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Today at La Vialla’s olive mill, extra virgin olive oil with rosemary
Today in the winery, pressing the dried grapes for Vin Santo
Today, lasagne with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes
Today for lunch at La Vialla pork in apple sauce with raisins
Choosing the red grapes for the Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice
Photos of the Grape Festival 2021
The 2021 Grape Festival
We start working on the land to be sown
Today we’re working with the CREA research institute, to reduce copper in the vineyards
On the table today, Bell Pepper Timballo filled with Penne with Peperotta
Harvesting in La Vialla’s biodynamic vegetable patch
Today we are with Carlo for a mid-August check on La Vialla’s olive groves and vineyards
Today at La Vialla, Ricciole with Parmigianina
We visit the flock of sheep in the pastures at Casa Conforto
The wheat threshing festival through the eyes of photographer Roman Raacke
The wheat threshing festival
Today for lunch at La Vialla, bread gnocchi with anchovies and cherry tomatoes
In La Casotta vineyard with new environmentally friendly equipment
In the vegetable patch at La Vialla today we transplant parsley
In La Vialla di Sotto olive grove for the pre-flowering inspection
Today we visit La Casotta vineyard for the green pruning
Today at La Vialla Stefania prepares a savoury tart with pesto and ricotta
Today we visit La Vialla’s young Valdarno breed chickens
Mundus Vini Biofach 2021: Video of the award ceremony
Red carpet at the Fattoria - Mundus Vini Biofach 2021 award ceremony
Graham Candy's La Vialla Music Writing Camp 2019 by Crazy Planet Records
Today at La Vialla, Carciofina croquettes for lunch
At Ca’ dell’Oro farmstead, renovating ancient terracing
The Chianti vineyard at Casa Conforto.
Today at La Vialla we make ricotta “gnudi” dressed with sage butter.
Today we’re making La Vialla’s typical pizza with pecorino
"La Vialla's Easter eggs"
Today at La Vialla’s Museum, some old farming tales from Giancarlo
“La Grillaia”, a new olive grove at La Vialla 3 years after planting
Today in La Vialla’s highest vineyard at Spedale farmstead
Today at La Vialla, Valentina’s seasonal oven baked rigatoni
Winter pruning in La Vialla’s strawberry patch
Today we’re in the olive grove at La Vialla to break up the ground
Today winter pruning in La Casotta vineyard at La Vialla
Today Erika prepares a savoury flan with Tuscan kale and new olive oil
"2020 a La Vialla"
Today at La Vialla Stefania prepares Giuliana’s sweet almond focaccia
In the olive mill at La Vialla with Andrea for a quality check
In the barn at La Vialla, the first newborn of the season
At La Vialla’s olive mill, making oil with basil
In the kitchen at La Vialla, wild boar stew with Sugo Finto
Today at La Vialla, picking olives at La Scampata farmstead
Concours Mondial de Bruxelles: October 1st 2020, the Viallini at the award ceremony in Rome
Today we pick Sangiovese grapes
Today at La Vialla Stefania prepares a savoury tart with peppers
Harvesting the Vernaccia di San Gimignano grapes at Castelvecchio
Today in Il Ronco vineyard we pick white Chardonnay grapes
"Summer 2020 at La Vialla"
Today on La Vialla’s table, Ricciole with grapes
Today in the workshop at La Vialla, “Piccantissima” sauce
In the vegetable garden at La Vialla, today we’re picking the aubergines
Today with Andrea in the olive grove at La Vialla, monitoring the trees’ health
Today at La Vialla Carmela prepares a recipe with Piccantissima sauce
Reducing copper in La Vialla’s biodynamic vineyards
Today at La Vialla we spray the “Horn Silica” biodynamic preparation
Lasagna with Basil Pesto and Pomarola
Today various tasks in La Vialla’s biodynamic vegetable patch
Reducing copper in La Vialla’s biodynamic vineyards – today with CREA
Today we use innovative equipment in La Vialla’s vineyard
Today at La Vialla, aubergine “accordions”
Today we make the horn silica biodynamic preparation or 501
Today for lunch for the Viallini, homemade gnocchi
Green pruning of the new shoots
Today we check the biodynamic compost heaps
Today at La Lignana we prepare stewed lamb in red wine
Today we build shelters to create shade
Today we are at Cortona in La Vialla’s Syrah vineyard
Savoury Tart with Ribollita and Tuscan Kale Crisps
Mundus Vini Biofach 2020: Video of the award ceremony
Mundus Vini Biofach 2020: February 13th 2020, the Viallini at the award ceremony in Nuremberg
Today we plant “aglione” in La Vialla’s vegetable patch
Today in La Vialla di Sopra olive grove doing winter tasks
Today, winter pruning on the terracing at Casa Rossa
Pasta Bake with Salsa Etrusca
Today at La Vialla, preparing and spraying biodynamic preparation '500'
Today at La Vialla, maintenance of the vineyard trellising
Vertical wine tasting of Casal Duro with expert Götz Drewitz
Today La Vialla’s Carabaccia with Vino Novo
At La Vialla’s barn and dairy during the holiday season
Zuccotto with Luigina
On the farm, Fattoria... La Vialla E-I-E-I-O
Alceo evaluates the ripeness of the olives for extra virgin olive oil
In the olive mill, calibrating the temperature while making oil
Photos of the Grape Festival
The new families of Valdarnese chickens born during the summer
Today we make cannelloni with Tuscan ragu and hazelnuts
Today we choose Sangiovese for Vin Santo “Occhio di Pernice”
Today at La Vialla, peppers filled with pasta
A 'filmino' (= little film) of the wonderful afternoon and evening in the vineyard
Photos of the Grape Festival
Today at the museum, grape roll for dessert
Last harvest in the vegetable patch for bombolino sauce without skins
Today, August 29th, we harvest grapes
Checking the olive groves
In the vegetable patch, harvesting basil for the pesto
Today Aubergine Parmigiana reinterpreted by Luigina
Celebrating the Haystack
La Vialla Song & Music Writing Camp by Crazy Planet Records
10 Musicians at the Fattoria: Concert and Writing Camp October 2018
An anthem for La Vialla
Today Panzanella, a traditional all-in-one meal with what’s in the vegetable patch
Today in the vegetable patch we plant the last crop, the hot chilli peppers
Today we evaluate the young fruit in the vineyard and olive grove
Today we make timbale with zucchini and Rosalina
The vineyard at La Casotta, experimenting half the amount of copper
Today we plant vegetables in the field behind Casa Conforto
Green pruning at La Casotta farmstead
After six months the biodynamic preparation is dug up
Strawberry Mousse Cake
Award ceremony at the Grand International Wine Award @ProWein, Dusseldorf (Germany), March 17th 2019
At the Museum in the Landowner’s Room
In the dairy, from curds to drying-out
Today in the vineyard at Spedale using an innovative tying method
Today spring roulades with asparagus
Today in the olive grove two types of pruning for olive trees
In the barrique cellar the barrels are filled with 2018’s wines
Maintenance at Casale Farmstead
Nothing is thrown away from the kitchen - La Ribollita
At the Museum, in the grandparents bedroom
Mundus Vini Biofach 2019: Video of the award ceremony
The Viallini at the Mundus Vini Biofach 2019 Producer of the Year International and Best Sweet Wine
Soil assessment with the Spade test
Two kinds of pruning at Casa Conforto
Today Strozzapreti with Tuscan Kale Pesto
What’s on the menu today at La Lignana?
Hamburg Aimate Week 2018-Speech by Gianni and Antonio Lo Franco
Summer 2018 at the Fattoria
A surpride for Marco, the aenologist: the 100/100 score awarded by the panel chair judge at the IWSC 2018
The grand table celebrating 40 years of La Vialla, 1978-2018
Spring greetings from the farm
Award ceremony for "Producer of the Year 2018" at the Mundus Vini Biofach, Nuremberg
The Vino Nuovo and Olio Novo have arrived!
La Vialla's Christmas Menu
Video: In the bajery, Francesco prepares the Viallina Biscuit House
IWSC London 2017: Video of the award ceremony
Recipe: La Vialla made of Cantucci bricks and Stracci tiles
Autumn has arrived at the Fattoria
IWSC London 2017: Video of the award ceremony
Video of the ceremony and laudation
B.A.U.M. Environmental Award 2017, Frankfurt am Main
Francesco prepares the Easter dive-shaped cake
Video of the ceremony and laudation
Small photo album 2016: Moments from a year at the Fattoria
Mundus Vini Biofach 2017: The Viallini at the Award Ceremony
"Slightly" out tune but from the heart ...Merry Christmas from the whole "Banda" of La Vialla
The Panettone à la Francesco
Fattoria La Vialla is "Italian Wine Producer of the Year 2016" at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, London
Official viceo of the IWSC awarda banquet, November 16th, 2016, London
End of October: harvest and lunch with friends in the Ca' dell'Oro alive grove!
A great celebration in the vineyard at casotta farmstead
September 28th 2016: La Vialla in the Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg
"May in the strawberry patch: harvest and happy hour with the guests"
A "Little Big" keepsake of the concert held on july 8th 2015
"Mundus Vini Biofach 2016: The Viallini at the Award Ceremony" (video by Felicitas Umlauf)
"Vin Santo: from grapes to Grand Gold at the Mundus Vini Biofach 2016"
Francesco's chocolate salami
A star in the sky at La Vialla Grape Festival 2015 (Video by Felicitas Umlauf)
Celebrations for "40 years of La Vialla" at the Fattoria
News from the Fattoria
Webcam
Awards
Holidays at La Vialla
La Vialla and nature
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Recipe archive



Sweet Specialities

A brief introduction about bees and honey

In the countryside in days gone by, every house, every small holding and every farmstead had a varying number of grazing livestock and farmyard animals. A cow, two horses (or mules), a few pigs, a dozen or so sheep, geese, chickens, rabbits, and several hundred thousand bees. It was a question of survival: the farmstead got by with whatever it grew and set aside, with people’s experience and the help of the animals. They prepared, cooked and preserved; always finding a way to not throw anything away. Nothing at all! All the most famous (and delicious!) traditional recipes originate from the farming world of bygone days. A world that is nowadays re-evaluated and imitated, both at home and by science, because it’s an example of sustainability that is ecological, social and economical. An environmentally friendly model for the future. Bees and honey are one of the focal points of this circular ecosystem. These untiring insects perform an invaluable task, that of pollinating the flowers and thus making all the plants fertile and fruit-bearing.

The bee “population”, with its disciplined organisation, flower-based diet, relationship with light and valuable “production”, always evokes the admiration and respect of man. Bees produce something that is prodigious, good to eat, pleasing to the eye and healthy: honey! Without bees the vegetation would be drastically reduced, to the point of actually endangering life on earth (this was already believed in ancient times and even Einstein asserted it repeatedly, today everyone agrees but... there a huge gap between what’s said and what’s done).

Umberto looks after La Vialla’s bees
Umberto looks after La Vialla’s bees

Producing organic honey means avoiding pesticides, sustaining biodiversity by offering these insects uncontaminated “pastures”, which are fundamental for their survival – which means obtaining healthy honey. Organic agriculture, or even better biodynamic agriculture, is the solution. At Fattoria La Vialla we have learnt from our parents and grandparents, from the farming methods of days gone by, firmly believing in their relevance today. And the results? We have several million bees here; they are the hard-working inhabitants of about a hundred little “houses” (hives), divided into groups located at a sufficient distance from each other.

A luxuriant pasture for the bees
A luxuriant pasture for the bees

How the honey is produced at La Vialla

At the Fattoria, as the seasons go by, the bees have numerous “grazing” possibilities, offered by a natural environment rich in fields, woods, flowers and aromas. Every day they travel for kilometres, far and wide, in search of pollen. The hives are arranged (according to blooming) in sheltered spots, in the highest areas. Twice a year – in spring and autumn – the “Viallino” beekeeper, Umberto Paperini, visits the beehives to collect the wooden frames that house the wax cells, which, in turn, contain the honey. These are taken to the Fattoria’s “mielificio” or honey workshop, where they are centrifuged in an extractor, keeping the temperature below the limit of 35 °C set for so-called “raw” honey.

Beehives in La Vialla’s woodlands
Beehives in La Vialla’s woodlands

The honey is collected at environment temperature and put directly into jars, without filtering, undergoing any other processes or having anything added. (Naturally, plenty of honey is left in the hives for the bees to get by on for the rest of the year; occasionally, in years in which flowers were scarce, we have had to return a small amount of the precious liquid nectar to the hives.) La Vialla’s honey, besides being certified organic and – in part – biodynamic (Demeter), is neither filtered nor pasteurised, so it is a completely natural product. At the Fattoria we produce Miele Millefiori (Wildflower Honey) and Miele di Castagno (Chestnut Honey). Each one reflects the aromas and characteristics of the environment in which the bees fly. Every year they are slightly different, due to the varying weather conditions and blossoms.

Collecting the honey
Collecting the honey

Many varieties go to make up the Wildflower Honey: acacia, French honeysuckle, graminaceous plants, legumes, olive trees, grapevines, cereals, numerous wild flowers that grow in the fields and woods; the delicate, floral aromas vary from one season to the next; its bright, clear amber colour seems to glow. A part of our woods – approximately 30 hectares – is made up of ancient chestnut trees, which give the honey of the same name its characteristic intense flavour and darker amber colour with brown highlights.

runny honey
vineyard
tulips
cypresses and tulips

What organic and biodynamic honey means

Using organic or biodynamic honey means choosing a product that is natural, nutritious and, at the same time, it means respect for the bees and their floral world. Here is some information for you about various different beekeeping methods. Certified organic agriculture imposes a series of rules for beekeeping, according to which pesticides are prohibited, boundaries and methods used by neighbouring farmers are verified, chemical fertiliser for crops is forbidden, the area in which the bees “graze” is defined, and the use of antibiotics, hormones and chemical remedies for the bees is not permitted. Biodynamic beekeeping goes beyond these (already excellent) rules.
Biodynamics is based on the principle of strengthening the vitality of the bees and the whole swarm. Environmental protection and taking care of biodiversity are the only two ways of intervening. From this it’s possible to see that, in today’s world, not everywhere is suitable for organic or – even less so – biodynamic beekeeping (close to cities, areas exposed to overuse of pesticides, to conventional/chemical agriculture and to industrial pollution).

A bunch of grapes and bees
A bunch of grapes and bees

How the bees live at Fattoria La Vialla

At La Vialla the bees have at their disposal an “oasis” of over 1,500 hectares, harmoniously divided between woods, pastures, vineyards, olive groves and arable land (naturally all cared for with organic and biodynamic methods!). This area is surrounded on 3 sides – north, east and west – by woodland and rural farmhouses. To the south, apart from the small towns of Meliciano and Castiglion Fibocchi, there are no industrial facilities, just a few neighbouring farmers (who have converted to organic methods following the “Viallino” example).
In addition to the organic methods, biodynamics imposes adequate “grazing” areas for each beehive. It requires the use of natural materials for the construction and cleaning of beehives, and natural Demeter certified wax. Biodynamics also encourages unrestricted bee reproduction and natural swarming, however it allows the original swarm – with its queen – to be collected and relocated in a hive. This method, thanks to which the new queen bees develop through natural selection, tends, over time, to strengthen the entire colony. Artificial breeding of queen bees is prohibited, as is artificial insemination and the use of genetically modified bees. During winter, the bees must feed on their own honey; the only supplements allowed are camomile tea and salt. Stimulative feeding is forbidden, as are the conventional techniques used to artificially increase productivity. There is a list of natural substances and treatments that can be used for the bees. The occasional loss of bees, or entire weaker colonies, should be accepted as part of the evolution of the species, in that particular environment.

bee houses

Honey – properties and benefits for man

Honey is food for the bees, it is life! For man, it’s primarily a natural sweetener, particularly recommended in children’s diets. Using it to replace sugar or artificial sweeteners (that are worse still) is just a question of habit, which is even better if acquired from a young age. Although its sweetening capacity is similar to that of normal sugar, the calories contained in honey are considerably lower: honey 304 calories (per 100 g), sucrose 387, and fructose 368.
In winter, when flowers are scarce, honey is the only nourishment available to bees. This is why Mother Nature has provided it with amazing qualities, almost as if it were a remedy: vitamins, mineral salts, antioxidants give it antibacterial properties and make it a natural antibiotic, an ally for the immune system (of both bees and humans). It helps fix mineral salts in the human body, as well as having a strong anti-inflammatory action, which can help resolve problems with the throat, digestion and blood circulation. Honey is also good for external use, as a pain reliever.

Pecorino and honey – a perfect combination
Pecorino and honey – a perfect combination

There are countless culinary uses for honey, from aperitifs to desserts. In Tuscany, one of the tastiest combinations is serving it with cheese – delicate types of honey with fresh cheeses; honey that’s more aromatic with aged cheeses. Over the years, mothers, grandmothers and housekeepers working at La Vialla have accumulated countless traditional recipes with honey. From time to time we publish them and they can all be found on the website.

Wildflower Honey
Wildflower Honey

Fattoria La Vialla’s typical Tuscan sweets

Water, eggs, olive oil, flour and... fresh or dried fruit from the Fattoria’s fields. Simple recipes with a flavour that’s hard to come by elsewhere, thanks to the well-cultivated ingredients. They are tied to home, to our loved ones and above all, as always, to the land of La Vialla. Once upon a time, here in the Tuscan countryside, they didn’t eat dessert as we think of it today. Instead they had “a sweet”. Appetite, lack of ingredients and (lots of) imagination, broadened the meaning of the word sweet. Our grandparents’ “sweets” were bread with grapes, peaches in white wine, cooked grape must. For the children, sweet (and it wasn’t less so!) was simply the fruit picked from a tree. But if there was some sugar in the house – it was usually traded at the market and therefore not lacking – grandmothers, mothers and aunts would compete to see who made the best dough, mixed the softest batter or baked the crispiest tart; offering their loved ones delights made with the handed down (or new) recipes for what are today the most traditional Italian desserts and biscuits.
The simple recipe for these biscuits contains no animal fats (or low-quality vegetable fat) something that is very rare in sweet products, unless they’re made “at home” or by a, trustworthy, artisan baker. In the jams, instead of sugar, we use a typical (and healthier) ingredient: grape must.

The bakery at La Vialla
The bakery at La Vialla

Viallini biscuits – the original recipe

The “Viallini” biscuits used to be baked by Piera, over 40 years ago, in the same wood-burning oven that can be seen at La Vialla today. She used to add whatever she had available to her bread dough – a little sugar, a pinch of “uva passa” (= raisins), pine nuts, walnuts, sometimes even some spices – pinching it with 3 fingers to give the biscuits their unusual but attractive shape. She baked them in the oven, sprinkled them with some icing sugar and... voilà!

“Viallini“ biscuits
“Viallini“ biscuits

Cantucci – the original recipe

Cantuccini or Cantucci, the famous typical Tuscan almond biscuits (sometimes also known simply as “Biscotti”), can be found just about everywhere. La Vialla’s are exceptional, not just because they faithfully respect the original rustic recipe, but also thanks to their ingredients from organic and biodynamic agriculture, and because they’re baked in the Fattoria’s wood-burning ovens. The recipe for Cantucci is simple – made exclusively with flour, almonds, sugar and organic eggs, these biscuits contain no artificial ingredients or flavouring extracts which prejudice genuineness and nutritional quality. In our part of the world Cantucci are served with a glass of Vin Santo, and the typical Tuscan way of eating them is to “dunk” them in this amazing sweet wine (scandalizing any sommelier). But they are also delicious on their own, actually the special, “home baked” fragrance of these rustic biscuits can be appreciated even better.

preparation of cantucci
cooking cantucci
cantucci

Tuscan Stracci – the original recipe

Stracci (= rags) is the Tuscan-style name given to the most recent biscuits created in the Fattoria’s “sweet” workshop and wood-fired ovens. Thin, unevenly shaped, with a humble name and ingredients (just olive oil, red wine, flour and sugar: no butter, no yeast) with their genuine flavour and irresistible, crunchy consistency they have, however…. one defect: they are so moreish it’s impossible to stop eating them!

A “Stracci” (= rags) biscuit
A “Stracci” (= rags) biscuit

La Vialla’s Chocolate truffles

A soft mixture of chocolate spread, hazelnuts and finely chopped Stracci biscuits, coated with a thin layer of cocoa, go to make up this chocolate praline from La Vialla, which is “rustic” with a soft heart. Truffles take their name from a sweet, chocolatey speciality from Piedmont (land of hazelnut cream and of the best pralines in Italy) called so because the shape recalls the famous tuber. La Vialla’s Truffles come from a recipe born at the Fattoria and are a concentrate of goodness, with an intense taste of hazelnuts and chocolate. Their complex, persistent flavour is ready to melt in the mouth and give shivers of pleasure to the “poor wretch” tasting it, who will become even more “wretched” if in the meantime sipping a glass of Vin Santo!

Preparing the Truffles
Preparing the Truffles

La Fragolina

La Fragolina is a purée of fresh strawberries. A classic way of using it – at home and at the Fattoria – is in an aperitif, made with Mussantino or another sparkling wine: a few spoonfuls of this delight add colour, aroma and flavour to the various kinds of “bubbly”. But that’s not all, try tasting it with yoghurt, ice cream (“fior di latte”, vanilla, strawberry), whipped cream and other creamy desserts. A small amount (4%) of blackberries has been successfully added to the recipe, to boost the content of polyphenols and antioxidants, while maintaining the colour, fragrance and flavour.

Semifreddo with La Fragolina
Semifreddo with La Fragolina

La Vialla’s marmalade and extra jams

Jams and Marmalades are amongst the simplest and most enticing ways of preserving the taste and nutritional value of fresh fruit. At the Fattoria, the fruit (strawberries, figs and blackberries) is picked when it’s healthy and fully ripe, in lovely sunny weather, avoiding the hottest hours of the day, but also avoiding damp, rainy days.
The cooks at La Vialla prepare the organic jams in the kitchen workshop’s “pentoloni” (= big pans), which cook the ingredients in a vacuum and therefore at low temperature. They have the look and taste of good, rustic, home cooking. They contain generous quantities of fruit (well above the 44% required for “extra” jams) and are sweetened with grape must – they do not contain sugar.

  • Strawberry Jam - excellent for making cheesecake with ricotta
  • Orange Marmalade – delicious with mature cheeses or game dishes
  • Fig Jam – for typical Tuscan “crostata” (= jam tart)
  • Blackberry Jam – for breakfast with bread and butter (or oil), or used to make a delicious semifreddo with whipped cream
La Vialla’s Jams and Marmalade
La Vialla’s Jams and Marmalade
Gabriella mit einer Feigen-Crostata
Gabriella with a fig tart

Viallella chocolate spread

(a cream of hazelnut and cocoa with extra virgin olive oil and honey)
Besides its delicate and (it must be said!) delicious taste, one of the strong points of Viallella are its outstanding ingredients: all organic and sugar-free, there’s extra virgin olive oil and there are lots of hazelnuts, 29%. The Romana D.O.P. hazelnut plays the leading role in this cream: harvested in the Italian region of Lazio in November, when perfectly ripe, they are dried, roasted for just a few minutes to save their aromas and then ground. In this way they become an aromatic, fragrant, golden paste.

To sweeten the Viallella, instead of sugar we have used the “sweetness” of agave (which has a much lower glycaemic index – GI – than sugar) together with a drop of honey, but very little of both. The oil used is sunflower and….. olive (a classic Viallino ingredient!) and, to finish off, a pinch of vanilla, a hint of sunflower lecithin (to amalgamate the ingredients) and a drop of milk. The result is a hazelnut-scented cream that’s just right for spreading, but also slightly runny so it can be “trickled” on fresh fruit (strawberries and pears are perfect for it!), yogurt, ricotta or ice cream. It can be used as a filling for tempting cakes and tarts, for hot crepes or, simply, on a nice slice of freshly-baked bread.

Die Viallella: biologische Zutaten, ohne Zuckerzusatz
Viallella – organic ingredients, no added sugar