Chris Marchino, Spiaggia Executive Sous Chef
We kicked off the day by making fresh cantuccio (a local variety of biscuits) at Montalcino's oldest and most prized bakery, Paticceria Mariuccia. Nobody can argue with cantuccio and Vin Santo before noon as a great way to start another day full of Tuscan explorations. After a beautiful lunch of crispy zucchini, ricotta filled squash blossoms and mozzarella di bufala with fresh tomatoes that made me long for August in Chicago, we headed to a local artisan honey producer. At Apicoltura Ciacci Hubert, a very knowledgeable staff supplied a honey tasting of single flower honey from some fifteen different blossoms. Rosemary blossom and heather flower honey were among the favorites. In addition, as if Tuscany is not romantic enough, we learned all about the life of lust and courtship that the queen bee lives in the hive full of workers. Our last stop of the day was a visit to Paradisio di Frassino. Here we met Giancarlo Cignozzi, who’s philosophy on wine production is, well, different to say the least. Aside from years of experience growing brunello grapes, Giancarlo employs a unique method that keeps his vines happy and fruitful; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You can hear Mozart playing in every corner of the winery. Giancarlo firmly believes that the melodic vibrations of Mozart resonates with the grape vines on a biological level, which results in healthier vines and more delicious wines. After tasting his 2009 Brunello di Montalcino, I decided to iTune download some Mozart. If it works for grapes, why wouldn't it work for humans? Giancarlo agrees.