Posts tagged “Tuscany

Pici al Ragu di Carne: An Italian Pasta Recipe

In my recent travels through Tuscany, I visited this little village on top of a hill called Sant’Angelo in Colle in Montalcino, where Mazzoni Wines are produced. I had an amazing lunch at Trattoria il Leccio, where they specialize in the region’s famous pasta called “Pici,” which is a longer, thicker version of spaghetti with a wild boar ragu sauce.

Pici is a longer, thicker version of spaghetti.

Pici is a longer, thicker version of spaghetti.

I told the owner that I wrote a blog about Italian cooking and he invited me into the kitchen to see how Pici is made. His Nonna (grandmother) was in the kitchen making this regional pasta and she showed me the process and gave me tips on how to roll and stretch the pasta perfectly.

Over the burners on the stove was a large pot of ragu that had been simmering for hours. She walked me through a recipe and told me, “Devi avere pazienza,” or “Be patient.” The sauce takes over two hours to become so rich and delicious.

To bring a little bit of Montalcino to the United States, we’ve provided you with a traditional Pici recipe below. With this recipe, I hope you’ll make your own fresh pasta. There is a great tutorial here if you’ve never made Pici before. Don’t be afraid of the dough; not only will you impress your guests, but you’ll notice the difference in the taste and texture of this special dish.  (more…)


Mazzoni Bianco di Toscana is here!

With the arrival of the Mazzoni Bianco di Toscana — a Tuscan white wine — the family of Mazzoni wines is now complete.

From the Mazzoni Pinot Grigio to the Super Tuscan Toscana Rosso and the Piemonte Barbera, the Mazzoni family of wines has a wine for every palate and for every meal.

While many wine lovers will reach for the Mazzoni Pinot Grigio as an aperitivo white, to pair with appetizers and light first courses, they will surely reserve the Mazzoni Bianco di Toscana for dishes with more intense flavors and nuanced character.

The wine is blend of two white varieties: Vermentino, the classic white grape of Tuscany; and Chardonnay, the noble “international” grape variety that has captivated the attention of wine wine connoisseurs for the last three decades in the U.S.

The Vermentino (about 75%) gives the wine its unmistakable Tuscan flavor: think sage and sea, bright fresh fruit and crisp refreshing aromas.

The addition of smaller amounts of Chardonnay (about 25% in the current debut vintage) provides the acidity and depth that makes the wine an ideal pairing for seafood first and second courses, like pasta tossed with seafood or whole grilled orata, the famous Mediterranean sea bass that you find in Tuscany’s coastline restaurants.

The Live Like an Italian blog is thrilled to announce the arrival of Mazzoni Bianco di Toscana, the latest release from the historic partnership between two of the wine world’s greatest families — the Franceschi family in Montalcino and the Terlato family in the U.S.

(Click here to read about the two families’ relationship, now spanning two generations.)


Wine Spectator praise for Mazzoni Pinot Grigio

“A ripe, fruity style, offering melon, apricot and floral notes. Balanced on the soft side, with a fresh finish. Drink now.”
—Bruce Sanderson
Wine Spectator


Mazzoni Pinot Grigio is here!

The Live Like an Italian blog is thrilled to announce the arrival of Mazzoni Pinot Grigio, the latest release from the historic partnership between two of the wine world’s greatest families — the Franceschi family in Montalcino and the Terlato family in the U.S.

(Click here to read about the two families’ relationship, now spanning two generations.)

There’s a reason why Pinot Grigio has become a household name in the U.S.: it’s the ideal grape for producing crisp, fresh, and refreshing white wine with balanced alcohol and bright tropical and citrus fruit aromas and flavors.

In Europe, wine lovers have known this for centuries. But in the U.S., it wasn’t until Anthony “Tony” Terlato — the patriarch of the Terlato family — first introduced a Pinot Grigio to American consumers in the late 1970s that the grape variety began to began to explode on the American wine scene.

Tony had traveled to Italy in search of the next great white wine from Europe and it didn’t take long before he realized that Pinot Grigio had all the right stuff to become America’s favorite white wine. (He retells the story in his autobiography, Taste: A Life in Wine.)

Mazzoni’s Pinot Grigio is made from hand-picked Pinot Grigio grapes grown in the high elevations of Montalcino (where Brunello di Montalcino is made). The altitude is essential: cool summer evenings are what helps the winemaker obtain the classic crispness in the wine and achieve the freshness that makes Pinot Grigio such a wonderful wine for pairing with food.

No one knows Pinot Grigio better than the Terlato family. This is just one of the reasons they asked the Franceschi family to help them create this wine: expertise in fine winemaking and some of the best growing sites in Tuscany make this wine one of the most exciting arrivals from Italy in years.

Click here to email a Mazzoni specialist for more information on where to find Mazzoni Pinot Grigio.


Soon the grapes will be harvested in Tuscany…

It’s been a hot and arid summer in Tuscany this year but rains in recent weeks have helped the grapes to ripen well.

While growers in Tuscany began picking their white grapes a few weeks ago, the time has come to begin picking the red grapes.

Yesterday, they began and they will continue picking over the next two weeks or so, harvesting the ripest grapes first (in the vineyards with the best exposure to sun) and waiting until the other vineyards as they achieve their fullest expression of flavor.

It is perhaps the most beautiful time of the year to stroll through the vineyards, especially at daybreak, when the wildlife is still active.

In the photo above, you see Mt. Amiata in the distance, the gentle giant that protects the vineyards of Montalcino from inclement weather arriving from the Mediterranean sea to the south.

For growers with good vineyard sites, a good to excellent vintage is expected, although the yields will be slightly smaller: hot temperatures and prolonged drought posed challenges for growers and winemakers this year. As a famous Tuscan winemaker once said, there are no bad vintages; there are just vintages when we make less wine.


Classic Tuscan Crostini

Like the French word crouton, the Italian crostino comes from the Latin root crusta, the same word that gives us crust in English.

And like the croutons that we throw in our salads here in the U.S., the Tuscan crostino is one of those classic Italian methods for getting “extra mileage” out of stale bread.

The difference in Tuscany is that the bread there is made without the addition of salt. As a result, it is the toppings for the Tuscans’ crostini that gives them their flavor: sautéed and olive oil-cured mushrooms; creamy pâtè; and traditional Italian tomato sauce.

In his Divine Comedy, Dante’s grandfather Cacciaguida predicts Dante’s exile from the Tuscan city state of Florence and tells him:

And thou shalt taste how salty is the bread of other men…


A video of the Orcia River Valley where Mazzoni Toscana Rosso is made

You don’t need to understand Italian to appreciate this sumptuous, gorgeous video of the Val d’Orcia where Mazzoni Toscana Rosso is grown and vinified.