Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuscany in Autumn – A Timeshare Vacation, Plus an Authentic Italian Recipe

When it comes to travelling, most of us immediately think of a summer vacation. And while the summer period is perfect for swimming in the sea and sunbathing while sipping a nice cool cocktail, the much cooler autumn period offers its beauties and possibilities, as well.

Italy offers a whole set of timeshare vacation destinations for those who love culture and sightseeing. And Italy is not only Rome and Venice: the region of Tuscany is also a wonderful destination. Tuscany is a northern province of Italy, and includes such illustrious cities as Florence, Sienna, Pisa and Lucca.

Visiting the region is not only a good idea for culture aficionados but also for those looking forward to a romantic getaway. Italy as such is considered the country of romance; this atmosphere seems to be concentrated even more densely in Tuscany. The sweet little cafés and small streets tend to get the couples closer to each other and slow down the quick rhythm of life, helping us to focus on each other and relax mentally and physically.

One great advantage of travelling to Tuscany off the peak season is that prices are low, it’s less crowded, and you can enjoy the atmosphere of Italy in peace. It also gives easier access to the museums, which is important when it comes to maybe the most famous - Uffizi of Florence, where you can spend hours waiting in the line if you go in the peak season.

However, the fall season offers a different Tuscany than summer or spring would. The incredible beauty of the mosaic of the thousand colours of fall transform the forests into paintings expressing the charming tranquillity of the coming season.

Apart from the natural beauty of the country that would enchant any visitor, fall offers a great opportunity for wine tasting, Tuscany being the home of several excellent wines. From November up to December the new wine festival takes place all across the region, offering the visitors a real insiders’ look and an authentic Tuscan experience.

Besides wine, chestnuts, mushroom and sausage are also favourites of the autumn season. A great range of festivals take place in Tuscany related to these products, from the wine festival of Chianti to the chestnut festival in Grosseto.

A typical food you are likely to taste if you visit one of these festivals is the Castagnaccio, a chestnut flour cake, made as follows:

Ingredients:
1 cup chestnut flour*
3 cups water
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup pine nuts
5 walnuts (optional) – peeled and coarsely ground
1 tsp olive oil
approx 20 needles of rosemary

*In the U.S. chestnut flour can be found in Italian foods specialty stores, gourmet shops such as Williams-Sonoma, and some Whole Foods.

Method: First, mix the flour with the water until the mix is soft but not liquid. Add the olive oil, raisins, pine nuts and walnuts and mix them all together. Oil a pan large enough to make the dough 1 cm thick (close to ½ inch), and sprinkle the rosemary on top. Bake the cake at 200 Celsius (325 F) for around 35-40 minutes, until cracks appear on the top of it. Then let it cool and serve!

The authentic taste of this cake is enjoyable not only in Tuscany, but you can make is at home as a reminder of a wonderful fall vacation.

Plan a Tuscany timeshare rental or timeshare exchange vacation for luxury accommodations.

Thank you to our guest author, Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati, who writes the Gourmand World Award-winning book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking, and is Executive Editor of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati™ blog. She is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian cuisine and culture.

Photo Credit (top): ilchiostro.com
Photo Credit (bottom): donnamoderna.com

1 comment:

  1. I love the views of Italy! I'm planning my own vacation there in a few months and I've been looking into things to do while over there. I am a huge history fan, so I would love to visit all of the areas of historical significance, as well as experience the culture of the country. I've also heard about the luxury villas in Tuscany, and would love to go look at them. What was your favorite thing about your vacation? do you have any suggestions for things to do for me?

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