If your visiting Tuscany, and find yourself in a short distance from Castellina in Chianti, I highly recommend a visit to Azienda Agricola Casamonti.
Casamonti is a farming estate in the heart of the Chianti Classico Region of Tuscany. It is owned by the most lovely couple, Anna Rita and her husband Raymond, their family has owned the farm for over 1,000 years. The property is 300+ acres, with 3,000 olive trees, fields of grapes and over 600 pigs. They produce Chianti Classico DOCG wines, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Cinta Sense DOP pork products.
The breed of pig is the Cinta Senese which has a black coat with a white sash that runs across its shoulders, sides and front legs. It is native to the region and dates back to 1337. In the 1990’s it was at the top of the endangered species, but it is now off the list. Casamonti is one of the largest and oldest breeders of this particular race of pigs, and are one of the farming estates involved in saving the species. It’s meat was award the DOP classification from the Common Market. The Cinte Sense are bred free range n the woodlands and at 2 years of age are taken to the butcher. The fresh meats are made into products typical of Tuscany. They are cured in special rooms according to the length of time it takes them to be ready for consumption.
We toured the facility where the meats are cured, from the outside it looks like a traditional “old” Tuscan building, but inside it is a completely modern facility. We saw three rooms full of meats curing, they were beautiful and smelled amazing.
From there we went on to see where they store, bottle and label their Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is pressed off site. Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil is frutty, bitter , pungent with a peppery sensation. It is important to consume it within its 2 year shelf life, as it doesn’t last long even in perfect conditions. It should always be stored in glass (not clear) in a cool dark place, not next to your stove or by a window. The smell of the huge vat of fresh olive oil was heavenly.
After learning about the Olive Oil, we were sat down under the arches of the main stone farmhouse which dates back to year 1000, when it was a retreat belonging to the monks of Monte Oliveto Maggiore! Anna Rita prepared the most delicious lunch and a wine pairing. As wines were served, Anna Rita explained each that accompanied the food.
- Fresh bread with Olive Oil
- Pasta with fresh pork sausage, peas and parmigiana reggiano cream sauce
- Lettuce & tomato with olive oil
- Prosciutto & 2 other cured meats
- Bread with white truffle oil
- Crostini with 4 different spreads
- Parmigiano Reggiano with aged balsamic 25 year!
- Berry Pie with Vanilla Gelato
- DOCG Chianti Classico
- DOCG Chianti Classico Riserva
- L’elogio di Casamonti (Super Tuscan) – red blend
- IGT Citrullo White-organic
- IGT Ficoso Rose – organic
- Nocino Liqueur (green walnut liqueur)
After lunch we shopped their little shop, they sold all of their wines, olive oil and a selection of other products, I grabbed the cutest little T-Shirt for my daughter. You can take your purchases with you or they can ship them for you, we had them ship a box of wine back to America for us. Anna Rita gave us a tour of her kitchen, which was state of the art, a true commercial kitchen, I was so impressed! Then we enjoyed some Limoncello before heading out.
Prices are 40 Euros per person for the lunches.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to fix your own personal adventure in Chianti. You may also phone Ray directly at +39 348 3545201. A link to what the Cinta Senese is all about is on our BlogSpot at: http://cintasenese.blogspot.it/
This is a must do experience, in the rolling hills of Tuscany set away from the busy life of the cities. The roads through Tuscany are wild, so hilly with sharp turns and narrow lanes.
We drove from Casamonti to the nearby Village of Radda in Chianti. It was tiny with stunning views and small streets to explore. The directions from Casamonti to Radda in Chianti were awful, we ended up following google maps and it led it down a dirt road, through the woods, and into the middle of a winery. It was one of the best wrong turns we could have ever taken.