One of my favorite parts of my trip to Italy was the bike ride through Chianti, which I took with Tuscany Bike Tours. I met up with Andy and Keith in Florence, where the rest of the group had already started to assemble. Once everyone had arrived, we hopped in a van to our destination, Castello di Poppiano.
We got a tour of the castle and were able to taste some of the wine and olive oil produced by the estate. Then we were off! (After getting bikes, helmets, watter bottels and a quick safety lesson, of course ;)) The views were incredible, I kept slowing down to stare off into the country side!
The ride started off with alot of downhill before it settled into some flat/gently rolling roads. We stopped for lunch to fill up with some pasta, and then it was off towards the big climb. I didn't think to take a picture at the bottom, but imagine a road winding up the side of a pretty big hill with a 17% grade at the top. Don't worry, there was van support for those who needed some support. But you better believe I wasn't getting in that van ;)
Before I knew it, the ride was over and we were back in Florence. If you're ever in Florence, I would totally recommend these guys!! They've got a great sense of humor and make for a fun ride through some absolutely amazing countryside :)
Another Florence tip: Mercato Centrale! I was so overwhelmed I didn't even take any pictures. It reminded me of Reading Terminal in Philly, and I was in heaven. Unfortunately I didn't have too much time there due to the rest of the days' adventures, but I did manage to score some goodies to bring home. One of those was some Crema di Balsamico, or balsamic cream, which is (I think) simply reduced balsamic vinegar. When I picked up some native strawberries at Marshall's Fenway Farmstand I knew exactly what I was going to do... strawberry frozen yogurt topped with crema di balsamico! I was too impatient to get a good picture, so I apologize. Take that as a good thing, though, I couldn't get enough of the balsamic-strawberry combination!! I'll just make it again so I can replace the picture ;)
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt with Balsamic Cream
adapted from Baking Bites
1lb fresh strawberries
2/3c evaporated cane juice
2oz vodka (optional, but you won't taste it at all)
500g tub of 2% greek yogurt
2 lg egg whites, RT
1/2t cream of tarter
balsamic cream, or reduced balsamic vinegar
Wash and stem berries, then roughly chop or slice them. Add sugar and vodka, mash, and let mixture sit for 10min or so (longer won't hurt them).
Whisk yogurt into strawberry mixture. In a stand mixer (or medium bowl with a hand mixer), beat egg whites and cream of tarter until they form soft peaks. Fold into strawberry-yogurt mix. Freeze mixture according to your ice cream makers' directions.
After churning, you can either dig in right away or let it harden up a bit more in the freezer. Serve topped with a generous drizzle of balsamic cream and enjoy!