A travel experience is never complete without a commentary on food. Whether it be “assagie di pizza” (pizza tastings) or a full complement of Antipasti, Primi e Secondi, Italians base their whole day’s existence around eating good food, both for sustenance and for the sheer enjoyment of their local and seasonal produce.
During our four days in Siena, we experienced a variety of local Tuscan specialties. The most significant was our invitational dinner for the Palio win – La Contrada de Valdimontone. Set under the Tuscan stars overlooking the Sienese old town, long trestle tables seating twenty were filled with chattering Sienese partaking in their regional red and white wines. Our first course was hot wild boar bolognaise pasta which our young travelers wolfed down. The main meal, again the regional specialty of marinated wild boar with a hint of garlic served with creamed spinach and small baked potatoes, was more of a challenge for the young ‘uns.
We organized a special dinner for our last night in Siena to further taste the local specialties. We negotiated a price for our twenty-two travelers of 15€ pp. Abundant platters kept arriving at each table – antipasti of local prosciutto, dolce and salato, salami, cottechini, talegio cheese, tomato bruschetta, radicchio bruschetta served with garlic pizzette. Huge bowls of mixed salad – butter lettuce, red radicchio, cherry tomatoes, local small black olives were placed alongside. Bottles of extra virgin fruity olive oil and balsamic vinegar – in a pump bottle – which our young charges especially found curious, were readily available. Eight large pizzas followed. There was an audible groan as these arrived, however, when we next checked only three slices remained. The consensus was that pizza here was way better than our Aussie attempts!
Peaches were another delight which we did not expect and needless to say, have voraciously consumed!