For some time now, Mr & Mrs Smith has been in cahoots with the gourmandising gurus at Dean & DeLuca, giving the low-down on exceptional food and wine regions around the world. After the success of our Caribbean adventure and our wine-soaked wandering in Napa Valley, the latest stop-off on The Global Gourmet’s world tour is the Italian kitchen. We’ve romped around the country teeth-pulling the secrets of Tuscan vintners, Campanian chefs, Umbrian truffle-hunters, Pugliese pasta-makers and Sicilian nonnas to bring the cream of the Italian crop to your virtual table.
While the experts over at Dean & DeLuca have had their hands (and mouths) full comparing Pugliese pasta ears with penne from Praiano, inspecting the hooves of Sienese heirloom pigs, and washing down the whole gastronomic gamut with Tuscany’s finest sangiovese, here at Smith HQ we’ve been combing our collection to find you the hippest hotels and most ravishing rustic retreats in which to bed down on your tasting tour of Italy. We’re even offering Smith members exclusive free nights and discounts at selected boutique boltholes in these regions.
And the icing sugar on the panforte (for US residents, at least; sorry, non-StatesSmiths) is the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Tuscany to stay at two of our most gastronomically gifted getaways in the area. You’ll stay for two nights in the Conti di San Bonifacio (an old farmhouse restored to designer lustre, where wine arrives in your glass fresh from the hotel’s vineyards), followed by three nights in Villa Fontelunga, which offers exquisite hospitality in an intimate rural setting.
As if this weren’t enough, the sommelier at San Bonifacio will guide your palate through an exclusive wine-tasting session, after which you’ll rendezvous with the Fontelunga’s accomplished chef for a masterclass in Italian cookery. And you’ll even receive a basketful of Italian produce, hand-picked by the team at Dean & DeLuca, so you can road-test your new-found culinary expertise with the crispest grissini, the most delicately saffroned balsamic, and the most delicious Italian sauces.
Some Smiths out there may recall the immortal words of George Meredith: ‘Kissing don’t last: cookery do…’
Compiled by Louise Woods