Monday, April 14, 2014

Ideas for a family, a group or for example a company teambuilding session in Tuscany

A stay with us is not following a standard formula. If you want to focus on the wines, that is fine. Please book us during the week if possible, as a lot of smaller wineries are closed during the weekend.

Do you want to do something else (together) besides wine tasting? Great: how about doing a cooking class in Florence?
You can shop with Silvia or Barbara on local markets in the morning and afterwards prepare your dinner with a teacher or even a real chef. In the evening you can enjoy your own dishes with a nice glass of wine.
Great for a team-building session!

Photo the kitchen of "The Florence Chefs" and "The Florence school of olive oil".

Do you want to learn more about olive oil? Ever did an olive oil tasting? We can built this in in your culinary adventure. Just ask!

Photo: Florence Chef - Silvia Maccari. 

Apart from doing a cooking class and/or olive oil tasting in Florence, we can also organize an event like this on your location in Tuscany, like your apartment or a house in for example "Castel Brunello".

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Where do babies come from? The white storks the symbol of Alsace of course!

We grew up with stories of white storks delivering babies to our doorsteps. It may date me a bit, but I recall from my baby scrapbook my mother kept for me, drawings of the stork flying me to my parents! Pink blanket for me, and blue blanket for my brother.

Beautiful tall white birds, with very long orange legs, and a big long orange beak, and black tips on their wings abound in Alsace.

Legend has it if a stork is flying over your house the baby is on the way. When the baby is born it means the stork has flown down to the land of souls of the dead that are now reincarnated to a new baby. The stork takes the baby up in a blanket and flies the child from the land of souls to your doorstep. This is where babies come from everybody knows that!

If a stork chooses your house to make a nest, this is a symbol of very good luck. However it is said, a stork will never place his nest on a house where there has been a divorce! Today, it is estimated there are over 600 stork couples in Alsace, so very much good luck, love, and fertility here! Also we must assume not to many divorces.

The nests of these storks are permanent homes. We can think of them like a summer home, as they spend their winters as far away as South Africa to avoid the cold Alsatian winters. These nests are often supported by metal holders that Alsatians put on top of their homes to support their massive weight, as they can weight up to 500 kilograms, just over 1,000 pounds. It is a lot of fun to see these, and in the spring hearing the birds loudly clapping their beaks together in joy!

In the spring the male will arrive first to set up housekeeping in his forever nest, and soon after the female will arrive. These birds mate for life and somehow find each other again after flying as far as 15,000 kilometers back from Africa to their Alsatian home. Hard to imagine how they do it, but they do!

While touring with us in Alsace you will definitely see these majestic creatures in the the spring and summer, and we will most likely drive buy this location  "Parc des cigognes et des loutres" Stork park, where you can see hundreds nesting and flying about from the road, and if you like we can plan a visit for you inside the park as well.

Yes, beloved Alsace, home to some of the best stories ever, with evidence of their truth!

Oh Alsace, you gave us the Easter bunny too!

As children our lives are filled with little traditions, passed on from generation to generation, however; when we are asked when did this tradition start and where did it come from, those passing it to us really do not know. All they know is their parents gave it to them, and so on and so forth, but where it came from originally seems timeless.

Where did the Easter bunny come from? Well there are legends that go very far back in time and were passed down orally in cultures. The Easter bunny is a fantastic symbol of childhood bringing in spring with colored eggs, bits of chocolate and sometimes toys to the children the night before Easter. This is very strongly rooted in the idea of spring, new beginnings and fertility.

Georg Franck von Franckenau, first wrote about this in his book De ovis paschalibus, (About the Easter Egg), and funny it was an Easter Hare, (not exactly the same as a rabbit) and the adverse effects of eating too many Easter eggs.

Recording this in the early 17th century is very interesting, but still more interesting is the origins of the story itself going back to Holy Roman Empire, and basically first showing up in Germany and around the Upper Rhineland and Alsace.

The United States recieved this custom from German settlers namely Penneslyvania Dutch.

In Alsace the tradition of color eggs is still going strong, and if you visit with us in spring we can arrange to take you to the colored egg festival

Here in Alsace if you visit with us in the spring, you will be sure to see many Easter decorations everywhere. All of the villages do a very nice job of decorating for this much loved tradition. One favorite also is Easter Lamb, which is not meat but a cake backed in a mold to shape like a lamb. 

L'oeuf en habit de fĂȘte - Egg in festive dress, is offered each year in Alsace.

Biggest painted egg market in all of France.
Artists and artisans from all over Europe - France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Netherlands, Hungary - will exhibit their works and will demonstrate their skills. 
In addition to exhibitors, workshops will be offered during the two days: 

Relay Regional Cultural Pierre Schiele host the 25th edition of the exhibition. 
Saturday 5th: 9:30-19h  and 
Sunday, 6 April 2014: 9:30 am-18h . 
Price 3 to 4 euros.

This year in Alsace Easter is on 4/20 and Easter Monday on 4/21

Cheers and Happy Easter!

Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss 29th of March open house tasting review

It is really something special to be able to attend a wine tasting with the winemaker present and greeting guests and chatting about the wines in Alsace, France. It was a wonderful opportunity to take our tour guests with us also.

During the our visit we tasted mostly Rieslings.

Andlau a 2012 Riesling. It is an earthy wine, very well rounded and fruity with a hint of petrol. Fruitiness is of course the vine, yet the fruit can take on different distinctions. It is rounded, meaning it fits together in balance, smell, color, and taste. Floral, with strong mineral taste, and a bit bitter.

La Fontaine aux Enfants, a Pinot Blanc, Grand Cru D'Alsace 2012 tasted mineral, bold and outdoorsy.There are fruit flavors, and mineral flavors, good acidity, and long on the tongue.

The Wiebelsberg Grand Cru Riesling 2010 was mineral, pronounced, strong, potential, light sugar, high mineral from sandstone. This is a very clear wine, so soft, is floral, spicy, and vertical.

Wiebelsberg Grand Cru Riesling 2009 mineral, pronounced, strong, potential, more sugar, citrus, structured and tart. High mineral from sandstone.

Wiebelsberg Grand Cru Riesling 2008 mineral, pronounced, strong, potential, light sugar. Beautiful, round, one of the best years in Alsace, softer, most drinkable, high mineral from sandstone. Very long finish.

Moenchberg Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2011, from a sandy soil, wonderful not too sweet, very mineral, medium acidity, hints of almond, fresh, and not typical, very dry for a Pinot Gris.

Moenchberg Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2009 is a bit softer and more floral aromas, good acidity, a bit like a tart apple, with honey notes. A bit sweeter than 2011.

Kastelberg 2010 Riesling, lot of volume, floral and fruits, something like peat moss, and medium acidity. Minerals, citrus, and salty a bit, this wine has it all.

Kastelberg 2011 Riesling floral and fruits, something like peat moss, minerals, citrus, elegant, less acid and a bit shorter than the 2010.

Wines with a clear signature. 
Click here to visit Kreydenweiss

Our "castello stays and tours"

A rich history awaits you in Tuscany. Centuries of preserved architecture and art are hallmarks of this region in Italy. If you want to be part of that then you might want to stay in one of the castello's or villas offered by our partner "Kasteelwijnen".

On the picture are the apartments and pool of our local partner "Castel Brunello" near Montalcino. You can choose from apartments with 2,3 or 4 bedrooms. The breakfasts can be included.
The apartments are ideally located for touring the Brunello and Montepulciano region.

We can organize a wine tasting in your apartment or the central space of the premises. And of course we can pick you up in the morning for one or more tour days in the area (on the photo below the Castello Banfi). In the evening we will take you back after your dinner.

We offer a great "4-day Castel Brunello arrangement" with 2 dinners and 2 full wine tasting days, including lunches. For more information? Mail us!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Black Rooster story 'Gallo Nero' and Chianti Classico

Chianti sounds ...
During the middle ages there was a rivalry between Siena and Florence. This resulted in a lot of fighting, in fact the area of Chianti takes its name from the sound of the fighting being heard across the land (like the sound of the clanging of swords).

Knight do not be late
To end the fighting the people decided that knights would leave their home towns at the cock's crow.
Florence had a black rooster and they did not feed him. Siena had a white rooster and they fed him well.

So on the day this was to take place the black rooster of Florence, so hungry, started to crow before the sun came up. As a result the knight of Florence left much earlier arriving in Fonterutoli, meeting the knight from Siena only 12 kilometers from the Siena border. This is why almost all of the Chianti region feel under the rule of the Florentine Republic.

Gallo Nero - the black rooster
So as the story goes since the 14th century, 600 years ago, the black rooster has been the symbol of the Chianti region and this rooster is the official emblem of certification of the wine from the Consortium.

This represents 9 municipalities, 4 of which are in the original black rooster region which are labeled 'in Chianti'and 5 of which are partially in the region and represents a total of 7,000 hectares of land between Siena and Florence.

Did I say that there are some yummy "polio" recipes in Tuscany? Of course with a Gallo Nero certified Chianti Classico wine.

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