As Spring has arrived, so have a wide variety of events, especially on the weekends! This past Sunday was also a splendid sunny morning, perfect for spending time outdoors. We headed to Chianti, more precisely to the Chianti wine area to the west of Florence near Vinci, Leonardo’s birth home, to Villa Dianella. While there was a lot of sun, there was also a lot of wind at the top of the hill where the villa sits. Here’s the view:
And here is the villa as you walk up.
An explosion of color and scents
We were invited to attend this Sunday’s Green Brunch dedicated to Spring! It was also Palm Sunday, as well as the weekend before Easter. An activity for families was planned, Easter egg decorating so our older kid was excited!
Veronica Passerin d’Entreves, owner of the villa and wine estate, is at the head of a series of improvements, renovations and novelties at the wine estate. From heavy investment in renovating and enlarging the family winery, the latest is renovating a part of the farm buildings into a wine hotel resort that is set to open by this fall. In the meantime, let’s talk about this Green Brunch. I want to share what you’ll find and what you can expect, to encourage you to include it in your itinerary since I think you will love the experience! The next one is on May 1st dedicated to Pecorino Cheese and Fresh Peas; you can find more details on their events on their website here: http://www.villadianella.it/eventi/
The Green Brunch events held almost monthly throughout the fall, winter and spring are the perfect occasion for the general public to enter into the wine cellars and taste the whole range of Dianella wines, as well as enjoy local flavors with dishes made by in-house chef Alessio Bagnoli.
Why go to one of Villa Dianella’s Green Brunches:
- The Green Brunches highlight the local ingredients of the season. In each, the brunch has a theme and the entire menu and offerings are created around that theme. This was Spring, as you can see from all of the photos the theme and dishes were very well put together.
- A perfect occasion to sample all of the estate’s wines, of course! A table is set up with the estate’s wine, all you need to do is go and choose which one to have with your meal. If you just want to do wine tastings here at any other time, read my preview here and then book your visit.
- Eating and spending time in the cellars is a spectacular experience, take a look at all of the photos I just needed to share to show you the experience ;-). I hope they make you want to go eat at one of their brunches. The experience is very informal, casual and very pleasant. While it isn’t a restaurant setting, it is very similar although eating in the villa and the cellars makes it seem like you’re actually visiting a friend at their home (a spacious one at that).
Tables are set up across the cellar space, here is one of the main spaces where the desserts were set up with several tables nearby… and a preview of the cakes to be tasted ;-).
Let’s take a look at the food now. Here we have spring salad with fresh greens and flowers from the gardens at Villa Dianella.
This table had fresh cheeses, yogurt and granola, pancakes and savory tarts, as well as a delicious artichoke soup.
Another had local cold cuts specialties from Tuscany, from salame toscano to prosciutto toscano. There was also pasta, ham with a special pear sauce, quiche and more savory dishes.
Super special for this brunch was the creation of rose petal risotto, live with chef Bagnoli showing off his skills in the cellar as he made it there and then so that you could see how only genuine flavors were used. More than that, the rose petals that were being used to create this delicate risotto were there for you to admire as he prepared the risotto.
A sampling of various items on our plate of savory options…
… and then of the sweets.
Of course, all accompanied with a selection of the estate’s Chianti wines.
Ending with an Italian espresso, of course. There were also fresh juices being made, on request.
But wait, the surprises were not over. Chef Bagnoli also made a rose-infused liquor for the day called “acquarosa” following a recipe by none other than Leonardo da Vinci! It was the perfect ending to the meal.
As the meal was ending, the kids were called to head back upstairs and decorate their eggs… which we soon found out meant CHOCOLATE eggs! Decorated with royal icing for the kids to have fun. They sure did!
A perfect way to spend a Sunday morning, don’t you think? For more details, make sure to check out the Events on Villa Dianella’s website. Next brunch is planned for May 1, even if it isn’t yet published on their site, they had the posters on the tables reminding us of the next date.
Enjoy – and Happy Easter!
About Lourdes Flores
An American living in Florence for over 10 years, Lourdes continues to explore and discover new places in Tuscany with the eyes of a tourist but with the experience of living in Italy. She shares her experiences on this blog and website, particularly offering lots of travel planning help on the Forum!