Posts Tagged With: food

Tuscan Vineyard Trailride

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I don’t think I can count the number of hours I’ve spent in the saddle. I can, however, remember every single destination trail ride. Riding a few miles up from our starting point at a barn in Colorado comes to mind. This trail ride kinda tops them all in terms of scenery.

I booked Kate and I a ride through Fun in Tuscany. It included pick up and drop off in the center of Florence, as well as a wine tasting/food pairing lunch (after the ride, of course).

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Our trail guide

The stable was located a little over 30 minutes from our pickup point and surrounded by some of the most breathtaking countryside I’ve ever seen. We drank a few cappuccini as we waited on a patio, and sampled different kinds of honey. I never thought a honey tasting could be all that interesting… but the group we were with discussed in-depth the differences in each type… the hazelnut honey was my favorite. yum.

The previous tour was late getting back, so we hung out in the barn area, saying hi to the old goat. Just from the barn, the view was amazing. The tour guide helped the less experienced people up into their saddles first, and gave them brief instructions on steering, stopping, going, etc.

Kate and I, as we had the most experience, were at the back of the line. When I mounted from the ground and comfortably picked up my reins, he just blinked at me and said, “You’re good.”

Even though I was slightly bummed I wouldn’t be close enough to the tour guide to test 20160614_122018any of my Italian horse-related vocabulary… there’s something to be said for being at the back of the line on a trail ride. You don’t have to be nose-to-tail. We got to walk around a farm, through a slightly wooded area, and right down into a vineyard, going between rows of grapevines. It was sunny with a slight mist, which made the temperature PERFECT.

Of course, Kate and I would have been happy with a 5-hour trail ride, but it was so relaxing to sit in a saddle, in a quiet vineyard, after we’d been averaging 7 miles of walking a day through crowds of tourists. Instead of our feet being sore, now it was our riding muscles.

I’ve never spent this much time in a vineyard, but I definitely didn’t get tired of our tranquil surroundings! By the end, Kate and I were scheming of ways to get hired as the next trail guides. I wouldn’t mind riding that trail every day.

The wine-pairing lunch was just icing on the cake at the end. I now know how to look like a snob at my next wine tasting, as well… And I’m still dreaming about the lasagne they served us. Overall? On a scale of 1 to 10, the day was about a 15. Definitely recommended!

 

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Holy vineyard view, Batman!

 

 

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Categories: italy, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Afternoon Tea Splurge

After all our running around for the first few days, Kate and I splurged a little with a posh Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea. Their Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon is decked out in one of my favorite colors – mint – so of course this is where I got a reservation. As soon as you step into the tea salon on an upper floor of Fortnum & Mason, the atmosphere completely changes. With a tranquil color scheme and music playing, you feel as if you can comfortably linger awhile – and we did.

20160608_124303The staff turn the tea into a bit of a formal affair, as I was helped into my seat by the host and given two weighty, bound menus. One for the meal, and one for tea blends. We both ordered the traditional afternoon tea, although there were savory and vegetarian afternoon teas available. I opted for the Royal Blend tea, and Kate opted for the Jubilee Blend. They were both excellent! We had to try a sip of each other’s tea for comparison’s sake – while we each preferred my own choices by a thin margin, they were each delicious.

Speaking of delicious – the whole afternoon tea was amazing. The little tower of delicate plates may not look intimidating, but by the end we were so full we could only eat half of the sweets and cake – and I always finish dessert.

(We did, however, order extra salmon tea sandwiches. Those things were impossible to put down.)

I started with my scones, clotted cream, and jam before moving on to the tea sandwiches. I think one of the things I missed most about the UK was clotted cream and salmon on everything. (Other sandwich flavors were Coronation chicken, ham, and cucumber. All good.) We hadn’t even eaten breakfast and those two courses alone would have been able to tide me over until a late dinner. But we didn’t want anything to go to waste, so after another round of salmon finger sandwiches, we tasted each of the sweets and an amazingly rich chocolate mousse cake.

It was raining outside pretty heavily after our 1.5 hour lunch was over, so we browsed through the rest of the department store for awhile. I decided that if I ever have the funds, I’m stocking my future kitchen with china sets from Fortnum & Mason. (I also wouldn’t say no to an endorsement deal, if any F&M employees come across this! ha.) Eventually, we had enough space in our stomachs again to hit the tea tasting counters… But not enough to visit the ice cream parlour. All in all… it was a very delicious afternoon.

 

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I won’t even deny that over 50% of the reason I wanted to eat here was the table setting. Look at my teapot! 

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