It was a magical evening. Having spent all morning exploring the wine estates around Castellina in Chianti, sampling the varying subtleties of the Sangiovese, shying from the sun under heavily laden olive trees, we were but gently drawn to an evening of quietude and a gourmand Italian supper.
Our Agriturismo was perched on a rambling hill, nestled in its own vineyard and olive groves. Having picked up some beautifully aged wines that were the perfect accompaniment to the choice of cuts we had planned for the evening, we were happily drawn to cooking our first Tuscan meal.
Maddalena and I had gathered sprigs of rosemary from hedges along the road on our walk earlier that morning. All the while stopping to enchantedly watch deer appear on faraway hillsides , amidst the rows of grape vines, pausing to allow us time to inhale the herb infused Tuscan solitude in Castellina.
The evening brought out the friendly camaraderie and banter. As our partners stoked a lively fire and marinated the various cuts of meat, we excitedly cooked a wonderful tomato sugo infused with fresh basil from our host, boiled and shelled delicate quail eggs, poured the fresh fusilli into salted boiling water and readied a lot of Garlic for the pane.
As we sat under the Tuscan sky, beneath a canopy of grape vines, mulling over a wonderfully subtle and velvety Chianti Reserva, we appreciated the much needed respite from the civilized world.