You might remember I started telling you about our epic roadtrip through France to Tuscany in our campervan last summer? ‘Started’ being the operative word. If I wait any longer we’ll be on the 2018 trip before I’ve even told you about the 2017 one, so I’m hustling forward and giving you a quick look at the second part of our trip – a week in Tuscany!
I first visited Tuscany in 2016 when I decided to whisk Mr M away for his birthday. I discovered Tenuta Chiudendone on Airbnb and couldn’t quite believe my luck when we got there to find it an absolute gem of a hideaway up in the hills near a lovely town called San Miniato. The only downside was that it pretty much rained solidly for the three days we were there.
There was only one thing for it. To go back! So when we started planning our roadtrip we decided that after schlepping down through France in a campervan with a dog in tow, where better to have some R&R with our pals than that gorgeous villa and its impressive infinity pool.
Owners Francesco and Isabella have got the right idea. Create a beautiful place, in a beautiful place and share a bit of their own love and passion for this little corner of Italy and its story. And even better for us, they’re more than happy for you to bring your dog, who can enjoy the days prowling round the grounds and enjoying more space than they can possibly shake a tail at.
To that end, other than lounging by the pool, exploring the vineyard, olive groves and veg garden that make up part of the agriturismo, wandering down quiet country tracks to nearby villages and their restaurants for lovely long Italian lunches, we were left to our own devices for the most part.
I say “most part” because, wonderful hosts that they are, they’ve carefully laid on a few wonderful evening treats that are open to any guests who stay at Tenuta Chiudendone.
The first was our ‘private Tuscan chef’, a lovely lady who came in for the evening to cook us a slap-up traditional Tuscan meal. A gorgeous tomato dish using “old bread”, wild boar pate, Tuscan sausage, wild boar pasta, and “fagioli” – a bean dish that I became ever-so-slightly addicted to.
The second was a truffle dinner hosted right next door in Francesco and Isabella’s own home. Tenuta Chiudendone happens to lie in a valley that yields a glorious amount of truffle – white and black. In fact, nearby San Miniato has its own truffle festival once a year.
With that in mind, Francesco had got hold of a load of white truffle and hosted us, our pals, and two couples from the apartment upstairs for the evening to show us exactly what this truffle malarkey is all about. First up, he showed us how to clean them, then prepared the simplest dish I’ve seen in a long while. Basically baked eggs with a drizzle of olive oil and truffle grated on top. Don’t be fooled though, it was a military operation watching him cook nine of these (with our help of course) and making sure the eggs were done perfectly and the truffle added at just the right time.
Next up was pasta, served simply in melted butter with a bit of parmesan in it, and truffle on top. Again, it might look simple but this was a precision operation, making sure the pasta was cooked perfectly and the truffle added at exactly the right moment. It was worth it though – a delicious dinner. All washed down with some of Tenuta Chiudendone’s own wine.
There are plenty more fond memories from our week at Tenuta Chiudendone, from strolling through the narrow streets of San Miniato and ogling stacks of truffles, to cooking up our own Italian feasts in the gorgeous kitchen and watching stunning sunsets across the Tuscan hills.
Needless to say, the week flew by and before we knew it we were back on the road and heading north for the final leg of the adventure. It’s a good job we had more fun to follow, as we were all more than a little sad to leave.
If it’s R&R you’re after, a complete escape from everywhere, wonderful hosts and hearty Italian food, you need to get yourself to Tenuta Chiudendone. A home from home, a slice of paradise, and the perfect place to unwind.
Check it out, you won’t regret it!
We paid for our stay at Tenuta Chiudendone and for our Tuscan chef and truffle dinner. It was all entirely worth it!