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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Enchanting Tuscany - Part 3

Grocery shopping at the local markets in the small town of Cecina is fun and interesting.

Here you find almost anything you need for your wardrobe, your household as well as your kitchen.

Meats, cheese, the famous Prosciutto di Parma, as well as fish and seafood along with freshly picked vegetables.

On the right side: that's how prosciutto looks before it's sliced. Quite a hunk!

I hesitated to post the photo above for fear of offending my vegetarian and animal-loving friends. But, hey, that's how it's done here to attract pork-hungry customers. They put the whole roasted pig on the counter and you get to chose from which part of the animal you want your cut. I'm not a vegetarian, but I have to admit, I didn't linger in front of this stand.

Courtesy of Kconnors, MorgueFile
Just to let you know, there was plenty of vegetables as well and the kind farmer even tossed a few extras in for free.

We ended the shopping spree at a local coffee/liquor bar with one of Italy's perfect cups of espresso.

Now comes another part of my "serious" research for my WIP (work-in-progress) novel: winemaking and winetasting! Here we are at one of the many hill-towns in Tuscany. This is Querceto, a small town near Cecina. The only tourists here seem to be those who have heard about the excellent wine that's being produced in the local wine press house. Queceto is much smaller than Volterra and, perhaps because of its size and lack of tourists, even more charming.

 View from Querceto at the Tuscan scenery.

A castle, a church, one restaurant with lodgings, the winery, and plenty of friendly, helpful people.



And here is where it all happens, the magical transformation of vines into wine. In these huge steel vats, the grapes, skins and some stems, sit, simmer, sizzle until just the right time and then ...

... after a few months or years sitting in the barrels, the wine is syphoned into bottles ... and ... after some more time, it can be enjoyed. Sounds magical? In reality it is hard, backbreaking, and often dirty, sticky work. And the risk of a bad harvest when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate has ruined many small vineyards and winemaking outfits. You really have to love this process to continue. I haven't met a vintner or winemaker who wasn't passionate about it.

 Cheers! By the way, that young boy is NOT drinking wine, just smelling it!

If you want to know more about this charming hill town and its vineyards, here is a link:
Even the best things have to come to an end. The week in Tuscany is over and we have to say good-bye. It's been fun and enlightening. One last look at our paradise.



 Goodbye Tuscany!
Welcome Switzerland! Yes, it was quite a shock. From the swimming pool to the snow-covered mountains. In the meantime, there had been an unseasonably early snowfall.

Fortunately, the snow is gone again in the lower areas and we are able to enjoy some gorgeous fall weather.


 Now, that's better. Wait with the snow until I leave!


  1. And who drank those two giant red "cups" of wine? Uh huh... They weren't poured for nothing. I know you had to do some SERIOUS research. Golly, what dedication. :-)

    1. Yes, the research is the really fun part! I'm dedicated all right. Cheers!