Organic herb garden for our guests: Silvana and Piergiorgio invite you to make use of the organic vegetable and herb garden for your cooking. Enjoy!
Produced in a small apiary located close to the Podere, our wild-flower honey is different each year, depending on what is being cultivated in the surrounding fields and the flowers found in the immediate vicinity.
Forager Bees, with diligent care, collect nectar from thousands of flowers of different kinds and then produce a liquid honey, which then crystallizes.It has a sweet odour and taste.Our honey is sublime with sheep's cheese of the Crete Senesi (Sienese Hills).Spread on a slice of buttered bread, it becomes a balanced snack for young and old alike.Ideal consumption is 30 grams per day.
Honey is essentially composed of simple sugars (glucose, levulose and dextrose) and is easily transformed into energy, except for small traces of saccharose (3 – 4%) which must then be digested.
Sports competitors consume honey before, during and after competitions as honey can fortify muscles, boost resistance and aid recovery.
The body assimilates honey easily as honey is pre-digested by bees who also enrich it with essential live enzymes in the process.
Those who suffer from digestive problems can benefit greatly from substituting ordinary sugar with honey (honey is even recommended for sufferers of gastric ulcers).Honey is particularly valuable within the diet of children as it aids, as opposed to sugar, in the bonding of minerals.
Used externally, honey can facilitate the healing of wounds and burns as well as soothing an irritated throat.Honey can also be useful in treating constipation as it combats fermentation.It can also be used in cases of anaemia as it possesses great restorative values and can be used daily.
Honey contains bacteria killing properties in elevated levels.
The secret appears to be in a protein within the bees' immune systems.
Our organic olive oil is produced exclusively from hand-picked olives grown in our organic olive grove. Harvested early during ripening, the phase in which the skin of the olives turns from green to pink-purple, the olives produce less oil, but of a higher quality. By doing so, we are able to produce an oil which is of a green hue, has a low acidic base and is pungent in flavour whilst rich in polyphenols. Our olives are pressed within hours of being harvested, allowing us to obtain an extravirgin olive oil which is pleasing to the senses as well as containing high nutritional values.
Our oils can be bought online in one litre and half litre bottles, as well as in more convenient five litre cans.
We recommend keeping the bottles stored out of bright light, away from direct heat sources (the optimal storage temperature is between 13 and 18 degrees Celsius), ensuring that bottles are well closed after use and consumed with a few months of opening, as oil which is exposed to air can easily oxidize, losing bouquet and flavour. Oil purchased in cans should, once opened, be transferred to well-sealed dark-coloured glass bottles for storage to optimise shelf life.
Tuscan extravirgin olive oil is characterised by its green chlorophyllous opalescent colour, its clean and dry aroma which often carries a distinctly fruity bouquet, similar to that of the grasses and shrubs that surround olive trees. Our cultivar are typically Tuscan; Moraiolo, Pendolino, Leccino and Frantoio.
Protecting territorial specificity is of upmost importance in Italian oliviculture (olive growing) and boasts traditions that go back thousands of years and is comprised of a vast patrimony of different types of olive trees as well as technology that is globally unsurpassed. Spending a few more euros to purchase a high quality extravirgin olive oil is a sound decision.
From a health perspective, the most important characteristics of extravirgin olive oil are polyphenols and tocopherols.
Tocopherols are basically vitamin E and are considered protective and antagonistic against tumours and other illnesses as they combat free radicals. Extravirgin olive oil is one of the foods which contains the highest levels of this vitamin.Levels can vary due to season, the kind of olives used in production and other factors.
Polyphenols give the oil its characteristic flavour. When more polyphenols are present, an oil will taste peppery and more fruity. Much in the same way, levels of polyphenols in grapes are decisive in characterising a wine. Nutritionists have re-evaluated this family of composed chemicals and discovered their high antioxidant powers which can combat free radicals within our organisms, as well as favour the reduction of 'bad cholesterol' or LDL circulating in the blood, aiding blood-flow and lowering the risk of heart attack. Italian olives, specifically those of the southern part of central Italy, generally contain more polyphenols, which can also extend the shelf-life of oil by reducing oxidisation thanks to their antioxidant properties.
'Lots of flavour, zero calories'
Italian saffron has been judged as the best in the world, the roots of which are deeply bound to medieval history, and that today, needs to be valued and protected.
Our saffron plot, located south of Podere Cunina, covers an area of 500 square meters.
The production of saffron is a demanding one, as man and nature are the only contributors, and technology has no function nor influence in its cultivation.
Picking of the flowers, which takes place in late October until the first days of November, is rigorously done by hand from the first light of dawn and ends shortly before sunrise, (as the flowers need to be picked when they are still closed) then the pistils have to be separated from the flowers and allowed to dry. Pure saffron is of an intense red colour, it should not be speckled with white spots, nor should it be too damp. In order to maintain its aroma, it's best stored in a dark and dry place.
Saffron is the most expensive of all the spices worldwide. To obtain one kilogram of the spice, 150,000 - 200,000 flowers need to be harvested, totalling to about 500 hours of work.
The high cost of saffron has always been tempting to fraudsters, as early as the first century AD, Pliny the Elder (Plinio il Vecchio) was said to have stated that nothing is more subject to adulteration than saffron.
This remains true today. The most common and easiest way to add weight to saffron is through humidity absorption or by adding either oil or glycerine. Another frequent alteration is to add fragments of other flower species such as Calendula officinalis, Carthamus tinctoris (Safflower), Pappavero (Poppy) and Arnica to the saffron threads. Saffron powder is by far the easiest to falsify: powders derived from other plants (pimento, curcuma etc.) or sugar, starch and calcium are added to boost weight.
At Podere Cunina, we sell toasted saffron in whole strands (not powdered) and conserved in small sachets or glass jars.
The most common use of saffron is culinary:
Saffron's culinary use is vast; from starters through to dessert, although it is best combined with rice, crustaceans, seafood, casserole-type meat dishes and delicate sauces in which saffron enhances richness, adds colour and intensifies flavour.
Usually, this spice is added towards the end of cooking, otherwise it loses its aroma and taste; particular attention must be used when dosing: for three to four people, a 0.15 gram sachet is sufficient. It is also possible to add saffron at the beginning of recipes, as is the case with casseroles. When doing so, the saffron needs to soften or bleed in water prior to being added.
Dishes prepared with saffron are usually paired with full-bodied sparkling white wines or with soft reds that do not contain a lot of tannins, which would reinforce only the bitter notes of the saffron.
As well as rendering tasty and flavoursome the most diverse dishes, crushed saffron is a goldmine of substances which are essential to the human organism.
Reduces Aging: being one of the most potent antioxidants, saffron blocks free radicals, (eliminating up to six times more than vitamin C does and 20% of the waste created by free radicals daily), which are responsible for accelerating cellular aging.
Aids digestive function:by stimulating the digestive apparatus and augmenting the secretion of bile and gastric juices. For this reason, saffron is utilized in many digestive liquors.
Combats depression: the colour yellow is synonymous with serenity within chromotherapy through stimulation of the hypothalamus and regulating wellbeing. It seems that the same benefits can be obtained by ingesting yellow foods. Is an ancient and modern aphrodisiac: used long ago by Greek Divinities to awaken sexual energy, today it has been proven that saffron stimulates the production of hormones which tone the sexual sphere, while its antioxidants improve circulation.
Contains zero calories: despite imparting flavour to each dish to which it is added, saffron does not add fat nor calories, it does however stimulate the metabolism, even preventing intestinal infection.