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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Travels to CasaBellavista… Insalata di Carciofo

Posted: July 28, 2007
by: Dave, Edie & Simonetta

As we looked out the airplane window, the sunrise gave us a warm welcome to Leonardo di Vinci Airport.  Approaching our “touchdown”, we delighted in the quilt like patterns created by lush fields of grain, flocks of sheep grazing in their pastures and the varied shades and shapes of olive groves and vineyards.  The sight was pure pleasure for our eyes.  Once again we were on our way to visit our friends Simonetta and Guido at Casa Bellavista.

Traveling northeast on the Via Aurelia, we soon came upon an aqueduct, a sign of historic Roman culture.


As we followed this winding road, carved through tuffa rock, we could not help but be awed by the belief that Roman soldiers had driven their chariots over this route.

Our plan called for us to stay in Tuscania and take daytrips to Lago Bolsena, the Parco Archelogico in Vulci and the relaxing thermal waterfalls south of Saturnia.


Then we would head north to Bagno Vigoni, stopping at the hill town of Radicoffoni on the way.  Using Bagno Vigoni as our next base, we planned on day trips to hill towns of the Val d’ Orcia, including Pienza and Montepulciano.  On the final days travel to Casa Bellavista, we stopped at the Abbazia Monte di Olivetti Majorie for a viewing of the frescos depicting the life and times of St. Benedict.

Upon arriving at Casa Bellavista, we could not help but breath in the sweet smell of jasmine and roses.  The spirit of family and friendship consumed us as we visited with Simonetta and her parents along with Antonio, the farmer who grows such beautiful fields of sunflowers.


After we settled into “La camera die Fagiani”, Guido arrived home from his office at Castello di Spaltenna and it was time to open a celebratory bottle of EST EST EST, a refreshing white wine somewhat similar to Orvietto Classico.  It was great renewing our friendship over wine and cheese.  By then, it was time to prepare dinner.

The insalata for the evening was to be an artichoke salad (Insalata di Carciofo) garnished with chilled, rolled hare and pancetta.


We began preparing the insalata by removing the outer parts of the artichoke until the more tender interior parts of the artichoke were revealed.  The artichokes were then sliced very thinly lengthwise and thoroughly mixed in a dressing of extra virgin olive oil; freshly squeezed lemon juice and chopped parsley.  Salt and pepper were added to taste.

Earlier in the day, Simonetta had prepared a garnish of hare and pancetta for the insalata.  The garnish was made by rolling out pieces of hare until they were thin.  She then applied a rub of fresh garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme and extra virgin olive oil.  This was then covered with fresh, thin slices of pancetta, rolled and baked.  After baking, it was placed in the refrigerator until cooled.  When it was time to serve the insalata, the hare and pancetta roll was sliced into thin pieces and used to garnish the salad.

After a wonderful dinner and after the dishes were done, we closed out our first evening at Casa Bellavista with a café corretto and good conversation…the joy of friendship.


Edie and Dave

Your Comments

Dave & Edie - Your writing simply sings off the page. A visit to Casa Bellavista is on the top of my wish list. In the meantime, thank you for the wonderful taste of Tuscany. Looking forward to reading more about your travels.

Posted by: Toby at Aug 4, 2007 4:57:37 PM