Aurora Baccheschi Berti

Aurora Baccheschi Berti, with her husband, Carlo Baccheschi Berti, owns the much-lauded Castello di Vicarello hotel in Maremma, the heart of Tuscany.  On the site of a Roman bath, the castle was originally constructed in 1112 A.D. and has been renovated by the owners for the lucky guests who choose it as a destination. Aurora’s cooking has been an integral part of the Castello di Vicarello experience, and has won fans worldwide. Aurora worked in the fashion industry for many years, 18 of which were spent in Bali. Though Aurora’s cooking is almost entirely Italian – the influences of Lombardy, Tuscany and the Tuscan Maremma are strong in her creations – her time spent in the Far East is apparent in the décor at Castello di Vicarello.

Born and bred in London, Beth Evans is a passionate photographer whose work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveller, World of Interiors, Travel + Leisure, and Elle Deco, among many others. Her second great passion is food. She fell in love with Castello di Vicarello while shooting there for Conde Nast Traveller... though she won't say whether it was the beauty of the place or Aurora's cooking which first seduced her.

Anne Hanley was born in Australia, grew up in England, and moved to Italy in 1984, living first in Rome and now in rural Umbria. She began her working life as a journalist (The Sunday Telegraph, The Independent, Bloomberg) and went on to edit guide books for Time Out Guides. She has since become a garden designer, working throughout central Italy.

Links

Castello di Vicarello official website
Anne Hanley official website

Books

My Tuscan Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes from the Castello di Vicarello

A sumptuous escape to the sensual culinary flavors of the Italian countryside, with more than 100 recipes for the home cook. In a wild, undiscovered corner of Tuscany called Maremma, boars roam the hillsides, olive trees stand like sentries, and fennel perfumes the air. This landscape yields its own cuisine--rustic dishes that let their seasonal ingredients shine through. There is no better place to learn the secrets of this cuisine than the Castello di Vicarello. This twelfth century fairy-tale castle is now an exclusive resort where the proprietor, Aurora Berti, prepares meals based on the garden. Here, Aurora present the many recipes she had developed over the past decade by sharing with local peasant women and drawing from her own family's traditions. Organized by season, this charming cookbook immerses the reader in the daily rhythms of the land. Dishes are accompanied by sidebars and photos that convey the story of this place: pruning the vineyards on winter, picking asparagus in spring, drying tomatoes for sauce in summer, and hunting porcini in fall. The recipes burst with flavor while remaining simple: black kale crostini, radicchio and walnut salad, carbonara with favas, roast pork with apples, peach crostata. My Tuscan Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes from the Catello di Vicarello is the next best thing to taking a vacation to this magical country.

(Rizzoli, April 2011)