A Travellerspoint blog

What's an Italian Fiasco?

It's really not what you might think .. and today we learned all about the Italian wicker baskets!


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Day five of the Culinary Adventure in Tuscany. And the word of the day is "Fiasco". Now I know what I mean when I say Fiasco - in my mind a fiasco is a real mess of things. Well, that's true in Italy if its attached to the verb "fare" (to make). But today, Miguel taught us the other meaning of Fiasco. The straightforward meaning is "flask". So, if you're as old as we are, you'll recall the days when Chianti wine came in a bottle with a little wicker basket around the base of the bottle. We knew it as very cheap wine. But here's the rest of the story: The chianti wine makers had a round bottom to their bottles so in order to have them stand upright they packaged them in the wicker baskets. This also allowed them to put more bottles in a case by turning a few upside down and all would be protected from hitting the others by the wicker baskets. Sooner or later some crafty entrepreneurs in America, replaced the wine in these bottles with a cheap imitation. Hence, our thoughts that Chianti was always a rather cheap, not so delicious wine. In the states, everyone found these wicker baskets in virtually every Italian restaurant - made into chandeliers and on every red-checkered table cloth. Their marketing campaign made it such that pretty much every American has a vision of Chianti as being a cheap wine. But while here in the Chianti valley we were fortunate to learn otherwise!

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We learned today's hike is pretty much upward without any shade. ( 3.2 miles at an elevation gain of 518 ft. and then 5.2 miles with a gain of 720 feet - I don't think my Fitbit can handle that!) So, that decides it. With the inviting thermal ponds and the town left to explore we opted out. We enjoyed a great "European breakfast" in an outdoor restaurant with marvelous views, took a walk around town to check out the ancient ruins and the thermal baths and then headed down to the shaded lawn chairs with Kindle in hand. This time we weren't alone - our young friends Ian and Shanley from Colorado were our partners in crime. (Ian and Jeff are so simpatico - both fill the glass full of ice before adding the scotch) among other similarities.

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This time I waded into the thermal pools at the hotel with Fran, Ian and Shanley. It's usually not my thing, but as they say when in Rome - or in this case, Bagno Vignoni! It wasn't terribly hot but the surfaces were pretty slimy. All in all, still not my thing but maybe good for aching muscles.
Afterwards, we showered and got ready for the shuttle bus to take us to another agriturismo for a pasta making class.

In preparation for her upcoming Tuscany party back home, Fran got right in there - wielding the pasta noodles and the knife like a pro!

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Our lunch was - of course - pasta, salad, Italian bread and a great chocolate dessert. Perfect carbohydrate loading for the hike (although we choose not to hike to Pienza with temps now in the upper 90's).

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Off we went to Pienza. Little did we know when we booked the trip that we'd return there once again. However, we were on a mission to get a leather bound journaling book that we missed the 1st time before the store closed. And, wouldn't you know it - it was closed again. Oh well, we roamed the streets, spoke some Italian with the locals, found an interesting grocery and took a break in the shade.

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Hard to believe a week has gone by. TIme does fly when you're having fun. Tonight was our farewell dinner.

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Afterwards, we went dancing in the courtyard across the street. Met five Italian teens and had a really fun time with them. They took our photo with our cowboy hats. Too bad we didn't have our camera. It was a great time to speak more Italian, the music was fantastic and the dancing helped wear off the carbs!

Posted by Where2FromHere 12:28 Archived in Italy

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Comments

Your food making course looks like a lot of fun.

by irenevt

It was! Some people were just natural Pasta makers (i.e. Fran Lawler)

by Where2FromHere

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