This blog was originally published on Slow Travel Tours on 29 December 2013
Sapori e Saperi means ‘flavours and knowledge’, and on my tours guests enter a pleasant and gentle ‘school’ of artisan food. I’m always searching for new producers of the best of Tuscan produce. The results of my detective work are often surprising. Sometimes I go looking for cheese and I find wool.
More about a day on the Cavani farm.
Or it’s squashes I’m after and I come up with hemp (yes, cannabis, but not the smoking kind).
Read more about Romeo and Nada here: Weaving a Life of Happiness
And there was the day I was sitting innocently enjoying lunch at Il Vecchio Mulino…
when the owner introduced me to two brothers who run a scarf mill where they weave silk and cashmere scarves on traditional Garfagnana floor-looms for international fashion houses. They begged me to bring my clients to see how they had rescued a dying craft and made it relevant to the modern world.
My weaver friend from Cambridge came to visit and was inspired by Stefania who rears silkworms and runs silk workshops for schoolchildren, because her grandmother and grandmother-in-law raised silkworms and she wants today’s children to know about their past.
Several of my tours include a lesson with Paolo the village baker (more about Paolo) in a village that hosts a farro festival where we get to eat all the traditional dishes made with that primitive wheat. There on his dad’s front patio I met Teresa Bertei and her friends spinning and knitting.
Soon I had a network of textile artisans to interweave with my food producers. My guests on each tour give me more suggestions of other things they would have liked to have done if only there had been time. Finally the fabric was stretched to its limit, and I’ve added an extra day this year. After all, we still need time to relax at a cafe and enjoy a gelato.
This element of the serendipity is a feature of Slow Travel. If you stay in one place long enough, you find all sorts of things you weren’t looking for (read more about how I research my tours), and this explains why I offer ‘Tastes & Textiles’ tours among my culinary adventures. The next ‘Tastes & Textiles’ tours will take place in September 2021 and May, June and September 2022. Full details here.
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