The atmosphere is certainly pleasant and Elisa Masoni, young chef in the restaurant The Oak of Castelletti in Signa, he immediately puts everyone at ease with his big smiles.
The occasion is the presentation of the kitchen 100% Gluten Free of the restaurant: from bread to pasta to finish with desserts, they are prepared using top quality raw materials from the area, and which infuse the dishes with a unique flavor without sacrificing the taste and tradition of Tuscan cuisine.
Apron and immediately in the kitchen, where Elisa explains to me and my travel companions how she prepares her dishes: let's start with Jelly gnudi with pecorino cream and basil.
A first course that contains the very essence of one of the recipes of the Tuscan tradition, the Papa al Pomodoro precisely, expertly reinterpreted in a modern key and served in the form of a ball drowned in a delicate pecorino cream and garnished with a fried basil leaf, which has the appearance and texture of the glass.
The lesson continues with the preparation of “The Bombolone”, A salty appetizer prepared with flour, water, mother yeast and beer, which is left to rise for about 2 hours. “Then you add butter or lard, eggs, honey, salt, and let the dough rise again - he says Valentina Baroni, chef at La Quercia di Castelletti - “After cutting the forms, they are left to rise for another 30 minutes, then fry at 160 °, a not too high temperature that allows the donut to cook internally as well”. It is served in combination with a cream of cheese.
The afternoon continues first with a visit to the rooms of Villa Castelletti and to end with a walk in the park, protected by the Superintendency for Historical Heritage, which was commissioned by the English noblewoman Lady Robinia Wilson and built between 1841 and 1845. 12 hectares tree-lined avenues, small roads hidden in the woods, large meadows where you can place a basket on the ground and enjoy spring.
The evening ends with a tasting of some dishes of chef Elisa Masoni, recipes that bring out from every corner of the dish, lively creativity combined with a great desire to amaze even the most demanding palate.
the “lardo del mare” (cuttlefish) with dry peas with agresto; fried young vine leaf with goat cheese and smoked herring roe; steamed bread croissant with sour tomato jam and burrata; donut with soft cheese and sausage; puffs stuffed with livers and vinsanto jelly; skewer of chicken heart and friggitelli.
- Roe deer tartare, with cypress, marrow, oyster
- "Spread" of crunchy pici and timut pepper, beaten prawns and lime caviar
- Potato ravioli stuffed with sambudello and figs from Carmignano, rocket, Gran de 'Magi cheese
- Ice cream stick with Prato vermouth strawberries and pepper herb
The liver cream puff with vin santo gelé is delicious and refined, the combination of cheese and fish in the “Spread” of pici: the pink pepper then teases and invites to a new bite. Nice also the combination with the arugula sauce and the filling in the Elderflower raviolithe entry wine is fresh and very pleasant "kiss Me”Sparkling wine from Piandaccoli.
APPOINTMENTS IN VILLA SUMMER 2020
Guided tours, historical conferences, concerts and meetings: three cultural events that closely touch the various historical legacies of the area, curated by Francesco Monciatti. If for three weeks it will be the sunset time to mark the departure moment of the guided tours to the rooms of the famous villa - with the suggestive view from the roof terrace at sunset - the other events will be held the following day, Wednesday, in the halls of the villa. In both cases, these are free admission appointments with compulsory reservations.
The first of the appointments on Wednesday - July 15 - is dedicated to the Risorgimento in Signa and to Giuseppe Garibaldi's stay at Villa Castelletti. It will be staged at 21 pm and will see the historian Giampiero Fossi and the journalist Maurizio Sessa, author of “La sciabola e la zappa” as speakers. Representatives of the National Association of Garibaldi Veterans and Veterans will be present, as well as the Philharmonic “G. Verdi ”in Signa will perform pieces from the Risorgimento.
A week later, Wednesday 22 July, it will be the turn of "Life in the countryside - Villas and gardens of the Signese territory from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century", historical, artistic and landscape comparisons between the Medici Villas of Poggio a Caiano and Artimino and the Salviati villas ( Le Selve), Caruso di Bellosguardo and Castelletti. At 21 pm the historian Maurizio Catolfi, the landscape architect Daniele Angelotti, the historian Giampiero Fossi and the art historian Francesco Monciatti will speak. Following, chamber music concert (Vivaldi, Handel and other authors of the XV-XVII century) performed by Crazy Quartett.
The last appointment, Wednesday 29 July, will be dedicated to solidarity in the Florentine territory, with the memory of the examples of characters linked to Villa Castelletti such as Leopoldo Cattani Cavalcanti, Giovanni Meyer and Aldo Croff. The historian Giampiero Fossi, the pedagogist Lucia Chirici and the boys of the Croff institute will talk about it from 21 pm. Following, a lyric concert with pieces by Puccini, Mascagni, Tosti and others,
"The idea of these meetings stems from the lockdown period that the country has faced," he says Federico Allegri. “Causes of force majeure forced us to close the villa to the public, while continuing the maintenance work necessary for its decoration. This was the input to really look at what I had under my eyes: I discovered corners and aspects of the ground that I did not know, I realized that the heritage that I have under my feet every day is immense for its history, its beauty and its values. We therefore hope that these meetings will have for the participants that flavor of discovery, surprise and wonder that this place arouses in me every day ".
series photos: Luca Menaglia