Silversea – Day 6, July 13 – - Livorno (Tuscany), Italy – Savini Tartufi

November 12th, 2014

Now that tartufo bianco season is in, I felt this was a great time to post this piece.

Savini Tartufi

 

Cristiano Savini holding the 2.13 pound white truffle – Photo by Andrew Medichini

 

 

Above Cristiano Savini holds the 2.13 pound white truffle which sold at auction in 2007 for $330,000.  This find is a symbol of the family’s commitment to providing some of the most exquisite truffles and truffle products on the market.  Known the world over for excellent high quality truffles and as we witnessed first had – - exceptional truffle preparation, our visit was one to remember and truly a once in a lifetime experience.

First and foremost a major thank you to Luca Campinotti for being so informative and professional.  His teaching on truffles and the training of Giotto gave new and special meaning to the art of enjoying and hunting truffles.  From our introduction to our heading back to Livorno, Luca made sure our time at Savini was the best visit one could possibly experience.  And I have to admit, growing up the south totally prepare me for this excursion as being back in nature was truly refreshing and exhilarating.

Upon arriving, we proceeded to turn our attention to the little four legged, tail wagging, happy go luck canine who was enjoying us as much as we were enjoying him.  Playing fetch and a few belly rubs – - his day was made, well almost.  Luca formerly introduced us to “Giotto” who unbeknownst to us, would be our secret weapon to finding that much sought after fungi we all were dying to uncover and devour.  After our truffle lesson we packed up and headed out.

Savini Tartufi

 

Savini Tartufi

 

Giotto

 

Savini Tartufi

 

Replica of the 2.13lb truffle

 

Truffle

 

Luca

 

Luca and Marina

 

Giotto

 

Giotto ready and waiting

 

We were informed that playtime stopped the minute Giotto hit the woods as we no longer would be of concern to him and true to form without missing a beat, we no longer mattered once his feet were back on the ground in the woods.  After a brief overview of what would be taking place once we hit the woods or more like “Giotto” leads, up keep up, we were off.  Imagine trying to keep up with this fast four legged canine – - brutal!!!   As we made our way through mud,  mosquitoes and any other living organism that stood in our way of finding “Black Gold”   Giotto came through several times with what would be transformed into a heavenly lunch – - tartufo nero.  To actually see Giotto go crazy over locating the scent of truffles was astonishing.  Well not so much as I behave the same way “at home” when I get truffles, but not so much in public.  After securing several sizable truffles, we headed back for what was to be one extraordinary lunch.

 

Giotto and Luca before the hunt

 

And we are off……..

 

The dig…..

 

The dig…..

 

The find……

 

Giotto taking a break

 

Luca piercing a truffle

 

Adam taking a whiff of the fresh pierced truffle

 

Black Gold

 

Black Gold

 

The Dig……

 

The second find….

 

Water break for Giotto

 

Jason stuck in mud

 

Giotto in play mode after the truffle hunt

 

With Luca & Tony

 

Field of sunflowers on our way back

 

Back form the hunt and all cleaned up, it was time to enjoy the moment we’ve all been awaiting — Lunch!!!!  We started with an exquisite truffle beer and the rest, well here it is.

 

Back for lunch

 

The Truffle Hunting Crew

 

Truffle Hunting

 

Truffle Beer

 

Truffle Covered and Infused Appetizers

 

Villa Saletta “Chiave” – 2011 Toscana

 

Luciano & Carla

 

Ahhhhh….Fresh Shaved Truffles

 

Ahhhhh….Fresh Shaved Truffles

 

Luca with my plate

 

Fresh Shaved Truffle with pasta

 

Jason & Adam enjoying their truffles with pasta

 

Egg with Truffle

 

Egg with Truffle

 

Luca with Vinsanto

 

Vinsanto

 

Dessert with Truffle

 

After what can only be described as a gastronomic feast of truffles, we managed to find room for what I’m now enjoying back home – - chocolate truffle candy – yummy!!!

 

Chocolate with Truffle

 

Carla Savini

 

With Luca & Luciano

 

“Black Gold”

 

This excursion was truly one of my all time favorites.  Luca again, thank you so much for your professionalism and expertise in the fine art of truffle hunting and your amazing knowledge.  A greater appreciation and understanding for this delicacy shall remain with all of us.  We look forward to returning and enjoying another memorable experience.  And a very special thank you to Luciano and Carla – - the magic you worked with the fresh truffles pleased our palates in ways unforeseen.  Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!!!!

 

Savini Tartufi

Up Next: Cannes, France

 

 

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Silversea – Day 5, July 12 – - Florence, Italy

October 30th, 2014

In route to Florence I began anticipating another delightful gastronomic experience at Dino’s.  Since my first encounter in 2003 with the Cinghiale in Dolceforte (wild boar in a chocolate sauce), I make sure every trip to Florence incorporates a grand serving of this amazing dish and this return was no exception.

But first a little stop to work up an appetite at the Bargello.

 

Courtyard Bargello

 

Courtyard Bargello

 

Courtyard Bargello

 

Michelangelo Bacchus 1496 – 1497

 

Michelangelo Bacchus 1496 – 1497

 

Michelangelo Bacchus 1496 – 1497

 

Bargello

 

Bargello

 

Bargello

 

Verrocchio’s David 1475 & Donatello’s David 1440

 

Donatello’s David 1440

 

Donatello’s David 1440

 

And now – - Lunch is served!!!!

Visit: Ristorante Dino – Enogastronomico

 

Dino’s

 

Dino’s

 

Dino’s

 

Parmigiano-Reggiano and Aged Balsamic Vinegar

 

Insalata della “corte dei Medici”

 

2012 “IL Bruciato” Tenuta Guado Al Tasso – Bolgheri

 

Polpettine della “mamma Renza”

 

Spaghetti con mentuccia e ricotta fresca

 

Mezze maniche rigate con salsa d’estate

 

 The Cinghiale was so amazing – - there were two entrées!!!

 

 

Cinghiale in Dolceforte

 

Cinghiale in Dolceforte

 

Basilica of Santa Croce

 

After spending time at the Bargello, sitting down to another wonderful homemade meal and walking the streets of Florence, it was time to head back to Livorno.  My anticipation for tomorrow is building by the minute as we are heading to the woods of Tuscany in search of Black Gold!!!!

 

 Up Next: Truffle Hunting in Tuscany – Savini Tartufi

 

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Silversea – Day 5, July 12 – - Livorno, Italy – The Four Moors

October 30th, 2014

Back in Livorno today and I decided it was time to post this pieces after visiting several times and ending up with several different opinions / interpretations on this dominating and very powerful monument.

Statue of the Four Moors – Piazza Micheli

Four Moors

 

Four Moors

 

This monument commemorates the victory over the Ottomans in North Africa by Ferdinando I de’ Medici, the grand duke of Tuscany in 1607.  The collaboration between Giovanni Bandini (marble sculpture) and Pietro Tacca (bronze sculptures), symbolizes his victory over PIRACY in the Tuscan seas.

The statue of Ferdinano is of marble and the Amazing Magnificent Ethnically Diverse slaves are of bronze.

 

Four Moors

 

Four Moors – 1

 

Four Moors – 2

 

Four Moors – 3

 

Four Moors – 4

 

Four Moors

 

Quattro Mori

 

   Now to Florence, as our return to Dino’s and the Bargello awaits us.

 

 Up Next: Florence

 

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Silversea – Day 4, July 11 – - Portofino, Italy

October 29th, 2014

Last evening after a very filling dinner and dessert under the stars with Champagne, the captain informed us that we were heading to Genoa instead of Portofino.  Rough seas caused this change which would have made it impossible to dock in Portofino and tender to the shore.  This was somewhat of a repeat from cruise number five: Portofino via Genoa, although this time we opted for a train ride to Liguria instead of a taxi. We headed to one of our other favorite spots in Portofino, Hotel Splendido.  Here are the highlights!!!

Splendido

 

Splendido

 

Splendido

 

Splendido

 

Splendido

 

Splendido

 

Splendido

 

Splendido

 

Vermentino – Colle Dei Bardellini

 

Vermentino – Colle Dei Bardellini

 

Fritto misto del Tigullio, con Verdure dell’Orto

 

Piccatta di Vitello al Limone e Basilico del Monte

 

Medaglione di Coniglio con Pinoli e Olive Taggiasche

 

Medaglione di Coniglio con Pinoli e Olive Taggiasche

 

Formaggi e Dolci menu

 

Biscotto al Cioccolato

 

Dolci

 

Posing for a quick pic

 

Done stuffing our faces, we heading down to the port to spend time taking in the beauty of this serene and picturesque gem.

Portofino

 

Portofino

 

Portofino

 

Portofino

 

Portofino

 

Portofino

 

Portofino

No train ride back to Genoa, the comfort of an air-conditioned luxury sedan was in order after experiencing Portofino.

 

 

Up Next: Livorno, (Florence) Italy

 

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Silversea – Day 3, July 10 – - Calvi, Corsica

October 28th, 2014

Today we arrive in the quaint port of Calvi Corsica, reputedly the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.  After enjoying a wonderful breakfast aboard, we decided to walk the streets and enjoy the local calmness that was upon us and to burn a few calories.

Arriving in Calvi, Corsica

 

Calvi, Corsica – The Wind

 

Boardwalk in Calvi

 

Boardwalk in Calvi

 

End of the Boardwalk – - the Citadel in the background

 

End of the Boardwalk

 

Calvi, Corsica

 

Outside the Citadel

 

The shore of the Citadel

 

The shore of the Citadel

 

Climbing the steps of the citadel made me extremely thirsty which led to several rounds of Peach Bellinis – - hard liquor may I add.  The chosen spot for this carefree afternoon was done knowing we were only steps away from the ship.

Bellini Time!!!!

 

STRONG Bellinis

 

Round One…..and two to follow

 

After getting to know the staff really well…..it was time to head back to the ship for a mid-day snack and to rest up for dinner as relaxation mode never ended.

 Up Next: Portofino, Italy

 

 

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