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The Hills Are Alive…

Posted in Caro Diario.(dear diary..), Chianti, Country House Living, cucina, cucina povere, entertaining, La Dolce Vita, recipes, slow food, the Mediterranean diet, Travel & customs, Tuscan, Upcoming Appearances, and wine

copyright 2010 Maria Liberati

As I remembered the song from my favorite musical The Sound of Music..I thought to myself as we drove along the hills in Chianti…these hills are alive with the beauty of the  grape vines( filled with beautiful plump black grapes)..almost ready for the vendemmia

castello-d-albola 3

I don’t think I can ever look at another hill again without remembering the beauty of’s green, rolling hills, decorated with tall, proud cypress trees and sunflowers that seemed to smile and greet you as you drive we drove the sharp curves and winding roads a calm came over me..the beauty and serenity of the hills seemed to put me in a trance..albeit a relaxed one…

Castello dalbola 2

When we arrived at Castello D’Albola at the top of the hill I could barely speak..I think I became drunk with the beauty before I drank a drop of Chianti…a medieval castle that was built somewhere in the late 1400’s..and may have been worked on by craftsman taught by Michelangelo or DaVinci or Bernini…

castello d'albola

More on Chianti and Castello D’Albola soon…One of the wines in they expertly produce there is Vin Santo..a wine that is served at the end of a dinner and cantucci biscotti are dipped into a glass filled with this sweet liquid.. If you are eating dinner in Tuscany and a bottle of Vin Santo is placed on the table with cantucci biscotti-this means dinner is finished and this will be the last course.

Cantucci Biscotti

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 cup whole almonds

4 whole eggs beaten

1 tsp of grated orange peel

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place whole, unpeeled almonds on cookie sheet, place in oven and toast for 3 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and chop in large pieces.

Sift flour into a bowl. Place inside sugar, eggs, baking powder, orange peel, pinch of salt. Blend well till dough is smooth, but not too soft., then add in  almonds and blend in.

Cover cookie sheet with baking paper. Form dough into a long roll, the form of a long finger. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cut diagonally to form biscotti. Cover cookie sheet with baking paper, place single biscotti on baking paper and bake for approx 25 minutes or until crispy and golden. Remove.

For more great recipes get your copy of the book selected as Best Italian Cuisine Book in the USA- The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

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September 10-11..see you at Hudson Valley Wine Fest in Hudson Valley, Rhinebeck, NY. I will be onstage with The Basic Art of Italian Cooking from 1-2 each day. For more info email:

Be a Guest writer and Share the Joy! In honor of the release of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition- we are inviting our readers to also share their special Holiday food memories for any Holiday and any nationality. Email your story of 300 words or less and we will be selecting one story a week to publish on the blog and to be part of a nationally published book. All stories become property of art of living,PrimaMedia,Inc Email your stories to

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