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Food, Wine & Friends Page 90

THE MASI FAMILY
July 2005

Piero and Anna Masi live in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.

Piero grows grapes and apricots, in addition to making some stellar wines.

The evening we arrived, Anna was busy making a seafood pasta "al cartoccio," using foil "bags" she'd folded up.


Her daughter Giulia lends a hand in assembling these dangerously delicious pouches.


"In you go and don't come out until I tell you to!"

Anna then puts the bags in the oven for 10 or 15 minutes, if memory serves.

Giovanni, the youngest Masi kid, and his winemaking father, Piero.


Cevolis 2001 was paired with the pasta.


Da Vinci's "Mona Giulia Con Pasta".

Then we had some tomatoes.

Dessert was some wonderful gelato from the Tavarnelle gelato place.


********************


There's a wonderful little enoteca and gourmet food place in Tavarnelle.

This place sells at honest prices, since the shop relies on the locals and not tourists to keep it going.

Back at Castello Masi, it was hotter than hell and we had a simple lunch.



Anna prepared a huge bowl of rice, served cool.

It's fine on its own, but Anna suggested topping it with some good olive oil.


Giovanni started singing and the party had officially begun!


Brian, our sommelier, opened a lovely little Sangiovese.


Giulia and her melons.


The prosciutto was excellent!


Later that afternoon we attended the wedding of our friends Giampaolo and Francesca.

*********************

Sunday evening we had a real feast!
Anna prepared a wonderful pasta.


Piero fired up the grill and prepared Bistecca Fiorentina.


Brian watches as Anna fills a bowl.

He gets busy in no time!

 

Piero then carves up the steaks.





Angela Masi passes the platter of Bistecca.


After dinner we gave the Masi's some gifts, including a copy of The Road Kill Cookbook.
(Piero is a great shopper on the strade of Toscana!)

Everyone else got a bag of Road Kill candies.

Later Angela had to go sell some books for a community event in town.

It seems the town of Tavarnelle, better late than never, finally erected a World War II monument for those who died during the war.

*******

The next evening, Brian had many bottles to open as I had purchased a number of wines for tasting purposes.





Giulia was busy serving up the minestre, a thick "soup" of summer vegetables.

We had a terrific "roast" and Piero opened a Merlot he makes for a gentleman who owns a small vineyard nearby.

"The yields are very low and the wine costs a lot." Piero explained.
And it was excellent!

Dessert:


Angela did not have to go sell books this evening, but had a meeting with a group of kids who were heading to Germany in a few weeks.

Piero told us the weather would be changing...and at 4 in the morning we were treated to a huge storm of thunder and lightning.

Piero was busy harvesting apricots the next day.

Brian and I ventured to Montepulciano.

In nearby Marcialla they were having a community Spaghetti & Pizza "feed."


Here's the menu:


Even in this unlikely locale, we had good pasta.

Anna and Piero explained the kitchen is staffed by local moms and grandmas.


Birra e Spaghetti!

Soon the pizzas arrived.


Brian found the pizza to be a bit crispy.

We then drove around Tuscany looking for gelato, before discovering a place a couple of minutes' drive from Castello Masi.

Brian selected the flavor in the upper left corner, one called "Pufo" (Smurf in English).

******
The Masi's had suggested a favorite gelateria in
CASTELLINA-in-CHIANTI:


Brian and I found the place the next day and can say it was probably the BEST gelato we had during our days in Italy.



The flavors came through clear as a bell.



******
After a day of visiting Chianti producers, we ventured back to Castello Masi.

Brian opened some bottles of Chianti.


And soon he and Giovanni disappeared to go kick a soccer ball around the campagna.

Meanwhile, Anna was working her magic in the kitchen!

We started with a salami we purchased in Greve at a fabulous little place called Macelleria Gabriella.

There's a more famous place across the street in the main square and they have excellent products, too.  But Gaby's was superb!!!

We had a nice line-up of bottles to try with the pasta.

Anna prepared some meat cooked in wine and a big plate of beans, Angela's favorite dish (as it turns out).

      


Angela is thinking of having another plate of beans.
"Beans, beans, the musical fruit...
The more you eat, the more you toot!"

When Brian heard this...

...he got the hell away from her!

*****
We had such a great time with the Masi family!
Tante grazie a tutti i Masi!
*****

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