We started our day off with the butcher but first, we got to check out one of the craziest preparations of pork I'll probably ever see. I didn't mention porchetta in my last post but it's another popular thing in Tuscany. Pork meat is rolled up with garlic and spices and then tied together with a covering of the pig's skin again. It rests for a while and then you have a lovely 'marinated' pork especially fitting for sandwiches. Welp, bet you haven't seen this mental image before whilst eating a delicious porchetta sandwich:
That pig face has haunted me, much like the brined pig head we worked with back in New York. Tell me this wouldn't give you nightmares (or will now after seeing it):
Ok, moving right along… I couldn't believe my eyes when we got to see one of the guys take down a side of beef. He's been doing it for 57 years and it shows. I had to take a short video of it because I was honestly flabbergasted by his speed. Definitely worth watching if you have two minutes:
Do you have any idea how sharp that knife had to be? Day-UM! Of course, right after that is when they take us to see the cows and pigs. Like I said though, I just compartmentalize such things because, when I saw those cows, I just fell in love. Fortunately for us, these are the fantastic Chianina cows that I mentioned in my last post and they are just wonderful. This farm in particular raises them in such a loving fashion, too. The woman told me that they talk to them, name them, massage them and simply spend time with them. They're actually like dogs in a way because they would come over to her when she called them! I thought they were so beautiful and I felt such love for them. Just take a look at how awesome they are, both video and photos:
I cracked up because, in the photo of just me with them, one licked me right up the back of my whole leg! It was hilarious. I guess they took a liking to me, too!
After the cows, we went to see the pigs and I just died all over again. Pigs aren't exactly the most fun to visit because they're very temperamental and skiddish. I actually feel kind of afraid of them, honestly. You guys ever seen 'Snatch'? Yeah, the hogs in that flick are pretty much what I envision all pigs being like, eeek. These pigs, however, were the adorable "Wilbur" pigs that are so cute, you just want to take them home. They all move around so fast so it's tough to snap photos but I really giggled at these:
How cute are they?! Cute and delicious, right Erica?
The whole farm was so beautiful, I swear. Before we got ready to leave for lunch, Chef Bruno pointed out that wild chamomile was growing right where everyone was standing:
Italy truly is like a magical land with fresh herbs growing all around you. It's awesome. As we were going to get on the bus, the lovely folks who own the place had set out snacks and homemade wine for us. People are just so kind and full of love here.
Our day started super early so I was ready to gnaw on one of those pigs if we didn't get to the restaurant soon. Um, it was worth the wait. We went to this little town called Monte San Savino and settled in for a good old fashioned Italian feast. This is what we sat down to immediately:Drool. I keep mentioning that we have wine on our school field trips which just makes Italy even cooler. Anyway, they served very traditional items for lunch such as panzanella, braised beef "stew" of sorts with the Chianina (at this point I'm in full denial for sure that they're the same cows that licked me), homemade porchetta with lentils and the addictive cantucci I mentioned before (with vin santo, of course):
The owner, like every other person we seem to meet in this magical land, loved Chef Bruno and having us there.
After lunch, we were off to the Ferragamo wine estate. Now, if you're me, you have no idea who the hell Ferragamo is or why this was such a big deal. I mean really, people. You're talking to the gal who pronounced Hermes "her-meez" forever and who has no clue what the heck Diane Von Furster-whateverthehell is. I got a little schooling on this one before we walked in, haha. Let me just tell you, holy crapola…what a modern, cool place to see. I'm used to visiting super old vineyards that use age-old techniques but this place was so neat. Check it (Ami, how awesome is the dude's shirt?! I almost asked if I could buy it right off of him for you...):
After our tasting, they showed us the property outside which is a very exclusive resort. Yeah, I could sip my vino out here for a few months:
Oh, look! Wild caper berries growing:
Surprise surprise, right? Amazing…
I don't know if you can tell but man, did we have a good day. You really can't imagine how blissful and relaxed you can feel until you're lucky enough to do something like we have on these field trips. After an early morning, loads o' beef at lunch and vino to finish it all off, I took a nice nap on the way back home but not before I saw the sun starting to set: