Top 10 herbs to cook Italian 3 Parsley = Prezzemolo


Italian Parsley

PREZZEMOLO ,meaning Italian parsley.This aromatic herb in used in cooking in almost everydish or, at least, in most dishes-It’s used to flavour food,to create sauces and to decorate.

Artichokes and parsley

Used in starters,first dish,meat and fish and various sauces as it is has the property of enhancing other herbs and spices haroma.For no other reason we use the expression “be like parsley” for a person who is at every party or event . it’s OK if you snip some of the stem in with the leaves when you’re cutting these herbs.

Aromatic Herbs

Pick herbs close to the time you use them to get the best flavour .To extend their freshness, place them in a vase with water, like cut flowers.

For most recipes mince herbs into tiny pieces ,chop with a mezzaluna.

A blender would reduce herbs to a paste.

Cooking Class in Tuscany

Piccata al Limone

  • 400 grams of sliced veal
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 cup of broth
  • 2 slices of ham
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley
  •  half a glass of white wine
  • 70 of butter
  • salt and pepper


  1. Tenderize the slices of meat with a meat mallet (or a knife with a wide blade) kept in cold water.
  2. Slightly coat the slices in flour .
  3. Slice the ham into strips, chop the parsley.
  4. Melt half of the butter in the pan , cook the meat on both sides ,add salt and pepper.
  5. Add the ham , the wine and the lemon juice.
  6. Stir and, as the slices are ready, arrange them on a serving platter and keep warm.
  7. Place the pan on the flame e again, add a cup of broth, lemon, and always stirring , simmer slightly, to get a sauce that thickens a little.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and the parsley.
  9. Pour the sauce over the slices of meat and serve

Suggestions : You can also use slices of chicken breast or turkey and avoid the ham


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Top 10 herbs to cook Italian- 2. Rosemary= Rosmarino


“An herb is the friend of physicians and the praise of cooks.” (- Charlemagne)

Rosemary better to be used fresh as desiccated leaves loose flavor.


To strip the leaves from a woody sprig, simply hold the stem in one hand and remove the leaves using the finger and thumb of the other hand, pushing against the direction of the growth


Rosemary’s pungent flavor complements fatty meats particularly well, When grilling, toss a sprig or two of fresh rosemary onto the coals to add a wonderfully intense smokiness to your meats.You can use a woodier branch from the plant as to brush oil on grilling meat. On grilling a lamb it’s compulsory as its aromatic smells eliminates the characteristic sheep smell.



Rosemary in marinades, or as an accent for Mediterranean vegetables. Great in some tomato sauces. Pay attention not to use too much especially in summer when it can be too pungent .Half a branch is usually enough. In Tuscany it is used even in certain breads and dessert just slightly cooking it in the oil to pour on them. With oil we mean :Extra Vergin Olive Oil !!!!


And now a Pasta sauce with rosemary: Penne agli Aromi = Penne with Aromatic Herbs



  • 2 spoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ onion
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of sage
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 500g tomatoe purèe
  • ½ teaspoonful of oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 30g grated Parmigiano
  1. Finely chop the garlic,the onion and all the herbs.
  2. In a wide frying pan lightly brown the garlic and the onion in the oil for a few minutes.IMG_3321
  3. Then add the chopped herbs . Stir the ingredients for a few seconds over a low flame, then add the tomato purèe. Mix everything together well, add salt and pepper and cook the sauce for approx. 15 minutes.
  4. Add the oregano and then the pasta and sprinkle with grated parmigiano
  5. Stir everything for a few minutes in the frying pan over a medium flame.
  6. Serve immediately hot.

* Suggestion: add cream or a peperoncino.


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Top 10 herbs to cook Italian – 1. Sage = Salvia

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Too often, herbs and spices were considered, in Italian Cooking, simple additions, optional ingredients to use in some occasion or when you remember. 
Yet herbs and spices can be crucial for the success of a dish, and they are perfect in healthy food for their therapeutic properties

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Today we talk about : Sage = Salvia

  • “Chi ha la salvia nell’orto ,ha la salute nel corpo”
  • Who has the sage in the garden health in the body

SALVIA   SAGE in Latin its name means Healthy.

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There are many recipes that use sage. It can never be missing out on roasts and kebabs, because it combines very well the taste of the meat, especially red ones.

Wanting to try a use different from the usual, you can put it in the mixture of finely chopped eggs and flour used to make pasta and noodles and season them.

The ideal use is on some fish like trout and sole cooked in butter, but it also combines very well with white meats, such as using it as a flavoring for stuffing rolls, and borlotti beans or cannellini beans and pork in general.

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The leaves to be dried for storage, should be harvested before flowering

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10 Years of Hands On Italian Cooking Classes in Tuscany


10 years, Toscana Mia Cooking school  is now really 10 years old.

Today we have an  another Half Day Cooking  class but it’s like the first time. We are waiting for our students here in Chianti, tomorrow will be here and in Florence.

Toscana Mia kitchen

We are  fixing the last ingredients in our kitchen while waiting for 7 students: different ages, different nationalities, they are staying in hotel, B&B and agriturismo. Always maximum 10 persons  so all of them will have the possibility of cooking, and  asking questions. Only sometimes we have organized large  groups, :people  who  already know each other ,related by family or work.


Today’s lesson is in the morning and now at  9:30  they’re all here: oh no, two of them are  late, we’ll wait sipping a cappuccino.

Then aprons, a  look at the recipes and off to cut  with the  mezzaluna, stir, turn   the wooden spoon while  chatting about cooking, our countries and lifestyles.

Cooking Class Tuscany

We teach Italian cooking, we  like immersing ourselves  into this way of cooking . Italian food is nice, cooking Italian is a pleasure, not a competition,  pure flavor: the important thing is the final taste .Recipes do not have to be complicated but the fresh,organic ingredients have to be  well chosen. Techniques are not complex, but require patience and love.

Cooking Lesson at Toscana Mia

Menu of the day: two students have requested fresh pasta, one of them absolutely no veal, a young lady insisted for a tiramisu better than what she has  tasted till now…. and then a Traditional Italian Menu: Black Olives Crostini, Tagliatelle with Mushroom White sauce, Oven bell peppers / capsicums, Turkey in Milk, Tiramisu.

Fresh Home Made Pasta

You might ask: How is it that  you like being every day in the kitchen? Have you really been there for the last 10  years? Yes, we like to cook: today a menu,  tomorrow another one. Today we have to put together  a menu for  vegetarian and not vegetarian, tomorrow for gluten free and not gluten free, the day after  cooking with children and the other day a group of young chefs looking  for something more complicate .


To organize a class we experiment recipes, we keep update with new ingredients and tools, we slightly change traditional ones so that they can become  dishes you’ll   recreate  in your own kitchen . On the other hand you cannot imagine how many things we have learned in recent years meeting people from all over the world :you come to meet  locals but it is as if all the locals of the  world  were here..

Cookery Class Tuscany

Then we all eat together, sitting around  table , taking our time as the Italians say “ a tavola non si invecchia mai” “at the table,people do not age ”.

            Turkey breast with Cherry Tomatoes

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Secrets to unveil travelling to Italy: wall socket


Definitely one of the most common problem  for travelers in Italy  is electricity.  We read a wonderful blog about  the subject . We’d like to add that, in case you arrived to Italy without  the  proper adapter the best  thing to do is to enter a shop  of electrical devices or supermarket, point at the plug : people  will understand your need.


Remember :Italian people use  and understand hand gestures. This is one of the secrets.

In case you want to properly ask for, let’s say

Power converter   convertitore 

Plug adapter          adattatore

Have a look at this article:

Electricity in Italy – Plugs, Adapters and Transformers


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Food Shops in Chianti,Tuscany

DSC_0379-1Years ago  newly arrived in Chianti, entering  small  shops we were  just thinking” are we going to find everything  we need ,here ?”

DSC_6673Now we know that shopping here is great because  there is not the confusion of shopping  in town  and  even if  there is not the  large choice you’re used in  groceries and supermarkets, here you can be sure   that all ingredients and products are very well chosen.


There are so many  places  with delicious  products to cook or with ready made dishes.

Of all the nice shops we must immediately name  two so similar  as based on the family,  a typical Italian familiar  business. What does this mean? Sincere concern for the customer and product knowledge!

We start from the grocery store in Lecchi in Chianti, known by everyone as ” da Palmira” Here you always find Palmira with her son Paolo, always nice and smiling . and the great help of Samuele.


This was  the very  first store we entered twenty years ago when we moved  to Chianti .They have everything, but really everything in such a  really  small “negozietto” ( little shop). Must: pecorino, anchovies and focaccia with tomatoes. Without  forgetting  wines and balsamic vinegars !

phoca_thumb_l_gz2754121Driving then into  Radda,  let’s  encounter a shop a little ‘bigger’, but always with the same  home style: Porciatti. Luciano always there, his sister Anna , his wife Simonetta and sons Riccardo and Francesco

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Fantastic grocery and wines.  Must: prepared sauces, olives and a wide selection of cheeses and cold cuts

Let’s ask for  tonno di Radda (it’s a cold meat ) and  hot bread sticks . And a great choice of wines, ask for Riccardo.


.When Luciano will ask you “which is the most beautiful  town in the world ?” ,answer “Radda “ and you’ll make him happy !


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Toscana Mia on Fox News

Toscana Mia on Fox News  one of the 8 trips you must do once :isn’t it fantastic?

Toscana Mia kitchen

Looking for something besides yet another trip to the beach for your next vacation? From cooking lessons in the hills of Tuscany to snorkeling the waters off Belize, these eight trips should be on everyone’s list. ……we also think it’s mighty adventurous to sign up for cooking lessons in the land that practically invented eating–Tuscany.


Cooking Classes in Tuscany

Anyone who has tucked into a plate of fresh pasta or seafood—or, for that matter, just about any dish—in Tuscany knows that ohmygosh moment when you wonder, how on earth do they do this? It’s time to take the leap: Sign up for a cooking class with an expert in Tuscan cuisine.


It may not sound quite as adventurous as hang gliding or snorkeling, but consider this: You’re pushing the envelope of your abilities and that plate of hand-made pasta you put in front of your guests at the next dinner party may impress them more than any adventure travel story ever could.


There are a number of opportunities to immerse yourself in Italian cuisine both in Florence and in outlying areas, where you find yourself learning to craft bruschetta, gnocchi, and even tiramisu while surrounded by olive trees, vineyards, and rolling farmland.


Get started: Toscana Mia offers hands-on culinary training in a relaxed, friendly environment in either Florence or the Chianti countryside.


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How to Spend A Full Day In Tuscany


You’re spending some days in Florence but  you would like to get deeper into Tuscan Landscapes  and meet with locals ?               

Combine  Cooking Class in an Italian home ,wine-tasting and a country drive through magnificent Tuscan landscapes in  Chianti, popular Tuscan region  acclaimed for its classic wines and natural beauty.

The day in  Chianti is not a group tour ,it is from 1 to 8 persons

DSC002138:02 a.m.  Florence train station. You get  a train to Montevarchi. You arrive   in a tiny tiny  station  for   a few  commuters and our  driver waiting  for you .He   drives you  to Podere Le Rose (Toscana Mia location in Chianti).

We welcome you with a nice “Cappuccino “ and a snack. Maybe a glass of wine   and private  necessities.

IMG_0764Then we cook , hands-on , traditional, home-style Tuscan recipes such as pasta or gnocchi or ribollita,   appetizer, bruschetta and savoury cakes,turkey cooked in  milk or roasted pork.And then dessert: complete with  panna cotta or Tiramisù.

IMG_2358Let’s enjoy the wonderfully intense flavours & freshness of traditional Italian dishes cooked in an evocative stone farmhouse in the hills of Chianti, surrounded by vineyard & olive groves.In a friendly atmosphere to prepare a complete meal accompanied by  good  wine  and  good chatting .


After lunch we reach a cute place to enjoy wine and extra vergin olive oil tasting.


Or we tour in the area, visiting Angela,the artisan of the  beautiful ceramics we use.

DSC_6631Then we drive you back to Montevarchi for catching the train back to Florence

A long  day but at the same time a good occasion to cook Italian ,to get tips about Italian cooking and lifestyle  !!! We have new  friends and  with  blog and FB we can keep in touch !


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Sites in Chianti which kids might enjoy

DSC_9029Certainly walking in  the uncontaminated Chianti or visit the ancient villages is a special experience for kids of all ages, but we  can expect  something more particular …


In Greve, unless you are a vegetarian ,you may be attracted by the stuffed boar that is waiting in front of the Butcher Falorni. It’s so interesting to see up close how this typical Chianti animal is  then see the immensity of prosciuttos (hams) hanging inside
At the entrance of the village there is also a playground that offers the opportunity to let children play and parents relax a while.


If we drive to Castellina, the specialty is the ice cream. All’Antica Delizia  you can try many gelato flavours  and calling  ahead  you can organize a little explanation for the children. Culture of homemade gelato  was born in Italy and it is … saporitissima.Then take a stroll in an ancient medieval walkway.

DSC_4169But if you are interested in the Middle Ages,  talk about that time with your  children and drive to Castle Brolio

.Maybe  only in my  imagination  but this is the  typical castle with fairies and  princesses. I still see the princess, in reality this is a family of  Barons, but for children what’s the difference? ……. Well I see the Princess  locked in the castle  and  the Knights defending her and controlling  the enemy from the high walls  …. And then, Mom and Dad can taste the wine.
To rest you can drive to Gaiole in Chianti or Radda in Chianti, where there is a great bar(coffee shop) where to have  the very Italian cappuccino and a small playground with swings and slide.

A t the same time  contemporary art culture  and fun: an outdoor sculpture collection  . Do not run and damage, but it’s so nice to walk into the structures of modern art, and live them and understand  what they mean to the artist and to us .


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Gaiole an idyllic place in Tuscany

DSC01726Gaiole in Chianti,the most Idyllic Place to live according   Forbes’s  article in 2008

For me, Chianti is all about mountains, vineyards, wineries, country inns and walking,” says Gay Gillen of travel consultancy Brownell, based in Birmingham, Ala. “There are equestrian centers and opportunities to hike and play tennis, and the food is amazing.”

IMG_3346What else could I add to invite people to Gaiole ?

Castelli : there are several ancient  castles  which  bring you back  to Middle ages, castles worthwhile to be  to visited or  even better to live in


L’Eroica:a unique atmosphere bike ride on unpaved  Tuscan dirt roads and  most of the riders use vintage bikes and wear old style wool clothing.

Many Chianti Classico wineries   are  spotted in Gaiole territory  to enjoy a  wonderful tasting  and the beautiful colour of vines. Not to forget the wonderful extra vergin olive oil


Tiny shops of ceramic or things for the house

Butcher with special local meats  such as chianina perfect for the  well known bistecca  fiorentina ,cinta sense,the special pork meat and  wild boar.


Vegetable shop with fresh  and seasonal vegetables  with their incredible fresh and ripe taste


Grocery with beautiful  cheeses  especiallypecorino

and much more……

Read Trip Advisor for info


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