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An Authentic Italian Experience – la Vendemmia

One of the things I look forward to all year long is the Vendemmia, or grape harvest, at Podere Erica. And I am not the only one!  In Tuscany, the month of September is devoted to the precious Grape. 

In a region where this crop is of such importance, it is only natural that there are many events celebrating the grape and grape harvest (vendemmia).  You can find events in Greve, Rufina, Panzano and Impruneta.  Click here to find out more.

This year there was a lot to celebrate. The weather cooperated to produce a fantastic crop.  Take a look at this grape cluster – lusciously full.  And there were so many that you could stand in one spot and practically fill a container.  We picked 15,000 pounds of grapes that sunny morning in September.

The picking crew included our friends who live in Florence, family from Calabria, and friends who traveled from Barcelona. Even I got out of the kitchen long enough to pick some grapes!

This year, our winemaker, Marco, suggested that we try something new. Well, actually, something very old – stomping the grapes with our feet!  This was done with a small portion of the grapes that were then put in a big terracotta jar (orcio) for fermentation and aging – just like the Ancient Romans!

A little traditional music got the dancing started! Everyone got into the traditional Calabrese dance called Tarantella.

A big harvest meal is the perfect way to wrap up a long day of picking. This year’s meal included all of our favorites – a generous antipasti selection of local cheeses and charcuterie, schiacciata bread, and crostini Toscani.  With a great fire in our ancient wood-burning oven we roasted Arista or roasted pork, potatoes with sausage made by the local butcher, carrots & fennel, and classic Tuscan white beans.   And, of course, we complemented our feast with our Sangiovese wine, Il Picchio.  Click on the titles below to get the yummy recipes!

And we end this most wonderful day with a simply spectacular autumn sunset!

Crostini Toscani – Chicken Liver Pate on Small Toasts

Crostini con Fagioli – White Beans on Small Toasts

Arista con Patate Arrosto – Roast Pork with Roasted Potatoes

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