If I could draw the most perfect Tuscan farm in my mind, in the perfect setting, with the perfect food and wine, with loving people taking care of the land, it would be the almost unreal Fattoria Poggio Alloro. Facing the elegant towers of San Gimignano, you can see straight lines of green vines painted in the landscape crossed by the gentle curves of the surrounding hilltops, a little pond lays peacefully at the lowest point of the valley creating the serene scene of a Tuscan dream.
Family and food are two basic columns of the Italian culture, they are inseparably connected with each other. From childhood to adult life, so many memories are created by the two of them. It's the backbone of a country known for its genuine hospitality, where the cuisine is strongly influenced by the fact that food and wine are meant to be shared at the table. Poggio Alloro is an old farm where a family of sisters and brothers, sons, daughters and husbands, aunts and uncles lives together, works together, and enjoys the pleasures of life together. And I'm more than thankful that they decided to share it with the rest of us. This little paradise is a microcosm, it's self-sufficient, everything you need in the kitchen comes from their own fields, their winery, or the cattle farm. The family produces their own wheat to bake bread and olive oil to dip it in. Whatever you find on your plate or in your glass is of outstanding quality, created by a family that believes in living in harmony with nature.
Therefore cultivating organic farming is the only choice in their eyes. They are blessed and they know it, thanks to the way their fathers and mothers have respected and worked with the land for generations.
Renowned chef und cookbook author Sarah Fioroni invited me to spend a day at the farm, to meet her 82 year-old father, Amico, and cook the famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina at the grill of their rustic outdoor kitchen together with him. I totally fell for the man's rugged charm - I guess it's a talent that Italians just know better to use than anyone else - and I fell in love with his gorgeous vegetable garden: L'Orto di Amico. You just have to watch this man walk through his kingdom, past obscenely lush basil plants filling the greenhouse with their addictive perfume. If you hear him swear that it was the hottest summer in 200 years and that the sun destroyed a great part of his tomato harvest, if you see him stroke the farm's snow-white Chianina cows, one of the world's oldest breeds, then you'll understand how much he has grown together with his land, with the soil, the produce, and the animals. There's fennel, lettuce, and beans, dark Tuscan kale with long pointy leaves waiting to be picked for the Tuscan Ribollita soup, there are plenty of leeks, as Amico himself loves it so much. It's all organic, it's all there to feed the family and their guests at the farm's fantastic restaurant. You can also stay at the farm that has been mentioned in the Michelin guide for years and imagine that it's your kingdom, even if it's just for a night.