2014 will certainly never go down in the archives as one of the hottest years on record, and will certainly be remembered as one of the wettest, but even with the rain and semi-tropical storms that have overtaken our peninsula of late, temperatures still climb into the low 30s (upwards of 86°F). In much the same way that we change our wardrobe from winter to summer, we also radically change our diet. And there are very good reasons for that! Here are some top tips for following good Italian habits (we all know about the bad ones!)
1. Water – yes of course we drinks lots of lovely wine and prosecco and limoncello and grappa. But all in limited amounts and at the right time of day. Water between meals and water at your meals (with wine maybe, but water all the same). No coke or other sugary sodas. Water! Your body needs it – in our hot and humid climate you will be “glowing” (that means sweating buckets!) – replenish it regularly. Water! We provide all the water you want included in the cover charge. So drink up.
2. Fruit and veg. Lots and lots. Mostly because they taste so good in the summer, but also because they contain … you guessed it …water! Make a magnificent salad with lettuce, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, a spash of oil and a little honey! So refreshing.
3. Less “hardcore” red meats. That doesn’t mean none, but keep your red meat rations for a splendid night out. Note that in the summer generally speaking heavy game choices are out (wild boar, pheasant, venison and the like).
4. Lots of fish. Much for the fish eaten in Tuscany is local; we are lucky enough to have a magnificent stretch of coast brimming with wonderful eatables. We have some fine fish first courses – try one!
5. Pasta is always good – it’s your “petrol” that will keep you going through the day. But avoid rich, heavy sauces, or indulge in something new such as panzanella (a bread-based first course) or pappa al pomodoro (thick soup with tomatoes and bread, sounds awful, tastes divine). Or maybe pasta with a light vegetable sauce or the best dish every – spaghetti al pomodoro, the classics are always winners!
6. Keep your cold cuts fruity! Parma ham, salami or even others with some fresh melon or fig is to die for!
7. Keep your ice cream fruity too! Yep, ‘cos that fruity ice cream (for example the queen of summer bliss is lemon sorbet) is full of …water! Yay – you are getting the hang of this!
8. Watermelon. Loads of it. And that’s because ….. you know right?
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t splurge every now and again. Of course you should. But make sure it is just that – splurge! Enjoy it all – because it will all be spectacular!