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June 2013 - Page 4
ITALY!
Torre del Tartufo
Chiaveretto, Toscana, ITALY
Looking across the mountains of Tuscany from our villa at the Tuscookany Cooking School in Chiaveretto, IT
Counter
23 June - After an overnight train ride on the Thello Train from
Dijon, we arrived at the
Campo di Marte station in Florence at 7:30
AM.  A wild taxi ride took us out to the Airport (only rental car offices
open on Sunday AM) where we picked up our
Sixt rental car.
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With the help of our trusty Garmin GPS, we headed out across the
scenic Tuscan countryside in search of
Torre del Tartufo (Truffle
Tower) in Chiaveretto, site of the
Tuscookany Cooking School.
The Back Story...
In Florida, Nancy volunteers as a
Nurse at
Volunteers in Medicine, a
clinic for uninsured patients in Stuart,
FL.  In February, they held a big fund
raising Gala, and a generous donor
gave each of the volunteers a $100
raffle ticket.  Well, Nancy's ticket
WON!  Her prize: a $4500 voucher for
a trip to "wherever she wanted to go"!
She chose the
Tuscookany School in
Italy and a week-long Italian cooking
course that started the day after our
time on the
AMAROK was over.  I
came along as a "guest".  My job was
to eat the food the students prepared
and to drink wine for both of us!
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The impressive entrance to Torre del Tartufo - at the top of a 4-mile gravel road
with many switch-backs.
The final approach to Torre del Tartufo - pretty elegant!
For people like us who tend to stay at places like
Motel 6, this place was pretty amazing!
Our room turned out to be a suite which included a
sitting-room with a working fireplace and we had
four windows overlooking the pool and the
spectacular Tuscan countryside.
This ain't no Motel 6!
Our bedroom was pretty nice too!
The Kitchen...  Open 24 hrs for whatever we wanted.  (I learned
how to make Cappuccino and how to use the milk frother!
Our first dinner on the Terrace - at 8:30 PM.  Very civilized!
After our (4-course) dinner, out came the liqueurs.  
There are actually 35 bottles of liqueur on the table
in this photo!
This beautiful "supermoon" appeared over the trees just as
we were about retire on our first night at
Torre del Tartufo.
Nancy in the driveway as we prepare to head out on a (very hilly) hike.
Needless to say, it was a good week!
The Group... 11 students and Chef/Instructor, Franco
A wide-angle view of the villa from pool side.  We often ate under that awning.
The four windows above the awning were our suite - quite the view!
Lunch with a view under the awning.  The kitchen
is through those French doors to the right.
Another pretty spot, this was our breakfast table.
Another pool-side view.  Note the smoke coming from the hot tub.
The hot tub was heated by a wood fire -
started each morning by the staff.
The cooking classes began each afternoon at 3 PM and ran until 7 PM,
the dinner bell rang at 8 PM.  Here, Nancy is making biscotti.
Nancy getting some personal instruction from Chef Franco.
Nancy in her element - cutting veggies for minestrone soup.
Chef Franco at the wood-fired pizza oven up the steps, Nancy in
her (second) favorite spot at the right - look carefully!
Close-up of Nancy in her favorite spot - reading.
A view (from our window) of large HAIL during a thunderstorm.
Another view from our window, a colorful lizard
                on our window-sill.
Besides cooking classes, we had a guided tour of a
winery in Arezzo, an olive grove and pressing plant,
a goat farm and a linen factory in
Anghiari.  We
also had a free day during which we drove to the
nearby scenic Tuscan towns of
Arezzo, Cortona
& Montepulciano
- the last two being the filming
locations for
"Under the Tuscan Sun"!
You can check out our photos on the next page:
.                     June 2013, Page 5.
Dessert close-up: Tiramisu.   Fancy "plating"!  
The image of the fork is done with cocoa powder.
Our last meal.  Again, 30+ bottles of liqueur on the table.  
My favorites were Pistachio and
Limoncello Créma.
.     Continue to  June 2013 - ITALY - Page 5
Click on the photos to view a larger image...