50 Shades of Lasagna

My maternal side of the family is the D'Alessandro family. My grandfather (better known as Pop) was born to parents form Sicily and after all this time we stay true to Italian customs. In my family caprese salads are a regular appetizer made with tomatoes & basil picked straight from the garden. Fresh bread and olive oil are on the table before meals, regardless of what the main dish may be, and red wine is always flowing because it's "good for the heart!" THIS is why Italy feels like home.


I'm doing a 'local living' stay in Southern Tuscany in the small town of Chianciano. Move over Diane Lane, because your villa's got nothing on this house. This trip is different in the sense that it forces you to slow down and smell the roses (or in this case the garlic). There's no running from sight to sight to capture the best photo of an inanimate object. We are truly immersing ourselves in the culture - from trying to train our palettes to taste which year the chianti grapes had the best harvest, to taking a siesta at 1pm in order to have the energy to continue drinking bottles of chianti during our next 5-course meal.


"Do nota doa nowa whata you cana doa latera!" - Stefano

"And if you can get your neighbor to do it for you? That's much better." - Antonella


Every person on this trip may come from a different part of the world (United States, Canada, Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain, Italy) but we all share 1 common passion - a love for cooking and eating! Early on in the trip we joked about who would gain the most kilos while living in Tuscany, now I realize it will be a close race. In a group full of foodies, there is no turning down a single dish. Whether we're being served Stefano's gnocchi or tracking down the best pizza in the Renaissance town of montepulciano, we are solid members of the clean plate club.


Wine Tasting with Ricardo

Yesterday was our first real cooking class with Stefano and it was certainly a check off my bucket-list. Taking a cooking class is one thing. Taking a cooking class in Southern Tuscany, from a man who believes in getting back to the basics by eating REAL food without preservatives, is a whole different ball game.