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Christmas cake: the biscuits called cavallucci of Siena

These are Christmas cakes with an aniseed aroma and when they are just made they are deliciously soft and when they get hard loved by grandmas and hated by kids

Cavallucci_Christmas cake of Siena

Cavallucci_Christmas cake of Siena

All Sienese remember the cavallucci cakes being kept for months in glass jars until they became hard as rocks and where usually offered by grandmas for the afternoon snack. A nightmare which in the end kept this delicious cake from Christmas tables. The secret was to make few of them and eat them straight away. They are extraordinarily delicious, especially if matched with ricotta or whipped cream but please don’t keep them for months in glass jars!
Here below you find the recipe belonging to Patrizia Cenni patisseur at Fattoria del Colle, who every morning serves guests wonderful home baked cakes according to local tradition.

Read the recipe below!

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Italian recipe: gnocchi di semolino with white truffle

The chef at Fattoria del Colle, Antonio Corsano, prepares for us some “Gnocchi di semolino with white truffle of Crete Senesi” ideal for winter days

Gnocchi di semolino_restaurant_Fattoria del Colle

Gnocchi di semolino_restaurant_Fattoria del Colle

We suggest a recipe which is simple and quick: gnocchi di semolino. These are disks of Durum wheat or, depending on the occasion they can be shaped differently. They can also be called “gnocchi alla romana“, and in fact it is not a typically Tuscan dish but where we are, in southern Tuscany, it has now become a traditional dish coke during cold winter evenings.

Already in the late 19th century this recipe had been inserted in the famous manual Pellegrino ArtusiLa Scienza in cucina e l’Arte di mangiar bene” in the section called “trasmessi” or rather those dishes that were to be served between one course and another. But, quite on the contrary it is a rich and delicious dish…you try it and tell us what you think!

Ingredients for 4 people

1/2 lt of milk
100 gr of durum wheat flour
Salt and pepper
150 gr of grated Parmigiano
White truffle flakes
Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Boil the milk and add the flour, slowly while continuously stirring. Add salt, pepper and Parmigiano. Continue stirring until you get

chef Antonio Corsano_Gnocchi di semolino_Fattoria del Colle

chef Antonio Corsano_Gnocchi di semolino_Fattoria del Colle

smooth texture. Lay the mixture on a tray and smooth it out with a spatula. Leave it to cool. Cut with a cutter into round shapes and put the disks into a greased Pyrex dish. Put in the oven and cook until they get a golden colouring. As soon as they are out of the oven cover with the truffle flakes and add a little extra virgin olive oil. Serve while still hot.

Advise for gluttons by Donatella Cinelli Colombini


Christmas cake: recipe for panforte Margherita of Siena

The Sienese traditional Christmas cake is panforte in the sexy version called “panpepato” and in the version created for the Queen Margherita and I’ll give you the recipe

 panforte Margherita_Fattoria del Colle

panforte Margherita_Fattoria del Colle

Many many years ago in Siena they used to say that the panforte “panpepato” << united families >> because of its aphrodisiacal virtues that made the critical moments in marriages something of the past. True or untrue this characteristic of the panforte also caused some high level problems. It seems in fact that when Queen Margherita di Savoia came to visit the Palio city, her visit was anticipated by an inspection by her chamberlain who also had the job of choosing the dishes for the “royal palate”. When he came to learn about the aphrodisiac virtues of the panpepato he immediately excluded it from the menu and the Sienese population, most contrite when they heard that their most famous and delicious cake was being disdained, decided to make a version more “chaste” version” that was christened panforte Margherita in honour of the queen.

At Fattoria del Colle the panforte is prepared by the pateisseur and served straight away during the Christmas holidays and most of all during the New Years Eve dinner.

Read the recipe below!

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Ricciarelli: the recipe for the typical Christmas cakes of Siena

The home made freshly baked ricciarello is the nicest cake in the world. It has a taste of Tuscany, of Christmas, of local traditions and affection

Nothing at all to do with the commercial ones!

 Ricciarelli and Vin Santo_Fattoria del Colle

Ricciarelli and Vin Santo_Fattoria del Colle

Traditional, easy and fragrant, it helps you rediscover the pleasure of almond paste. The ricciarello is the Sienese Christmas cake and since 2010 it is a product protected with the IGP certification. A traditional delicacy from as far back as man can remember. It seems that the oldest recipe is a document in a convent in Buonconvento  20 km from Fattoria del Colle. Its name has a legendary source and come s from the Crociato Ricciardetto della Gherardesca who it seems brought the recipe from theMiddle East. However the word ricciarello appears only in the 19th century so centuries and centuries after the crusades. Most surely the use of almond paste came about in the houses of the rich Sienese bankers from the southern part of theMediterranean, prior to the 15th century, because from that era one was served  “marzapani alla costuma senese” or “morzelletti” probably prepared in convents.

The most appropriate wine for this very Sienese delicacy is the Vin Santo, the most traditional dessert wine in Tuscany. Want some proof? Come to Fattoria del Colle and you will find both!

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The restaurant Osteria di Donatella at Fattoria del Colle

From the Trequanda housewives recipes to the “Pinci” lessons a brief history of Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s restaurant at Fattoria del Colle

Osteria di Donatella's restaurant_fireplace

Osteria di Donatella's restaurant_fireplace

When Donatella’s father, Fausto Cinelli, gave her Fattoria del Colle, where today one finds the dining room adorned with floral decor inspired by the fin-de-siècle period long ago was a dark area, used for playing table tennis, the kitchen was empty and where the veranda is today was a grassy area which reached as far as the old vineyards. Creating the Osteria was for Donatella one of the first steps to transform the Fattoria del Colle into a refined place, which would be able to speak of an area in an unforgettable way. The brick archways were once again opened up in the hall and the walls were decorated with art nouveau designs copied form a villa in the Chianti Classico area that once belonged to Donatella’s grandparents.

The restaurant was equipped with a kitchen and most of all Donatella took note of the local recipes interviewing the housewives. In the summer evenings, in the villages nearby – Trequanda, Petroio, Castelmuzio, Chiusure – the villagers sit out of doors to chat with their neighbours. That was the time chosen by Donatella present herself with her laptop and asked for recipes. In the end she noted about 40 that were then published in a booklet called Ricettario di Monte Oliveto e Trequanda nelle Crete Senesi.

These recipes formed the first menu of the Osteria at Fattoria del Colle. Through the years other recipes arrived from Sinalunga and from the local hunters…. With some additions from the chef Antonio Corsano and the patisseur Patrizia Cenni so as to create a very typical selection of dishes from the area: zuppa di Trequanda, pappa col pomodoro, ciancifricola, acqua cotta dei logaioli, Pinci al sugo di nana, pappardelle con zafferano e pancetta di cinta senese ……. Many old recipes which are very suggestive.

Fattoria-del-Colle-restaurant veranda

Fattoria-del-Colle-restaurant veranda

A few years after the launching of the restaurant the veranda was built, here it is possible to eat while being immersed in the green, with the panorama of Trequanda in front of you. The lawn in front has been transformed into a terrace and in the summer it is possible to eat out of doors jus as if it were the courtyard where the farmers ate long ago!

The cookery school, born within the restaurant directed by Helle Poulsen Italo-Danish gastronomist – who has written with her husband Alfredo Tesio14 books regarding tourism and food in Italy, now has a base in one of the farmhouses at Fattoria del Colle. In the meantime the parks have increased in number: the “ boschetto dei Giochi antichi” where often the Osteria puts up buffets , then the “ parco del vecchio frantoio” where upon request, one can organize true folk

Fattoria-del-Colle-Osteria signboard

Fattoria-del-Colle-Osteria signboard

parties…..there are many other things to tell you about, but it is only fair for everybody to come here and discover for themselves the beauty of our tradition.

We are waiting for you!

Advise for gluttons by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

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