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The place is San Polo, Radda in Chianti: we are in a family kitchen where Mama Elena coordinates everything. The locale emanates history. It is here where “close” relatives gather, a large family of more than 50 people among uncles, aunts and cousins.

We are in an old fashioned kitchen, where recipes are passed from one generation to another. The origins of the recipes are from at least the 1800s.

In that era, Elena’s aunt taught all of the secrets of traditional cooking. Elena used her knowledge early. Since she was young, she has been cooking lunch and dinner for 11 people.

This is one of the cooking courses organized by “Chianti Live”, a 0 km tour operator ( offers special experiences for tourists in Radda in Chianti.

“In our cooking courses,” they explain, “we try to transmit the culinary tradition of the Chianti territory, from the preparation to the ingredients to the flavors and fragrances”.

Today there are two 30 year olds from Siena, Beniamino and Eleonora, who are taking advantage of a Christmas gift. This is unusual, because 99% of clients for this type of activity are foreigners.

The menu is homemade pasta (with eggs from the henhouse) served with meat sauce, antipasto with Italian garlic bread and bruschetta made with fresh tomato, “peposo”, a local stew, fillet of pork in bread crust with pancetta, and onions in balsamic vinegar.

To end the meal, we have biscotti made with aunt Nunziatina’s recipe (she was born in 1898. It is a local delicacy which can’t be beat.

The wine is also family made from a small wine cellar in Poggio San Polo; genuine, a few bottles and so much quality. It isn’t sold in wine shops but only by word of mouth. Everything here is beautiful.


Matteo Pucci