Snuggled in postcard-perfect Tuscan hills, you can find a castle fit for a fairy-tale: Castello del Trebbio.
Built in 1184, powerful Florentine Renaissance families once fought over this paradise. But today peace rules under Anna Baj Macario, who inherited it from her family the late 1980s. Today it functions as an agriturismo’ (working farm that welcomes guests for meals and overnight stays) and is one of the only castles lived in year-round.
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Meet the Castle’s ‘custodian’ – Anna Baj Macario
‘I feel like the custodian of the history of this place and there is no better thing than to share this history with anyone who is intrigued by it, so that it can be passed on’Anna Baj Macario
Dotted 14km east of Florence (in Pontassieve), Anna, her husband Stefano Casadei and their children welcome guests from all corners of their world into their home. Where the crisp air is equally as refreshing as the world-class Chianti Rufina DOCG they produce (the highest expression of the territory).
But this is more than just a wine cellar in a medieval castle. Gorgeous green gardens run away into the surrounding Tuscan landscape. A medieval-style castle banquet hall invites you to take a seat. You feel your jaw hit the floor, and that’s even before you’re presented with an array of delicious, mouth-watering family recipes (all made from produce from the surrounding land).
One you must try is their pappa al pomodoro.
All about pappa al pomodoro: Tuscan tomato soup
‘Our Familia Casadei became the guardians of the history in all its aspects from the Middle Ages when the Castello del Trebbio was built by the Pazzi Family… and of all those recipes that have been handed down to us through word of mouth from mothers… such as Pappa al Pomodoro’Anna Baj Macario
The smell pappa al pomodoro will kiss your nostrils within seconds and fling you over for a taste. Put simply: this Tuscan tomato soup takes ‘delicious’ to a whole new level. It’s made from simple, fresh ingredients: homegrown tomato, stale Tuscan white bread, basil, garlic, leek, chili and a drizzle over Anna’s exquisite Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Just one spoonful of this heart-warming delight sparks your addiction. And its flavours are enhanced even further by the Chianti wine you taste with isnight from a local wine sommelier.
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Since we know you’re licking your lips: Why not try the recipe at home?
Castle Del Trebbio’s Tuscan tomato soup recipe
- 250 gr/ 9oz stale white Tuscan bread
- 1litre/ 1 ¾ pts good stock
- 500 grammes/ 1lb of ripe tomatoes or very good tinned tomatoes
- One leek
- ‘Pepperoncino’ (small chili peppers)
- Fresh Basil
- Extra Virgin olive oil
- In a large saucepan: sauté the chopped leek with the pepperoncino in 6 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- As soon as the leek looks cooked, toss in the peeled tomatoes and nice bunch of the fresh basil, all roughly chopped.
- Bring it to the boil at a medium heat and after 5 minutes add the stock.
- Season with salt and when the ingredients start to bubble again, add the thinly sliced, (slightly stale) white Tuscan bread.
- Cook for a further 5 – 10 minutes.
- When the bread has soaked well, turn off the heat and wait for the bread to soften. Then, with the help of a spoon, divide the bread into small pieces, reducing it to gruel.
- Let the ‘pappa’ rest for about 1 hour.
- Serve the dish hot or cold and add a few drops of extra virgin olive oil on top.
Buon appetito! Dinner is served.
Inspired to step foot in Castel Del Trebbio and try this delicious Italian tomato soup? Let us know in the comments below.