Discover more from Letters from Tuscany
A tour of our cooking studio in Tuscany
We wanted it to feel like home: cozy, welcoming, unpretentious, warm.
Ciao, I hope you are staying well and safe this November morning while this newsletter lands in your inbox. We’re prepping our studio for the first seasonal Masterclass, getting ready for three days of cooking, sharing food and stories, and making new friends.
I’ve been thinking about this letter for a while. I wanted to grant you exclusive access to where the magic happens, to our cooking studio, where we teach cooking classes, test recipes, take all our photos, and gather with friends when our beloved marble table in our home kitchen is not big enough for the small crowds we love to host.
But let’s take a step back to the beginning of this adventure.
When Tommaso moved in from Florence and we started living and working together in my apartment in the countryside, we realized that it was too small to host at the same time our family with a huge, white dog—shedding most of the time—and the cooking classes.
Where are we located?
In the countryside between Colle Val d’Elsa and Casole d’Elsa, one hour from Florence and less than half an hour from Siena. You can read more about our hometown, Colle Val d’Elsa, in these two archive posts:
We started looking around, and we decided to build a cooking studio on the premises where my great-great-grandfather Tommaso—another Tommaso in the family, the one who built our house in 1926—had the stables. Through the decades, that building had been a stable, a barn, a garage—where I used to play with plastic pots and pans—and, eventually, seven years ago, it became our cooking studio.
Tommaso and my father turned what used to be a dark garage cluttered with wardrobes, boxes, and garden tools into a light and airy studio, with high rustic beamed ceilings, two South-facing French windows, white walls, gres tiles that look like wood parquet, and an open ivory kitchen with cabinets and long shelves made with old planks. In the centre, a wooden table we found in a second-hand shop in Florence, surrounded by mismatched wooden chairs.
If our upstairs kitchen has high cabinets where I can stash—and hide—ingredients, bowls, plates, glasses, and small appliances, here in the studio I’ve always dreamed of having open shelves where I could neatly arrange jars, bottles, coffee cups and tea mugs, moka pots, and a couple of plants. I wanted everything on display, both as a source of inspiration when developing recipes and for easy access during our cooking classes.
We wanted it to feel like home: cosy, welcoming, unpretentious, warm.
Right in the middle of the kitchen, there's its beating heart, my six burners Bertazzoni range, a splash of colour that captures your attention as soon as you step into the studio. Bertazzoni trusted our project from the very first moment when the kitchen was just a sketch on paper. We are indeed proud to announce the renewal of our partnership with Bertazzoni. A couple of weeks ago they sent us an updated version of our range, vibrant red—a nod to the passion that fuels our cooking.
The Bertazzoni range has been a cornerstone of our cooking studio for seven years. It has been part of the family and a witnessed joyful moments, laughter, struggles, and gatherings with family and friends.
It has been at the centre of countless classes, the development of our latest cookbook Cucina Povera, the production of a video course during the pandemic, and the production of the cookies and cakes for our wedding and Livia’s baptism and birthdays. It has been more than an appliance: it's been a reliable participant in the creation of both food and memories.
During our cooking classes, its six burners come in handy: there’s always a pot simmering away—a tomato sauce fragrant with basil, some cannellini beans, or the slow-cooked green leaves—, a couple of pans to sautée spinach or fry breadcrumbs, a griddle to toast thick slices of sourdough bread for bruschetta… in the meantime, the large oven hosts trays of vegetables, a cake, seasonal fruit poaching in syrup or wine.
A corner of our studio is devoted to photo shooting: a small table, a marble slab, and a window on the left. A Tuscan light floods the studio, reflecting the warm tones of the nearby buildings. We love it when slightly overcast, we fight with it during the blistering summer afternoons, we diffuse it with white curtains, and we always play with it.
Attached to the studio there’s a tiny room that doubles as a pantry and prop room. That’s where we store flour, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, honey, the odd jar of jam or compote, chocolate, coffee beans, wine, and limoncello—many bottles of limoncello.
Plates, bowls, moulds, platters, glasses, more cups, trays, baskets, casserole dishes, cast iron pots, bottles and anything else you might want to cook and serve food are arranged on open shelves. I used to keep distinct my photo props and the everyday plates, but now I like to mingle them, serving food in nice artisanal platters, setting the table with second-hand bowls, and taking photos of our recipes with what is typically on our table. Spontaneity and care are the keys to a happy table.
With the arrival of the slower days, I’m so ready to spend hours cooking and baking with my new Bertazzoni, experimenting with classics and seasonal recipes for the next season of cooking classes, and for other projects gently simmering on the stove. I’m sure we can all find joy in baking a fragrant loaf of bread or a jammy crostata.
We want to hear from you as well. What would you be eager to cook or bake with such a kitchen setup? A complex dish that's been on your "to-try" list, or maybe a family recipe that demands time and many, many pots?
Your ideas are always a source of inspiration and a reminder of the diverse tastes and stories that make up our community.
Here's to the meals that have brought us together, the skills we've honed, and the new recipes that await us just around the corner.
We're excited to share the journey with you and bring new flavours to your table. Let's make the most of this season together.