Vendemmia (aka the grape harvest!)

This past weekend we were invited out to our friend's family vineyard to help with the grape harvest. It was pretty awesome. We spent a few hours picking grapes and then we were completely spoiled with bread, salame and wine. I'm pretty sure Rob and I would work for food and wine every day if we could swing it.

It felt really good to get our hands dirty. When you sit in front of your computer all day working, sometimes you can forget what good old-fashioned hard work feels like. Instead of tiring us out, it actually kind of invigorated us!

Our friend Mollie was there snapping photos along the way. If you're Facebook friends with Rob or me you've probably seen her fantastic photography before, but if not you definitely need to check it out. She does really cool personal travel photography sessions -- so if you're taking a once in a lifetime trip to Tuscany you can get it documented in a really great way. You can check out here site here:

Sunsets and Instagrams

If you live in or have visited Italy you know that the sunsets here can be absolutely stunning. During our trip to the countryside last month there were a couple of nights, in particular, when the sunsets were just exceptionally beautiful.

One night we drove to a pull-off spot closer to Panzano just to take photos of the beautiful sunset. We played around with the camera settings to try and capture the colors. Although none of the photos really do the sunset justice, they are still pretty cool. The top photo is the least true to color, but I wanted to give you a sense of the landscape where we were shooting.

On another note, I'm still obsessed with Instagram. Here are some of my recent favorites that we've snapped:

Antica Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano, Italy

The longer I live in Italy (nine months and counting!) the more I appreciate good old fashioned butcher shops. So often in the U.S. we only see our beef neatly packaged in the grocery store. Buying meet from a butcher makes me feel a little more appreciative of the the food and where it came from.

These feelings are, obviously, what made us so happy to not only eat at Dario's restaurants, but to also stop into his butcher shop. The place is like a shrine to meat. One entire wall is full of all of the books and magazines that Dario has been featured in. What's so amazing is that despite his food fame, the guy is obviously happy just working in his shop every day, interacting with people and enjoying damn good food.

While we were there we picked up some of Dario's salt mix, Il Profumo del Chianti. Seriously, when you sprinkle a bit of the salt on a piece of pane toscana and top it with good olive oil, it's like crack in food form. So good.