Crostata di Susine – Plum Tarte

I love to cook and I love to make cakes but I’ve never been able to make a proper “Crostata” which is my kids favourite. Two years ago I invited friends for dinner and lovely Francesca brought a Crostata for the kids. They loved it so much that I asked her the recipe and when I tried it was as good as the one she prepared. Now I make Crostata at least once a week, it’s a perfect dessert but it makes delicious breakfast as well. For kids birthday parties it’s a must and I usually do three different Crostata: plum, blackberries and strawberries.

Crostata di Susine – Plum Tarte

  • 300 gr flour
  • 100 gr cane sugar
  • 150 gr butter, softened
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt.
  • Plum jam – I use the sugar free jam made in Montepulciano (or your favourite jam)

In a bowl mix the sugar with the butter and the salt using your hands or a fork. Add the egg and the yolk and mix with the fork,. Mix the flour with the baking powder and combine all the ingredients, handling them as little as possible to keep the butter from melting. Put it in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once the dough has rested, butter a flat-bottomed pan about 12 inches (30 cm) across and preheat your oven to 356° F (180° C).  Roll the dough out somewhere between a quarter and a half inch thick; work quickly, without overworking the dough in case it becomes crumbly upon baking.

Set aside the cuttings to make decorative strips. Spread jam on the dough in the pan. Re-roll the cuttings, make rolls and lay them in a  crosshatch pattern over the jam.

Bake the crostata for about 40 minutes at 356° F (180° C).


Cooking Class – Pecorino che Passione!

One of the things we love most about Tuscany is food.

We really enjoy organising cookery classes, and our ‘Chef at Home’ experience at the villas shows guests the secrets of Tuscan food.

Angela Olmi – Chef at Osteria da Gagliano – Sarteano (SI)

Last week, one of our favourite collaborators, Stella Severini of Misenplace organised a cooking class held by Angela Olmi chef at the famous “Osteria da Gagliano” in Sarteano.

Angela showed us how to prepare an entire meal with “Pecorino” cheese from starter to dessert!

I never thought it would be possible but I can tell you it has been a really amazing experience and of course the results were absolutely delicious!

Here is the menu:

We don’t just want you to trust us – we want you to try it for yourselves!

Buon Appetito!

New luxury villa in Val d’Orcia

Winter is my house-scouting time. I go out and see new villas at least twice a week.

I usually visit at least 40 villas from November until March but only 5 to 10 are going to be part of our portfolio. Some of them are beautifully decorated but there will be a main road next to them. Some are perfect inside-out but are located in a very flat area where it is impossible to stay in the summer months because of the humidity and heat.

Since November I’ve seen quite a lot of villas, some of them are already on our web site and some will be added soon but one has caught my heart: TARUGI.

Tarugi pool at sunsetThe villa is just PERFECT. Everything seems to be put together by an artist: interiors, gardens, swimming pool and the views.
I am sure this will be one of our  favourite villas and it will be really hard to find availability. For 2012 there are just a few weeks available and some guests are already booking for 2013 (only those that don’t trust the MAYA 😉 )

First floor bedroomPictured right is a photo of my favourite bedroom which is on the first floor. This bedroom has the most amazing views, three windows on three different sides. From each window you can look out at the “perfect Tuscan postcard”.

View from Tarugi

We look forward to welcoming you at TARUGI with a glass of Prosecco and the most amazing views of Tuscany.
Tuscan Views is delighted to offer guests staying at Tarugi a complimentary welcome dinner (wine is not included).

Tarugi sleeps up to 18 guests from € 7,800 per week (including daily buffet breakfast, daily maid service, A/C and WiFi)

Staying at TARUGI will be a unique and unforgettable experience. Contact us to check availability.

Shopping in Florence

Cellerini's bagWe (women) love shoes and bags! We can’t get enough of them!

We always seem to need a different size or colour bag to go with the shoes we just bought!

That’s why every time I go to Florence I must stop at Cellerini.

It is a lovely leather shop run by the Cellerini family. They craft each item by hand in their workshop, and they can personalise each model according to client’s needs.

I love their bags and the one pictured here is their most famous model (yes, that’s right! It is very similar to the “Birkin”, but ask the price and you’ll be amazed!).

Xmas at Cellerini

Here’s a lovely photo I took just before Christmas on my last visit. Time to go again very soon!

Via del Sole 37/r, 50123 Firenze
Tel. +39 055 282533 – Fax +39 055 283109

Email                              web site:

White Tuscany

On the 1st of February I woke up and looked out of the window to discover that everything was white.

My "White" House

It had snowed throughout the night, and kept snowing until late afternoon.

The week after it snowed some more, resulting in a total white out and us being under one meter of snow!

Road to Val d'Orcia. The winds had blown the snow from the fields and brought it to the sides of the road, and in some places it was over two meters high!


We usually get a little snow here in Tuscany, but we’ve never had anything over 50cm as far back as I can remember.

In addition to snow, we all felt the sub-zero temperatures (-3° C during the day and -15° C at night) but thankfully I’ve heard conditions only get this back once every 30 years, so am very relieved!

Schools were closed and meetings had to be cancelled however my kids and I made the most out of the situation, staying at home and cooking pizzas, pastas and cakes to our hearts content!

We did brave the snow on one occasion, driving down to Val d’Orcia  (it was freezing -8° C at 4pm) but the landscape was amazing.

All the lakes were frozen and even the magnificent Torre Tarugi was surrounded by snow – it looked quite magical!

Frozen Lake

Torre Tarugi

It has been difficult but the kid inside made me seize the moment so it has also been incredibly fun, however I’m definitely looking forward to spring time!