This is Part 2 about our complimentary delicious Tuscan food tour with American, Deb, of Italy Unfiltered, and her Italian husband, Massi the Driver. To read Part 1, click HERE.

Time to walk off some of that delicious Tuscan food

We left the bakery, simultaneously asking ourselves how we could possibly eat more and vowing to try of the delicious Tuscan food. We walked to the car, admiring Siena’s rather imposing city wall as we set off for our next stop, the hidden farmer’s market.

The city wall in Siena, Italy.

Bricks in the city wall of Siena, Italy

An up-close look at the city wall in Siena, Italy. Can you imagine what it took to build this hundreds of years ago?

Massi drove us down narrow streets and through round-a-bouts that we were thankful not to have to maneuver on our own and within a few minutes, we pulled into what we thought was a vacant strip mall because it had no signs. Ann and I didn’t see a farmer’s market, but that didn’t slow our hosts. They led us through an unmarked doorway and into a fresh food lover’s dream.

Steve and Deb from Italy Unfiltered inside the secret food market in Siena, Italy.

A Tuscan farmers market

Inside, vendors had set up shop selling chickens, proscuitto, fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, honeycomb, pasta and soap. All of it was fresh and in season and all of it looked amazing. With ingredients like these, we began to see why all the food in Italy is so good.

Fresh cherries used in making delicious Tuscan food

We got to Siena just at the end of the cherry season. These were likely the last to be sold this season.

Deb, a Texan who herself is a graduate of culinary school, told us that Tuscan cuisine is based on three basic ideas: It’s seasonal, regional, and traditional. In other words, the food served at any point in the year is available fresh, and is prepared according to local recipes in the same way it was prepared hundreds of years ago. The right ingredients at the right time make the delicious Tuscan food I’ve come to love.

Basil in the farmers' market, Siena, Italy used in delicious Tuscan food

Huge bunches of fresh basil were available at the hidden farmers’ market in Siena, Italy.

Pasta from the hidden farmers' market, Siena, Italy

We bought a package of this authentic pasta at the hidden farmers’ market.

We purchased some pasta which will be perfect on a cold October’s night and headed to our next stop – a roadside fruit and vegetable stand that sold some of the most beautiful produce we’ve ever seen.

I have to give props to Ann, she got some wonderful photos. I’ll let them do the talking, but know that everything we sampled tasted even better than it looked.

Fresh garlic and onions at a roadside stand used in delicious Tuscan food

Two must-haves in Italy – fresh garlic and red onions hanging at a roadside fruit and vegetable stand in Siena, Italy.

Peaches in the farmers' market, Siena, Italy, used in delicious Tuscan food

Fresh peaches at a roadside fruit stand in Siena, Italy.

Vegetables at a roadside stand in Siena, Italy, make delicious Tuscan food

We just couldn’t believe how fresh the vegetables were!

Fresh tomatoes in Siena, Italy, used in making delicious Tuscan food

Fresh tomatoes in a roadside stand in Siena, Italy.

And now for something completely different

We paused our tour at this point to make stop at an Italian electronics store where they sell everything from curling irons and coffee makers to televisions and refrigerators. Apparently, they take ironing very seriously here. Check this out:

Iron at electronics store, Siena, Italy

Italians take ironing very seriously. We have no idea what the bottom part of this iron does.

Check out the vast array of irons. But what all do they do?

While Deb and I looked around, Ann picked out a curling iron since she forgot the one that works on European outlets at home, and then we headed down the way to the coffee shop where Massi was waiting for us. Massi seems to know all the best coffee shops.

At the coffee shop, we saw the most amazing little tarts, and we just had to try get a picture of one.

Tarts in Siena, Italy, delicious Tuscan food

These two little tarts were fresh and delicious!

These were so fresh that the blueberries burst in my mouth. Yum.

The Salumeria

We hopped back in the car and drove to our final stop for lunch. Antica Salumeria Salvini is a place where they sell cured hams, sausages, and meats as well as fresh salads. As we approached the salumeria, Deb and Massi explained that the owner uses recipes that are several hundred years old and is so protective of them he hasn’t even shared them with his son.

Antica Salumeria Salvini, Siena, Italy is home to some delicious Tuscan food

Inside Antica Salumeria Salvini.

When we entered the shop, Deb and Massi were greeted like old friends while Ann and I were welcomed like honored guests. We took a moment and wandered the shop admiring the hanging hams, drying sausages, and beautiful meats on display before heading to our table to settle in.

Delicious Tuscan food at Antica Salumeria Salvini

Salami on display at Antica Salumeria Salvini.

We ordered a bottle of the house wine. When it came, something about the label caught our eyes. We looked closer and noticed that it was a picture of the owner of the shop lying on his side wearing only a crown of sausages. He did have a prosciutto ham placed strategically to preserve a little modesty.

House wine label at Antica Salumeria Salvini, Siena, Italy

Thank goodness for the well-placed prosciutto ham in this picture on the wine label.

It quickly became obvious that the owners are fun-loving people who are

Drive less so you can drink more.

This says, “Drive less so you can drink more,” in Italian.

full of personality. On a chalkboard was written, in Italian, “Drive less so you can drink more.” They were friendly, quick to share a laugh, and have a strange love of all things Texas.

We sat and chatted with Deb and Massi, by now feeling like they were old friends. Soon, the food began to come. Then more, and then more. It was like the salumeria was trying to beat us into submission.

First came a bowl of chilled pasta with pesto, then a bowl of panzanella, a bread salad made with tomatoes, basil, onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, and day-old bread crumbs.

Delicious Tuscan food pasta with pesto at Antica Salumeria Salvini, Siena, Italy

This pasta with pesto was delicious!

Still more delicious Tuscan food

Next came a meat and cheese board. On it were several different types of prosciutto, sausages, and cheeses, each one more delicious than the last. I’m not sure how long we sat eating, chatting, and eating some more, but I know that we felt a sense of relaxation down deep, the type of relaxation you feel when you finally disconnect from the rat race and settle in to a slower pace of life.

delicious Tuscan food at Antica Salumeria Salvini

Who can resist the goodies on this delicious meat and cheese board?

At last our tour came to an end. Stuffed full of delicious Tuscan food, we headed back to the car and then to our hotel. We got to our room, and I sat down to write about our experience, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I drifted off into a wonderful, relaxing, sleep. When we left the hotel later on that night to explore more of Siena, we did so with a much deeper understanding of the people and culture behind all we were seeing.

Photo with owner of Antica Salumeria Salvini

Steve and Ann stop for a photo with the owner of the Antica Salumeria Salvini.

We are so grateful we had the opportunity to do this foodie tour with Deb and Massi. We went places we would not have known existed, tasted about 30 new foods and wines we wouldn’t have known much about, and had behind-the-scenes experiences we never would have had without their expertise and connections.

Trust me, this is how you immerse yourself in Tuscany – one taste at a time.


Deb and Massi’s Foodie Tour and transfer services were provided to us free of charge, but the opinions expressed are our own. If you are traveling to Tuscany, you can book Deb and Massi’s services by visiting their websites at Italy Unfiltered or Massi the Driver.

 

PIN FOR LATER

  • A chic, swanky boutique hotel, located in a renovated Middle School, @hotelgrinnell offers guests comfortable accommodations as well as great food and drink options. With a full auditorium, and a ballroom in the former gym, this hotel is perfect for anything from a weekend getaway to a major event. We had the opportunity to stay in the hotel on a hosted visit, and wrote a blog post about our stay. See the link in our bio.
  • On the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, there is a point where you round a bend and see this view, with the Atlantic Ocean on the left, and the Caribbean Sea on the right. ⁣
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Ann took this photo several years ago when we visited St. Kitts for a day while on a cruise in the Caribbean. ⁣
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We met our friend, Mikey Tross, on the island and with the help of a local driver and guide, we toured the entire island in a day. ⁣
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We climbed to the top of Brimstone Hills, saw the beaches, at at Fredo's (a local restaurant) and toured Caribelle  Batik at Romney Manor. ⁣
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St. Kitts is a beautiful island and the people there are incredibly generous. If you haven't already been there, add St. Kitts to your bucket list.
  • The Grinnell, Iowa, Chamber of Commerce offices are located in a former bank designed by famed architect, Louis Sullivan. The architect built a series of "Jewel Box" banks, called that because they resemble jewel boxes.⁣
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These buildings are intricate in detail and rich in their finishes. The next time you pass near Grinnell, it is definitely worth the stop to step into American architectural history.
  • In downtown Kearney, Nebraska, you'll find @mccuesnebraskataproom, home to all sorts of Nebraska libations. When you visit, you can choose from a large selection of beers, wines, and even liquors all made in Nebraska. It's a fun environment where regulars welcome visitors, and fun is had by all. We look forward to going back one day and know that a visit to McCue's will be a part of our visits to Kearney in the future. ⁣
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@visitnebraska @visitkearney
  • A rite of passage...⁣
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The Swinging Bridge in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, has thrilled residents and visitors alike for decades. When it was originally built in 1929, it was the only way to cross from one side of Bird Creek to the other. Today, there are other bridges, but the beloved swinging bridge still spans the creek and dares folks to cross.⁣
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Long-time residents will tell stories of rieding their bikes across it when they were kids--and it should be noted that back then it didn't have the chain link side guards.⁣
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No visit to Pawhuska is complete until you've tried The Pioneer Woman's chicken fried steak AND crossed the swinging bridge. Go ahead and try...we dare you!⁣
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@TravelOK @VisitTheOsage
  • While looking for a coffee shop in @visitkearney, we stumbled into a really cool store. @elevate.people is a locally owned business specializing in both leather goods and in helping people around the world build better lives for themselves. ⁣
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All of the leather goods for sale here are handmade by people in third world countries. Elevate, it turns out, is a non-profit that gives local artisans small, low interest loans to get started in the leather making business. When loans are repaid, the money is loaned out to another craftsperson so they can get started. Meanwhile, Elevate provides access to a market to sell the goods produced so the worker continues to be supported. They also have an online store.⁣
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We have purchased several items from Elevate, and have loved all of them.⁣
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@visitnebraska
  • After a day of tests and appointments at the Mayo Clinic, this was a perfect place to relax and unwind.⁣
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We were treated to a complimentary stay at the brand new Hilton in downtown @minnesotas_rochester. Located near the Mayo Clinic, it's an incredibly beautiful hotel with nothing but the best amenities and top-notch service. One of our favorite places in the hotel is the hot tub in the pool area. How can it not be? Look at this place. And yes, it's as relaxing as it looks, especially at sunset. ⁣
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The room in this new luxury hotel are just as nice. We enjoyed it so much that we changed our travel plans and booked a second night on our own dime. It's our new go-to hotel in Rochester, Minnesota.⁣
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@minnesotas_rochester @exploreminnesota @hiltonhotels
  • Our hosted food tour in @visitkansascityks began with a bar-b-que spread from several local restaurants. Needless to say, we had to sample a little bit of everything because it was for science. We enjoyed ribs, smoked sausage, brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey, burnt ends, rice, beans, and even warm potato casserole. ⁣
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If you love bar-b-que, head to KCK. Trust us, you'll love it. Just wear your stretchy pants.

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