Pavlova La Massa


  • 4 large or 5 regular egg whites at room temperature – not straight out of fridge – there must be NO trace of yolk.
  • Tiniest pinch of salt
  • 225 grams of castor sugar – I often use regular and grind it down.
  • 2 level teaspoons of cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of cold water.
  • Mascarpone / yoghurt / sugar mix or whipped cream
  • Fruit as appropriate – mixed berries are probably the nicest.


  • Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees centigrade.
  • Whip the egg whites until really stiff, add sugar 25% at a time beating in between.
  • Add cornflour, water and vinegar.
  • Mark a circle in pencil on a piece of baking parchment – I draw round a 23 centimetre plate.
  • Pile the egg mix into the centre and organise into a fairly regular cylinder – no need to be over fussy.
  • Put in oven for one hour.
  • Take out of oven and put the cylinder ‘upside down’ on a flat plate.
  • Leave it to cool, the centre will subside making a nest shape – the thing will crack but do not worry.
  • When cold let your imagination deal with the decoration.

Pears and Pecorino cheese     –    goat-cheese and figs  –  Parmisan or GranaPadano

Peposo is the signature stew of Impruneta, a town south of Florence renowned for its terracotta. Indeed, it was made by the tile-workers, who would slip a stew pot into the kiln as it slowly cooled after the firing, and simmer their dinner for hours.
As you might expect, the recipe goes a long way back — the Imprunetani began making terracotta centuries before Brunelleschi came looking for roof tiles for Florence’s Cathedral in the 1400s

For years, people who have stayed at both DeiMori in Florence and at La Massa in Tuscany have enjoyed one of Danny’s Carbonara .

These pasta suppers have often been impromptu affairs, done on the spur of the moment when the always generous Danny has felt particularly so.  He likes nothing better than to whisk up one of his pasta carbonara and share it with his guests.  They in turn love the experience and the recipe which follows has, I am sure, been replicated all around the world.

Many carbonara tend to be smothered in loads of cream and Parmesan cheese, but this one succeeds with its simplicity and dignity – just a very few very natural ingredients.

Tuscan AntipastiThere are many appetizers unique to Tuscany that are often presented on a platter in mixed, colorful form that Tuscans refer to as Antipasto Misto.  The individual Tuscan appetizers, many of which are shown in my blog photos, include:

Prosciutto e Melone.  This common Tuscan appetizer (which is also an appetizer seen in many other parts of Italy), is in fact an Italian staple in the appetizer category.  Mostly served with slices of cantaloupe topped with slices of prosciutto, some restaurants have their own version, like the one in the picture with small cantaloupe balls resting on slices of prosciutto.Tuscan Antipasti

Slices of cheese with honey is also a common appetizer in Tuscany.  Sometimes restaurants serve cheese with jam as well, and this dish is not only common as an appetizer, but can also be served in place of dessert at the conclusion of dinner.

A selection of sliced meats is always popular, such as salame toscano and salamino piccante.  Types of salami include: mortadella, finocchiona, lardo, and sopprassata

An appetizer I’ve seen the most in Tuscany is called Bruschetta al Fegatino, which is a type of bruschetta with a liver paste topping.  This is an extremely common Tuscan appetizer.  Of course other types of bruschetta are offered in Tuscany, including the classic Bruschetta al Pomodoro (Bruschetta with Tomatoes), and Bruschetta con Fagioli (Bruschetta with beans).

Salame e Ficchi (salami with figs) is another Tuscan appetizer, popular in the summer when the figs are fresh.

Panzanella, which is served as a side dish or even a first course, is sometimes served as an appetizer, as shown in the photo above.  It is a typical Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes that is popular in the summer, and also sometimes includes basil and olive oil.


Coccoli, Prosciutto e Stracchino is another classic Tuscan appetizer, consisting of a type of fried bread, served with prosciutto and cheese.

Verdure Grigliate is also common, which is basically a selection of grilled vegetables, including eggplant, peppers, and zucchini.

This list is not exhaustive, but accounts for many of the more common appetizers served in Tuscany.


Water mills within the valley

Stia, Fam Bucchi 0575-582680 • 338-1007610.

– MULINO GRIFONI (produttivo)
Pagliericcio, Castel San Niccolò Fam. Grifoni 0575-572873.

Castel Focognano, Fam. Bardelli 0575-597465 – 339-3231870

Raggiolo, Ortignano Raggiolo.
Fam. Giorgini 0575.514042 • 347-1111508.
Comune Ortignano Raggiolo 0575.539214.