trips to sample their wares. A large number of wines are produced in the region although the most famous variety is Chianti. Chianti from Tuscany is considered by many to be the perfect tipple to complement the meat dishes and a great way to understand the Tuscan culture.

The rural regions of Tuscany are in most instances, picture perfect. Rolling hills dotted with quaint farm buildings at the centre of richly coloured farmland. The crops gently sway in the wind while the cypress trees that border the fields give a vista that is impossible to find anywhere else in the world. In many cases it is like stepping back in time for tourists to a simpler, less stressful age. The rural localities can be considered perfect for holidays whether travelling as a couple or as a family. The scenery oozes romance while the wide open spaces give children the chance to play to their heart’s content. All this is accompanied by warm Mediterranean sun and glorious blue skies; some may argue that the word paradise simple does not do rural Tuscany justice.

In terms of accommodation there are a variety of choices for holidays. While Florence and Pisa are filled with large hotels, increasingly farm accommodation is becoming popular with tourists as it gives direct access to the marvellous interior. It is not just farm buildings but also castles are being converted into holiday complexes with swimming pools and places to undertake activities such as horse riding and cycling. In most cases these places are run by locals ensuring the warmest of welcomes and service with a personal touch.

The benefits of visiting rural Tuscany are hard to dispute. Tourists are guaranteed to return from their holidays, more relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated having sampled the best that the region has to offer. So for a unique and interesting holiday idea, consider rural Tuscany as the perfect destination.

Travel expert Thomas Pretty looks at the farm holidays Tuscany option for tourists who want the finer things in life.

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Tuscany – A Fantastic part of Italy

Tuscany is a fantastic part of Italy to choose for your next holiday. With so much to see and do, the biggest problem you’ll have to face will be deciding what to do first! From cities of art and culture, to the Chianti Vineyards, from the cosmopolitan beach resorts to holding up the leaning tower of Pisa, the beautiful, eclectic area of Tuscany in Italy offers it all.

My base was the seaside resort of Viareggio – very popular with Italians and fairly untouched by tourism from outside Italy, so you really know you are abroad. There are no fish and chips on offer here, but there are plenty of fabulous Italian cuisine fish dishes being a speciality. Most of the beaches in Viareggio are private, so are very well-kept, but beware – you may have to pay to use them if they’re not included in your hotel package. The area of Viareggio is also famous for the composer Puccini and in August they perform one of his operas at the lake side, outside his house – a must for any opera lovers!

Of course the most famous city in this area is Florence. Seeped in art history and home to the Uffizi museum, where the famous statue of David stands guard, join the well-dressed Florentines as you take a stroll over the Ponte Vecchio, admiring the jewellery. Take a walk through the beautiful Boboli gardens, with their ornamental lakes and palazzo. Art, history, shops and restaurants – this city really does offer something for everyone.

Then who could go to Tuscany and not have their photo taken whilst holding up the leaning tower of Pisa? Set in the Piazza dei Miracoli (“Square of Miracles”), together with the baptistery and the cathedral, where it is believed Galileo formed his theory of pendulum movement by watching the lamp swinging from the nave. The square is a tourist hub and full of stalls where you can buy your very own tower to take home!

Italy holidays don’t stop here. A must-visit is the medieval town of Siena, situated in the Tuscan hills and built around three hills coming together in the Piazza del Campo – home to the famous Palio horserace. Another great location is San Gimignano – my personal favourite – with a skyline dominated by 11th century towers, which are said to have been built as a sign of wealth. The higher the tower, the richer you were. Another must-see are the beautiful frescos in the Duomo.

Lucca, birthplace of Puccini, is yet another lovely town to spend a morning walking around, with its ancient walls. Take a drive up into Chianti, filled with wine vineyards and olive groves, where of course you can have a stop to taste the wares and if all this is still not enough, fit in a boat trip across to the beautiful and peaceful island of Elba.

The main airports for Tuscany are Pisa and Florence, although you can get to Florence easily by train from most other Italian cities.

Travel Expert working in the industry for over 18 years. Hints, tips and tricks to finding, booking & making the most of your holidays to Italy.

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Italy Region, Tuscany – “POGGIBONSI” Mug

Italy Region, Tuscany – “POGGIBONSI” Mug

This is a brand new custom made coffee mug imprinted using the latest sublimation technology. This process embeds the image permanently and gives it a smooth surface with a crisp and vivid image. Design is imprinted on a standard 11 oz white mug and it is dishwasher safe.

List Price: $ 10.99


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Explore With A Tuscany Italy Wine Tour

Wine producing countries all offer wine tours, but there are no better place than a Tuscany Italy wine tour to get to know wine and wine making at its best. You are in for an experience of a lifetime as a Tuscany Italy wine tour is not just about tasking excellent wines. You will taste and get to know the different methods of wine making and visit the cellars and have a look at how the excellent Tuscany wines are stored. It is always best to take a guided Tuscany Italy wine tour with an experienced guide because this way you will get all the interesting and finer details explained.

Tour guides are knowledgeable not only about wines and wine making, but will regale you on everything about Tuscany. For people who want more out of a wine tour than tasting wine and seeing the cellars, it is important to choose the correct time of year to visit Tuscany. During certain times of the year wine tours will include seeing the vineyards and having a walk around.

One thing to remember when going on a Tuscany Italy wine tour is that you will be tasting and drinking quite a bit of wine as you go along. This is all part and parcel of a wine tour, but certain safety precautions should be taken. Always make sure that you have reliable transportation and a driver available if you are not part of a tour party going on a tour bus or mini van.

Different Ways To Go Wine Tasting

One way of doing a Tuscany Italy wine tour is by bicycle and explore the region at a leisurely pace as you cycle through fields and small villages. This is a great way to discover the local cuisine and stop off whenever you want to explore some of the historical sites that date back to the Etruscan period. Wine tours should never be rushed and meandering along on a bicycle is a wonderful way to discover the land.

You can also go on a special walking wine tour of Tuscany that normally takes about 7 days to do. These guided walking tours take you along the wine roads of San Gimignano and Montalcino and along the way you not only go on at the different wine cellars to taste wine, you explore the Renaissance towns.  The choice of how you want to do your Tuscany Italy wine tour is completely personal to suit your own preferences and Tuscany tourism agencies cater for everyone.

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Rick Steves’ Florence & Tuscany 2010

Rick Steves’ Florence & Tuscany 2010

  • 494 pages
  • Florence: Renaissance walking tour, Accademia tour, Uffizi Gallery tour, Bargello tour, Museum of San Marco tour, Duomo Museum tour, Medici Chapels tour, Medici-Riccardi Palace tour, Santa Maria Novella tour, Santa Croce tour, Oltrarno walk, Brancacci Chapel tour, Pitti Palace tour, Galileo Science Museum tour
  • Siena: Duomo tour, Duomo Museum tour, Civic Museum tour
  • Pisa: Self-guided walk, Tower tour, Duomo tour, Field of Miracles tour
  • Lucca: Rampart bike tour, Roman amphitheater

You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling through Florence and Tuscany.

With the self-guided tours in this book, you’ll discover the geographic heart of Italy. Take the Renaissance Walk and tour the Uffizi Gallery to learn how Florence taught civilized living to the rest of Europe. Wander through the medieval city of Siena and find out what Pisa has to offer beyond the Leaning Tower. Relax in sunny Tuscan hill towns where you’ll enjoy full-bo

List Price: $ 18.95


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Red Star Tuscany Multi Game Set

Red Star Tuscany Multi Game Set

  • Rich, cherry finish game case with fluted columns and reversible solid wood board.
  • Chess, Backgammon and Chinese checkers playing surfaces
  • Richly detailed game pieces with exquisite hand carved styling
  • All required game pieces included, plus additional cards and dice for many more games
  • An excellent, furniture quality addition to any den or game room

The TUSCANY, Cherry finish Multi game Set is a beautiful addition to any home game room, den or office. Furniture quality, cherry finish case features a solid, wood reversible game top with checkered pattern on one side, backgammon on the reverse and Chinese checkers inside. Appointed with antique style hardware and accented fluted columns. Two drawers store richly detailed game pieces (including PVC ebony and ivory finished chess pieces). Wood checkers, dice, marbles and accessories all include

List Price: $ 199.99


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