Last October, my husband and I hopped on a flight from the states to Tuscany, to check out the olive harvest and the first pressing of olives into oil with our friends Sarah from The Healthy Home Economist and Jovial Foods, a company we’ve supported and worked with for years.
But first, we stopped for a week in the tiny Tuscan town of Ponte a Mariano, just outside of Lucca, where Carla Bartolucci from Jovial Foods hosts culinary getaways a few times a year.
She had just published her first cookbook – Einkorn: Recipes for Nature’s Original Wheat. It’s a stunning cookbook that shows you how to bake gorgeous cakes, breads, pies as well as make pasta and other dishes with einkorn, an heirloom wheat, that we use almost exclusively in our home.
I was eager to chat with her and learn as much as I could about baking with einkorn.
Still, our getaway wasn’t only about baking with einkorn, or taking the time to see the olive oil harvest or pasta was made; rather, it was gave us time to breathe, to take in gorgeous scenery, to meet new people and to relax.
Each morning the group – couples, friends, and families – would gather together for a breakfast spread: charcuterie, fresh fruit, yogurt, juices, gorgeous pastries, homemade sourdough bread.
Later, we’d take time to ourselves – either exploring the villa’s expansive grounds, walking through its garden and checking out the fruit trees. Or we’d head out for the day on day trips to surrounding cities: the hot springs just outside of Pisa, the seaside village of Cinque Terra, or shopping and lunch in Lucca.
After a day out we’d arrive home to the villa and enjoy a group cooking class together with Carla who taught us how to roll pasta, how to bake gorgeous artisanal breads and make traditional Italian treats.
It’s here, in these classes that we connected with one another, many of whom I still stay in touch with today. We’d laugh. We’d ask questions. We’d share tips. And, more than anything else, we spent time with one another in peace, in leisure and in the warm glow of a gorgeous, bustling kitchen.
How to Register for the Culinary Getaway
This year Jovial Foods is hosting culinary getaways this summer and autumn, including two gluten-free getaways and two focused on einkorn. You can check them out by clicking here, and book early to secure your spot because they fill up quickly.