Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lunch at Il Castagnolino

The Saffron Crocus
During our tour of Tuscany, Rebecca arranged for us to have lunch at Il Castagnolino, a working farm and B&B about 2 km from San Gimignano. Carmela Cristiano was our hostess and she gave us a tour of her small farm. Il Castagnolino produces saffron and olive oil and she was harvesting the saffron when we arrived. I had no idea that saffron grew in Italy. The blossoms from the crocus plant are picked in late October and early November. The stamen are carefully removed from the flower and allowed to dry. Carmela and her friend, Alessandra, treated us to a Tuscan lunch seasoned with saffron and fresh pressed olive oil from the farm. This is exactly the kind of experiences I wanted while in Italy - to be see how Italians garden, cook and eat. Thanks Rebecca for making this happen!
Broccoli Souffle
Aubergine and Veggies
Cheese-filled Crepe
Fresh Carrots, Celery and Fennel
Freshly Pressed Olive Oil

Primi Piatti
Fresh Pasta with a Saffron Cheese Sauce

Saffron Cookies and Ice Cream


  1. Most interesting! Great shot of the saffron crocus! I've never seen it fresh, still on the hoof and all...

  2. I always thought saffron was from Spain. This was a real treat.