Eating is a joy in Tuscany, and its culinary traditions are among the finest in the world. Many of our guests eat out most of the time, and the “Restaurants” section of this website lists many of our favourite locations, in a wide variety of price brackets. However, we know that some family parties prefer to eat at Ripertoli, but want a local cook to come in and take on the burden of food preparation so that they can have a more relaxing holiday. Fortunately we have several local contacts – one of whom speaks excellent English – who are very happy to buy food and cook for Ripertoli guests.
Here is how our favourite local cook works:
Normally there is an “Antipasto”, a choice of 2 “Primi” (first courses, usually pasta), and a choice of 2 “Secondi” (main courses), plus a salad. For this she charges around 20 – 22 euros per person (2016) â€“ the charge varies a little depending on the menu you choose. Our clients have always told us that she is superb value.
The cook will provide pudding and/or cheese as well if you wish, for an extra charge, but you may prefer to buy your own cheese from one of the excellent shops in Greve, Mercatale or Panzano. Italian puddings are not the greatest, but itâ€™s hard to beat the ice-cream you can buy in Greve in insulated containers which protect it until you get it back to the freezer at Ripertoli.
The visiting cook will set the table and serve everything including the main course, after which she will leave you in privacy. This does mean that you have to clear up and run the dishwasher, but this seems to be the right compromise.
If you want dinner on the Saturday when you arrive, it will be something much simpler than her normal standard â€“ lasagne, salad, and cheese. This is because Saturday is frenetic at Ripertoli, as beds are changed, the house cleaned, and dozens of sheets & towels are laundered. So we recommend you to send a shopping party to Greve soon after you arrive to stock up on wine etc. The shops stay open till 7.30, and some till 8. On Sunday morning the market in Panzano is well worth a visit, and we suggest you buy from the cooked chicken stall â€“ the salt level is mind-blowing, and the taste wonderful.
Wine! This is an important specialist subject and you will want to buy your own, so please read the “Wine tasting and buying” section of the website.
After all this you might wonder what to do about lunch. For a start, you will have delicious leftovers from dinner â€“ please tell us if this is not the case, you will be the first! We are big fans of the ready-to-eat deli food from the Pizzicheria in the Piazza in Greve â€“ Sylvano & Franca are true standard-bearers of genuine traditional home cooking, with delicious prosciutto (both Tuscan and from Parma), sun-dried tomatoes, bean and onion salad, superbly conditioned cheeses, etc. Donâ€™t be put off by the sealed plastic containers they use â€“ they ensure perfect freshness. Our favourite lunchtime starter is a traditional peasant food, “Fettunta” â€“ toasted Tuscan white bread, with salt and garlic rubbed on it to taste, drenched in Ripertoli olive oil from the container by the oven.
Here is the cook’s menu, in Italian and English, so that you can discuss it with her what you would like to have each day. Please forgive any minor inaccuracies – we have not eaten all her dishes, but we have eaten in her home often and know what a marvellous cook she is.
- Crostini vari – Bits of toast with toppings â€“mushrooms etc
- Granetti di Pomodoro e basilico – Tomato & basil crostini â€“ Bruschetta
- Prosciutto – Tuscan ham
- Salame – Various local salami, some with fennel
- Melone e vari sottoli – Melon & various accompaniments
- Penne alle zucchine – Penne (short pasta tubes) with courgettes
- Penne al peperone – Penne with peppers
- Penne a funghi porcini – Penne with special porcini mushrooms
- Penne gamberetti e piselli – Penne with prawns & peas
- Penne alla bietola – Penne in beetroot sauce
- Spaghetti a ragu – Spaghetti in meat sauce
- Spaghetti alla guancia – Spaghetti with pork, bayleaves and tomato
- Spaghetti al pomodoro – Spaghetti in tomato sauce
- Spaghetti aglio e peperoncino – Spaghetti in garlic and pepper sauce.
- Spaghetti allo scoglio – Spaghetti in seafood sauce
- Spaghetti mare e monti – Spaghetti, seafood and porcini mushrooms
- Lasagna a ragu – Lasagna in meat sauce
- Lasagna al pomodoro – Lasagna with tomato sauce
- Ravioli burro e salvia – Ravioli with butter and sage
- Ravioli al tartufo – Ravioli with truffles
- Ravioli a ragu – Ravioli with meat sauce
- Ravioli a pomodoro – Ravioli in tomato sauce
- Risotto ai funghi – Mushroom risotto
- Risotto verde – Vegetable (green) risotto
- Brasata alla verdura – Braised beef with vegetables
- Vitello tonne – Veal with tuna sauce (an Italian speciality)
- Spezzatino – Beef stew
- Rosbif – Wonderful rare beef (not roast!)
- Fettine alla Milanese – Veal in breadcrumbs
- Cotolette ai funghi – Veal cutlet with mushroom sauce
- Pollo alla cacciatore – “Hunterâ€™s” Chicken (tomato sauce)
- Pollo fritto – Fried chicken
- Pollo arrosto – Roast chicken
- Bocconcini alla Romana – Fried chicken, turkey or rabbit chunks
- Fettine ai capperi – Veal with capers and tomato sauce
- Agnello arrosto – Roast lamb
- Cotolette fritte – Fried veal cutlets
- Insalata mista – Mixed salad
- Patata arroste – Roast potatoes (with rosemary)
- Patate fritte – Fried potatoes
- Piselli – Peas
- Zucchine fritte – Fried courgettes
- Verdure miste olio – Mixed vegetables in oil
- Pomodoro – Tomato salad
- Fagioli al pomodoro – Beans with tomatoes
- Fagioli lessi – Boiled beans
- Patate lesse – Boiled potatoes
- Fritatta di patate – Potatoes in eggs â€“ like a spanish omelette
- Fritatta di cipolle – Onions in a spanish omelette
E tante altre cose – and lots of other things if they look good in the shops and market today!