If you are one who feels the special magic of autumn and winter in Tuscany, you’ll no doubt be dazzled by the number of festivals and small special markets, all dedicated to the produce and gastronomic specialties of the area, through November and on to Christmas. We’ve checked out those who feature the specialties of the Mugello, of Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort, and its immediate surroundings.
There’s the heady aroma of roasting chestnuts, the crisp cold air that stings the nostrils and the dry reddening leaves that cover the roads… it’s the fall, and we love it. In less than a moment it will be ChrisTmas: but now let’s enjoy this moment of the year when everything seems suspended, and food is at its most appetizing and inviting.
And indeed, it’s the season of the most interesting festivals and markets, celebrating the roasting and drying of chestnuts, of "necci" and "castagnaccio", of new polenta from freshly dried corn. Most special is the year’s freshly pressed olive oil and its exhilarating taste (on our Facebook page, we show you the very steps along the way to the very best oil, from collecting to pressing to the New Oil itself, the finest oil of Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort).
In all the area around us, from Villa Campestri to Florence, easy to get to from Borgo San Lorenzo (it takes 39 minutes from Piazza Santa Maria Novella) autumn is filled with special events featuring the season’s traditional Tuscan foods and products made with them. Many little markets abound in the days leading up to Christmas, a holiday in which we’ll all soon be completely engrossed.
In Vinci this month, as every year, there was the Colors and Tastes of Montalbano in mid-November, featuring the great wines of the area, together with chestnut delights and fett’unta made with this year’s new oil, accompanied by equally fresh wines of the season.
Near Greve, in Strada in Chianti, all during November and early December (Dec. 1-3) is the popular Sagra delle Frattaglie, or innards, off-beat food that includes tripe and lampredotto – a delicious Tuscan sandwich specialty made from innards – and other traditional foods, with lively local music playing all around.
In the historic center of San Godenzo, Christmas begins early. The festive Mercantino begins late November and continues through December, every day from 9 in the morning until 7 in the evening. There you’ll find ideas for Christmas celebration and the Tuscan gastronomic specialties that accompany the holiday.
And finally, an international touch: The German Christmas market arrives in Florence itself, in Santa Croce Square. Famous for its little handmade wooden houses decorated for the holiday, the annual market goes on until December 16th, and features Christmas decorations and gastronomic Christmas delights from countries all over the world.