Hello my friends! Since I
cannot will not bombard you with a slew of pictures all at once, and a TLDR text, I shall pretend I am blogging daily from Tuscany. Sounds good? Great!
I left the lovely Milena’s B&B by taxi to get to the Chiusi-Chianciano Terme to meet with the van that would bring us to La Costa in Montefollonico. I was sitting inside the station and noticed a white van. No markings. Hmmm… just as I picked up my stuff, deciding to wait outside, a man walked in holding a sign “Cook in Tuscany”. Well, now! I followed him and settled into the van. Wow… first to arrive? Okay then.
Next thing I know, George pops his head in and says: “You must be Dale. Follow me, a bunch of Canadians are all sitting at the bar across the street!” I gladly followed him and was introduced to friends Terri and Janet, from Vancouver; and friends Donna and Sandy, also from British Columbia. Ordered my first Aperol Spritz (funny enough, it is a cocktail gaining in popularity at the golf club too!) and were soon joined by Alison from Louisiana. Along came mother and daughter Rosemarie and Venetia, from Ontario. We hopped into the van and car and off to La Costa in Montefollonico where my real adventure begins! Turns out we would be seven Canadians and seven Americans in our group of 14.
I cannot lie. I was brought to my room where I was welcomed by a bouquet and apron and bag of goodies. I dropped my suitcase, opened up the door leading to my balcony and started to cry! It was a mixture of “oh-my-God-I’m-finally-here” and “wow-I’m-here-all-by-myself” and “Mick-should-be-here”. I was NOT expecting that at all!
Once I unpacked my stuff, I set off to explore my home for the next week. A few of us ended up on one of the terraces and decided to order a bottle of Pinot Grigio with some antipasto and get acquainted before freshening up for our welcome cocktail.
We were served Prosecco and deliciously simple tomato bruschetta at 6:30 pm and sat around in an informal circle (how does that happen anyway?) Linda and George Meyers, owners of Cook in Tuscany asked us to introduce ourselves and share our how we came to be at Cook in Tuscany (CiT). Here we met Frank (whose wife, Mary Ellen was bed-bound with a stomach something) and Cindi & Conrad, both couples from Orlando, Florida, as well as long-time friends Paula and Nancy from New York and Santa Fe. The “how’s” of getting to this particular cooking vacation were most interesting. Cindi and Mary Ellen gave the trips to their husbands for Christmas… Uh huh… husband’s gift! Donna had heard about CiT on Facebook and asked her friend, Sandy, if she felt like joining her – she did! Forty years ago, when they were young mothers raising their kids, Paula and Nancy vowed that one day they would do something special just for them! Friends, Terri and Janet, just decided it would be fun to do something together. Venetia wanted to celebrate a certain special birthday with her mum and was going to organise this super trip in England (birthplace of Rosemarie) and so saved for two years for said trip. When came time to book it, it was no longer available! She had found this cooking trip in a magazine and suggested it be the middle part of their trip. Alison’s son had just moved out of the house and she finally felt it was time to do something for herself. As for me? Well, everyone who knows me, knows this has been a dream for a very, VERY long time!
Linda then brought us for a walk around the inner walls of Montefollonico (population about 100 or so), showing us the castle that was built to defend against neighbouring Montepulciano (kinda funny that both are built high up on a hill and can see the enemy coming for miles…) Quite a lovely little town, built in the 13th century.
Time for our first dinner together! Fair warning… may cause hunger!
I could tell that this was going to be a fabulous week shared with a wonderful group of people. Please note, those not yet pictured, will be so soon! Off to bed with hopes of a good sleep.