Searching for the rhythms of country living, American chef Marlena de Blasi and her Venetian husband, Fernando, move to a barely renovated former stable in Tuscany. They dwell among two hundred villagers, ancient olive groves, and hot Etruscan springs. In this patch of earth where Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio collide, there is much to feed de Blasi’s two passions—food and love. In A Thousand Days in Tuscany, de Blasi brings us along as she and Fernando harvest grapes, gather chestnuts, forage for wild mushrooms, and climb trees in the cold of December to pick olives, one by one.
They befriend the mesmeric Barlozzo, a self-styled village chieftain whose stories lead de Blasi deeper into the soul of Tuscany. Together they visit sacred festivals and taste just-pressed olive oil, drizzled over roasted country bread. In a cauldron set over a wood fire, they braise beans in red wine, and a stew of wild boar simmers overnight in the ashes of their hearth. Barlozzo shares his knowledge of Italian farming traditions and ancient health potions, but he has secrets he doesn’t share, and one of them concerns the beautiful Floriana, whose illness teaches Marlena that happiness is truly a choice.
Like the pleasurable tastes and textures of a fine meal, A Thousand Days in Tuscany is as satisfying as it is enticing. The author’s own recipes are included.