Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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Best of Tuscany: Il Canto del Maggio

03.06.2015 6 Comments

Best of Tuscany: Il Canto del Maggio

03.06.2015 6 Comments

Tuscany has great food. This comes to no surprise to anyone and probably doesn’t need saying, but sometimes I am truly blown away by restaurants to the point that not only do I want to feature them here, I wish I could live there. Il Canto del Maggio is one of the places, a fabulous slow-food restaurant in a small borgo in the Valdarno area of Tuscany.

What makes this place special, like most anything in Italy, are the minds behind the concept of  simple and elegant farm-to-table eating. In this case, the owner Mauro and his daughter Simona are a culinary father and daughter dream team. This isn’t some passing fancy, but real life. Their restaurant has been feature in Conde Nast, the Michelin Guide and deserves any and every write-up they get.

best restaurant tuscany
Mauro, happy to show his garden, his home and his culinary talent

The Borgo & Apartments

We didn’t just eat here, we also stayed in one of the mini-apartments, as part of a weekend discovering just how amazing events can be planned with the organization Italian Eye.

Our accommodation at Il Canto del Maggio was nestled in this charming hamlet, simple and clean — this place has ‘Tuscan country’ written all over it. The borgo itself actually dates back to almost 1,000 years (and probably more) passing through the hands of many. The place itself is pretty strategically located in Tuscany, close to Arezzo, Siena, Florence and Cortona. Now the borgo has been restructured featuring both apartments, the restaurant and terrace, garden, pool and pretty fabulous views over the arno valley. 

il canto del maggio

our charming bedroom
our charming bedroom
a view of the borgo
a view of the borgo

When we got there, we quickly dropped our bags off and did a little walk in the borgo before dinner with Mauro. It’s the kind of place that almost looks like a really beautiful junkyard, filled with items that would sell at a high price at any market.

I loved their ‘bug’ hotel and a beautiful old-stove sitting by the restaurant’s terrace (pictured above). Flowers bloomed in every corner, cats lazily draped over old chairs and somewhere an old woman was sweeping. No pretension, just daily life.

DSCF4700 happytuscany

Mauro was more than happy to show us around his garden, or shall I say his crowning pride and glory, justifiably so since this is where the food from the restaurant hails from. Not a mildewy-coop bag of veggies in sight. While we often hear the term ‘buy local, seasonal or in Italy ‘o kilometer’ this embodies all of those things, without needing to particularly advertise it,  this is just how they live.

As Mauro joked around with his little companion in crime, a small dog named Gino, we marveled at the all of the freshness before us. I am pretty sure this was the only time in my life I have seen over 300 bulbs of garlic in one place, everything was so nicely organized and colorful. This is a man who tends to his vegetables like family members and it shows in the wonderful food that is produced here. Everything here tastes as good as it looks. I highly recommend you ask Mauro for a garden tour.

DSCF4686 DSCF4703

The Restaurant

Dinner that night was like a dream. Made more so by being in good company, we dined with our friends Alexandra and Tommy, just two engineers with their social-media obsessed partners. The menu is of course seasonal, with a noteworthy wine list in their own enoteca. We went a little overboard and ordered possibly every appetizer on the menu because this was ‘work’ right?

Two salads made in a different way, one with freshly sliced fennel and oranges (one of my favorites), plus a delightful green salad with pecorino (sheep cheese) from the area. We also got an artichoke sformatino with pistachio and the steadfast cheese place.

I always go for a cheese plate because we are in Tuscany and this one blew my mind with the pure deliciousness of the options and accompanying marmalade which are made and bottled here. Washed down with a local (from the Arezzo province) red from the enoteca which is when I made an embarrassing gaff (as you do). In the excitement of it all, I somehow managed to cleanly slice away the stem of my wine glass. To be fair, I blame food ecstasy, I am sure it exists on the internet somewhere.

canto del maggioNext came the mains. Obviously we all had a lot to eat this point but since it was shared and we were hungry. I eagerly dug into my duck egg with truffles and asparagus, while Nico, being a Frenchman, took a more delicate approach with this veal tartare. The egg was the size of my face (slight exaggeration) and was uniquely better than I could have ever imagine and managed to be another ‘foodie first’ in Tuscany for this girl. Truffles and eggs are two of nature’s best combinations.

If you wonder how the hell we found room for dessert, don’t you worry. There is always room for a sweet finale with this group of people. We finished our culinary journey with Mauro and Simona with a deconstructed cheesecake which was absolutely spot on, along with a chocolate cake that I had to steal several times from a chocolate-obsessed Nico.

best restaurant in tuscany
Popeye eats spinach for his strength, I prefer chocolate cake

We only ate there one night but we will certainly be back, I have this place bookmarked for when my family comes to visit for our wedding this November. I am hoping to make it out there for a romantic meal with Nico one of these free weekends, especially on that gorgeous terrace. I know that anyone who visits this place will be just as blown away by the food as I was, so I encourage those who want a true insight to how incredible Tuscan food can be to eat there.

To quote the great Julia Child. ‎”You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients”


 

Details & How to Get There

We were at Il Canto del Maggio as a part of a special blog tour organized by the lovely Olivia and Angela of Italian Eye, event and wedding planners extraordinaire. The fact that they chose this place for one of the dinners already says a lot about their business. All opinions of this restaurant and location are my own. 

Il Canto del Maggio, Località Penna Alta 30/D, Tuscany. + 00 39 055 9705147; www.cantodelmaggio.com. email: [email protected]  facebook.  Ask to sit in the terrace garden for a meal under the stars or the charming inside location where we dined. \

Get there: Il Canto del Maggio is about 50 kilometers away from Florence, via the A1/E35 exiting Valdarno. Details here.

Restaurant: Highly recommend making a reservation, especially in the warmer months. Meals are around 35 euros per person (a steal for this food). +39 055 9705147.

Apartments: Range around 100 euros an up with several different options which you can see here. Include a small kitchen and air-conditioning.

 

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GirlInFlorence

Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as social media manager and content editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' Moscow mule and laughs with the girls.

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6 Comments

  • Avatar
    susan 03.06.2015 at 18:05

    Can’t wait to try this adventure when we visit. Is it possible to visit by train or bus? Grazie!

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 01.10.2015 at 20:16

      Hello Susan! Unfortunately it is only reachable by car, but I suggest sending them an email to hear straight from them. They also have rooms there so you could make it an overnight trip!

  • Avatar
    Gil 04.06.2015 at 2:18

    Beautiful! As usual your post make me hungry. Loved those little Texas sized steaks!

  • Avatar
    Natalie 12.08.2015 at 0:28

    I’m really enjoying your stories about Italy and Italian food! Maybe you would like to read some of mine some time? If you’re interested then you could have a little read of my blog from my time spent in Italy: nataliemattock.wordpress.com xxxx

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    About Me

    About Me

    Hi There!

    Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who calls Florence, Italy home for the past 11 years. I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. My bylines have appeared in Lonely Planet, Luxos Magazine, and International Living. This blog is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling and living in Italy, weekend trips around Europe, and a monthly roundup of interesting events. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!

    Georgette

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