Posts tagged ‘family style dining’

April 13, 2011

Invitation to Tuscany: Campalfi, Stigliano, Siena

Campalfi, Stigliano, Siena

Three apartments in farm buildings.

Campalfi, set back from the river Merse by about 200 metres, is a group of ancient farm buildings that once had all the necessities for the self-contained life of a small community. It has been converted to provide seven spacious dwellings. There is a central open-sided courtyard entered through an archway, around which are arranged the apartments, and to one side of this is a large dining-room where the English-speaking owner, a renowned chef, serves wonderful meals every Saturday night and on alternate evenings. The old granary has made a delightful cottage with a patio and an outdoor oven; a large ground floor apartment for five people is at right angles to the granary; and on the ground floor below the old tower is a light and airy apartment for two people.

The conversions are a harmonious blend of ancient tradition and modern comforts. All the apartments have a quiet, cool and restrained atmosphere and make excellent use of attractive fabrics and materials including old terra cotta floors, and simple, traditional Tuscan furniture. The hand of the artist owner is seen in the soft colors that grace the apartment walls and in the blossoms that drape arch and pergola alike.

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January 19, 2011

It’s hard not to enjoy eating wherever you travel, but in Italy it’s an art.

Eating in Italy:
Eating a leisurely Italian meal is one of the pleasures of traveling in Italy. Italians take food very seriously in each region and sometimes even a city will have regional specialities.

If you have never traveled to Italy before there are a few things you should know. A traditional Italian meal will consist of an appetizer (antipasti), first course (primo) and a second course (secondo) with a side dish (contorni). All to be topped off with dessert (dolce), which could be fruit or cheese followed by café and/or an after-dinner drink (digestivo).

When dining out, most Italian families will spend an average of 3 hours eating and socializing. So if you plan on getting in and out quickly you must ask for your bill (il conto) when you are ready.  Generally there will be a small cover charge for bread and linen. Tax and service are usually included in your total.

Tipping is much different too. If you are pleased with your service it is customary to leave a small tip, but nothing like the traditional American tip of 15% to 20%.

Another essential tip to keep in mind, a bar in Italy is not just a place for alcoholic drinks, but rather more of a place to grab a quick morning coffee and pastry, a sandwich for a quick lunch, or a gelato (Italian Ice Cream) treat. If you stand at the bar, your price will be less than half of what you would pay if you choose instead to sit at a table.

These are just a few helpful hints for your next italian adventure.  Hope they help you to be prepared for the italian feasts you will never forget.


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