When the weather in this country is as erratic as it is at the moment, you can’t help but let your mind wander to sunnier places. Where the way of life is just that little bit more relaxed. With a newborn and a toddler, some quiet moments certainly wouldn’t go amiss!
Who doesn’t dream of lounging around in a private villa, in beautiful Italy?? Taking in all of that delicious fresh air, and taking your mind off of the everyday stresses of home.
I’ve been daydreaming and browsing the Clickstay website, looking at their wonderful array of villas. This truly beautiful one is Villa Cristina, and it’s located on the top of a hill above Arezzo in Tuscany. Consisting of a massive 3 hectares of garden and woodland, it boasts a private pool, and has spectacular 360 degree views of the Tuscan valleys. Not to mention the jacuzzi, Gazebo and games room. There’s also exercise equipment if you’re that way inclined! (I can’t think of anything worse than exercising whilst on holiday at a villa in Tuscany!)
With 5 bedrooms, there is plenty of space for guests. And the elegance and opulence of this villa is unrivalled; perfect for my dream guests. I would love to have some of my favourite foodies join me for the evening. These would simply have to include Jay Rayner (I love his wit), Grace Dent (straight talking foodie and author, and loves a tipple) and Marcus Wareing (my favourite chef; always has been, ever since he taught me how to make my own custard creams!). I’d be quite nervous about hosting 3 of my favourite foodies, but after a couple of glasses of Chianti i’m sure i’d be fine…!
We would feast on traditional Tuscan fare; so-called “cucina povera”. How about some Coccoli? These are salty fried balls of dough and are a quintessential Tuscan comfort food. I’d serve them with Prosciutto and Stracchino as a yummy starter.
Main course would be Bistecca alla Fiorentina. This Florence style Porterhouse steak will be cooked very rare – as is the traditional way to serve – with a delicious salad. I love a steak… particularly a rare one. It’s the number one thing I missed most when I was pregnant… a juicy rare steak. Oh my, I can taste it already!! Haha.
A simple Gelato would up next for dessert… offered in a multitude of flavours. Perhaps followed by some Cantuccini with vin santo. Actually, no perhaps about it… definitely followed by these tasty almond biscuits dipped in wine! What a treat.
After dinner, we would head to the wood burning fireplace in the gazebo and enjoy a glass or 3 of Chianti, along with the truly spectacular views across Tuscany. Grace would regale us with tales of the worst restaurants she’s ever been to; the true horror stories. Jay would let us know what it’s really like to front the Jay Rayner Quartet. And Marcus… well, I’d probably just sit back and stare at his beard. And I need to pick his brains about how to make the perfect custard tart, as mine always turn into scrambled egg…!
In the wee small hours of the morning we would head to our respective rooms before having a lovely snooze, and a long lie in. And when I wake up, Marcus Wareing is in my kitchen whipping up brunch for us all, as a thank you for all of my hard work on dinner the night before. Really Marcus, it was nothing. Then coffee by the pool, taking in the glorious views…
I’m at this villa in Tuscany already…!
Where would you go in Italy? Do you have a favourite place that you regularly go to, or perhaps an area of this beautiful country that you’ve always dreamt of going?