Last week was the fifth anniversary of my friend Steph’s wine shop, Ottimi Vini. It’s an excellent achievement bearing in mind the economic situation in the last five years and the challenges of being an English girl, in Italy, selling Italian wine. However, through hard work, determination, and an encyclopedic knowledge of wine, she’s made it and now has one of the most well-known and popular enoteche in the town of Sansepolcro.
Nothing says Tuscan summer quite as much as a glass of limoncello. In restaurants in an around our village, it’s customary for the waiter to leave an ice-cold bottle, adorned with Swarovski crystals of condensation, on the table with your after-dinner coffee. If you’re lucky, the restaurant may serve home made limoncello, recognizable by its opaque colour, and normally much higher in alcohol content than commercially available brands.
When the seasons change in Tuscany it happens with a bang. In the case of autumn, quite literally. Every year on August 31 we are treated to a thunderstorm which sends cool winds down the valley on September 1, shushing the leaves from the trees.
This week it was the turn of spring. Overnight the April showers stopped and someone flipped the switch that activates the cricket soundtrack. The fields have been sprayed with buttercups to order, and my irises are waving their purple flags saying ‘Hooray it’s spring!’