What do you think of when
you hear the word Tuscany? Diane
Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun? A slew
of stereotypes that hang the walls of Italian restaurants all over North
Casa Raia, Montalcino, Tuscany
Tuscany tends to occupy a
slightly played-out, amber-coloured spot in our imaginations, even for those of
us who’ve had the pleasure of traveling there. Much of Western Europe turns the
other cheek to the throngs of tourists pounding its cobblestone streets, allowing
only limited access to that sought-after culture Europeans treat like a walled
garden. Tuscany is most definitely no exception.
Having said that, its beauty
and allure are unequivocal. All those experiences we see from behind the glass
of our TV screens, the stuff of Bourdainian romps and David Rocco cookbooks,
all those authentic experiences exist: you just have to know someone.
Monnoyer Family, from the left: Noah,
Kalyna, Gaia, Eliah, Pierre Jean.
Having a friend with access
to the local community gets you that
invite to the town’s festival, a seat at the farmer’s table, that visit to the
private cantina. If you’re lucky to know someone in Tuscany, you’ll find its
magic to be everything you’ve ever imagined and more.
So what, you think, whoopee
for you, but I’m still stuck on a tour bus, getting trying looks from
commercial vintners as they ushers me to their wine shop?
I’ll tell you what. There’s
a Canadian connection. The next best
thing to having a friend in town and your shortcut to the authentic Tuscan
experience is Kalyna and Pierre JeanMonnoyer of Casa Raia organic winery, and you can meet them at an exclusive wine tasting at Toronto’s Tutti MattiTuscan restaurant, January 4th & 5th, 2012. (See giveaway below!)
Kalyna, a Montreal native
and ex-Torontonian moved to the famed Tuscan town of Montalcino – home of Brunello wine — in 2005, with her French
husband whom she met traveling in China. Despite the couple’s pan-continental
story, they dreamed of setting down roots and leading a life close to the land,
running an organic winery.
Casa Raia wine at a tasting luncheon.
It’s no accident that Kalyna
looked to Montalcino as the couple’s home base. Her Milanese-born father and
Ukrainian mother discovered the area long before it was an oenophile hotspot,
traveling to Montalcino regularly since Kalyna was a child. In 1997, the family
bought a desperate wreck of a 15th century farm house with 7 hectares of
rolling Tuscan landscape, including a 2.2-hectare olive grove and 1.5 hectares
of vines. (Learn the nitty gritty of
being a Canadian in Italy in my interview with Kalyna.)
Previously, the estate
belonged to the Biondi Santi family, who if you know your wines, are regarded
as the founders of Brunello and are still in operation today. Building on the history of the land, Klayna
and Pierre Jean sought to cultivate the vines using purely organic methods,
apprenticing with various organic winemakers in the area. Casa Raia’s first
yield of Rosso di Montalcino (2008), Brunello di Montalcino (2006) and their
supertuscan, Bevilo (a play on the local song, ‘Bevi lo’ meaning ‘drink up’,
2008), received rave reviews across European wine fares, and will be available
at the January tasting in Toronto. (See
descriptions of tasting notes.)
Tutti Matti authentic Tuscan cuisine by
Chef Alida Solomon, Toronto
Today, Casa Raia (named
after the family matriarch, Raissa) has been meticulously restored to every bit
the Tuscan farmhouse and includes a modern cantina, where Kalyna and Pierre
Jean host in-season lunches and year-round private tastings. There are vineyards
and olive groves to wander through; blackberries, figs and persimmons to pick
in season; an organic garden of fruits and veggies; wild boar; a shaggy dog;
and a killer view — the quintessential Tuscan experience.
Chef/owner Alida Solomon, Tutti Matti,
Giveaway: Tutti Matti authentic Tuscan restaurant is offering the prix fix
menu valued at $150 per person, at a price of $50 per person, to one wine-and-food-loving
couple. A great new-year treat or belated holiday gift, the evening will
include all accompanying Casa Raia wine-by-the-glass, and an intimate setting
to chat with winemakers, Kalyna and Pierre Jean Monnoyer. For a chance to win,
email giveawaysATfoodnetworkDOTca the correct answer to following question:
name one Tuscan recipe by David Rocco on foodnetwork.ca. The winning couple can
choose between January 4th and 5th for reservations. Gratuities and taxes not
The following are the giveaway rules (“Rules”) for the Canadians in Tuscany giveaway (the “Giveaway”) being administered by Shaw Media (“Shaw”).
RULE 1. HOW TO ENTER
To enter, entrants must answer the question posted above correctly, as determined by a Shaw representative. The Giveaway shall run from December 29, 2011 to January 2, 2012 after which time no answers will be considered.
RULE 2. SELECTION OF WINNER
Upon completion of the Giveaway, a Shaw representative shall review the answers submitted by each entrant to determine which entrant answered the question correctly. From the entrants that correctly answered the question, Shaw will randomly select the prize winner (“Winner”) and provide the prize to the winner. For the purposes of this Giveaway and the awarding of prize, these Rules shall govern in all respects and the decision of any Shaw representatives shall be final.
RULE 3. PRIZE
Giveaway: Tutti Matti authentic Tuscan restaurant is offering the prix fix menu valued at $150 per person, at a price of $50 per person, to one wine-and-food-loving couple. A great new-year treat or belated holiday gift, the evening will include all accompanying Casa Raia wine-by-the-glass, and an intimate setting to chat with winemakers, Kalyna and Pierre Jean Monnoyer. For a chance to win, email giveawaysATfoodnetworkDOTca the correct answer to following question: name one Tuscan recipe by David Rocco on foodnetwork.ca. The winning couple can choose between January 4th and 5th for reservations. Gratuities and taxes not included.
RULE 4. GENERAL
By participating in this Giveaway, you agree to abide by these Rules and the decisions of Shaw in awarding the Prize, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants. Entrants who have not complied with these Rules are subject to disqualification. Shaw reserves the right to modify the Rules, before or during the Giveaway, in its sole discretion, in any way at any time it deems necessary or appropriate without materially affecting the terms and conditions of this Giveaway. Interpretation of these Giveaway rules by Shaw shall be final.
Personal information collected during the course of this Giveaway shall be used by Shaw and its authorized representatives solely for the purposes of conducting the Giveaway and awarding prizes, and will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless required by law.
The Prize is not transferable and not redeemable for cash, will not be extended under any circumstances and must be accepted as offered without substitution.
Employees of Shaw and its affiliates, subsidiaries, related companies, advertising and promotional agencies and the household members of any of the above, are not eligible to participate in this Giveaway.
By participating in this Giveaway, the Winner agrees that his/her name may be used in any and all forms of media, without any further compensation by Shaw and waives all rights (including moral rights) with respect to printed, broadcast and other forms of publicity.
In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.
Notwithstanding the defined Contest Period, Shaw reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the Giveaway, in whole or part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the Giveaway, and/or these Rules in any way, at any time, for any reason without prior notice. Interpretation of these Giveaway Rules by Shaw shall be final.
The Giveaway is subject to all applicable laws of the province of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein.