Author: Rachel Priestley

Rachel Priestley, a cook and wine and food consultant, has opened Italian restaurants and wine bars in Italy and in Vienna. Passionate about Italian food, she has spent 10 years living and working in Italy, including six years in Tuscany. She exports a line of gourmet artisan-produced Italian products and fine Italian wines into New Zealand, where she produces a range of products. She divides her time between Tuscany and New Zealand. You can contact her at [email protected] and follow her on twitter: @ProdigaDaughter.
September 13, 2012

Spelt and pumpkin risotto

The tomato sauce passata is made for the year, a variety of tomatoes procured already sun-dried from Puglia, Calabria and Sicily, some in oil with garlic and herbs, others halved and dried ready to be reconstituted in boiling water, and chillies in the pantry that are sun-dried then
June 21, 2012

Nocino di San Giovanni

  While some people eat four-horned snails to help keep arguments at bay and to avoid betrayals by loved ones for the forthcoming year, others send barefoot virgins up walnut trees after midnight on the eve of San Giovanni, Florence’s patron saint celebrated on June 24, around the time of the summer solstice, the longest […]
May 24, 2012

What is Tonno del Chianti?

Learning Italian can be tricky enough, especially when there are obstacles along the way, such as the Tuscan dialect, the Florentine accent and the frequent use of words with double meanings. Thus, speaking fluent Italian doesn't mean you are necessarily going to get what you think you want when
April 26, 2012

Seppie in zimino

Once spring gives way to summer, it will be time to go to the Tuscan coast. But in the meantime, I find myself longing to eat more seafood and fresh green vegetables. Seppie in zimino, cuttlefish with leafy greens, is the perfect dish.     When I make seppie in
March 29, 2012

Tie it up and call it Easter

There is a saying in Italian: Natale con i tuoi e Pasqua con chi vuoi (‘Christmas with your family and Easter with whomever you want'). And who you want to feast with is as important as what you eat: food is the centre of celebrations, and tradition has it
March 1, 2012

The fish stew with five c’s

Most seaside towns in Italy have their own antique version of zuppa di pesce, and the Tuscan port town of Livorno is no exception: here they call it cacciucco: the fish stew with five c's and 13 different types of seafood, all slow-cooked in red wine with lots
February 2, 2012

Let them eat pig (fat)

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to massage pig fat? Does the idea of ribbons of pig fat on pieces of toasted bread make your mouth water? Do you wake up in the morning wondering how you will choose to feed your pig cravings each day? Or is
December 15, 2011

Christmas capon recipes

Christmas is a special time to share with friends and family. Here in Italy, whether you are with family, new friends or friends who are now your Florentine family, what's on the table at Christmas Eve, before midnight mass, is a top priority.   Why such a decadent abundance
November 10, 2011

Peasant food at its best

With the cooler days and nights and the richer colours and flavours of autumn, I find myself longing for Tuscan chestnut dishes. Foraging is great at this time of the year:  autumn walks in the countryside yield pockets full of castagne, sweet chestnuts; funghi, wild mushrooms; and branches of
October 13, 2011

A handsome pair from Siena

At harvest time, Elia Palazzesi gets up around four in the morning and works outdoors until dusk. This doesn't give him much time for anything else during the vendemmia, the wine harvest. Elia and his family have long been making one of the most well-known wines in Tuscany-