Students from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo (Cuneo) travel to Tuscany to find out about food and renewable energy

For the third year running, thanks to the collaboration of Co.Svi.g (Consortium for the Development of Geothermal Areas). one of the many study trips organized by the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo (Cuneo), will have as its destination the part of Tuscany which boasts not only excellent gastronomic products but also rich underground renewable geothermal energy resources.

During the trip, a new group of students on the Master in Food Culture and Communications program will discover a unique portion of Tuscany where food is produced with techniques using sustainable energy drawn from geothermal steam and other renewable sources.

After a stop in Recco, in Liguria, to taste the famous focaccia of the same name, the party will proceed to Tuscany where it will stay at the Agriturismo la Contea in Monterotondo Marittimo (Grosseto).

The trip will be preceded by an introductory lecture on the local “Gusto Pulito” (Clean Taste) project and the Renewable Energy Food Community by Fausto Costagli, the Slow Food Monteregio convivium leader and Piero Ceccarelli, president of  Co.Svi.G., born in 1988 to promote development initiatives and an economic partner in the geothermal areas.

On the Tuesday the students will visit EnerGea (a research center for the transfer of technological innovation on renewable energies) and the San Martino geothermal power station in Monterotondo Marittimo. Later in the morning they will also visit the Caseificio Podere Paterno dairy, which produces interesting varieties of cheese and other dairy products (from cottage cheese to Pecorino). Here they will be treated to a buffet of local produce and a shepherd will outline the various production techniques.

In the afternoon, the students will visit the Massa Vecchia natural wine company near Massa Marittima, situated in the “Colline metallifere”, or metal hills. The estate covers an area of six hectares and produces wine and oil. The corporate philosophy is production with low environmental impact following natural processes and cycles. The vineyards and olive groves are tended to by hand and treated with in-house fertilizers, sulfur and copper.

Afterwards, the students will make a tour of the town of Massa Marittima itself and dine at La Taverna del Vecchio Borgo.

On the Wednesday the party will visit the Parvus Flos social cooperative in Radicondoli, which exploits uses underground steam, extracted through perforations in the soil, to heat its hothouses in a clean way with sizable cutting of management costs.

After lunch at the Ciottolona restaurant in Boccheggiano, the students will hear a lecture on “The Use of Bread in Tuscan Gastronomy”. In the afternoon, they will attend a second lecture cum workshop, this time at the Montomoli bakery in the same village on the subject of  “Taste and Chestnut Flour”.

In the evening a dinner of pizzas topped with local produce will served be at the Trattoria Sbrana in Ghirlanda, near Massa Marittima.

On the Thursday the students will move on to the area round Mount Amiata. In the morning, they will visit the Distilleria Nannoni, in Aratrice near Civitella Paganico (Grosseto), which produces quality grappas and brandies with a discontinuous distillation system with a steam plant and low degree columns.

Lunch will be served at the Antica Fattoria del Grottaione in Montenero d’Orcia. It will be followed by a visit to the Franci oil press, which has won a number of awards for its high quality products (Gold Lion, Best Oil Company in Tuscany, the Slow Food Three Olives Symbol, as well as inclusion in the Bibenda and Extravigin Oil guides).

In the afternoon the students will attend a lecture and a tasting at the Brunello di Montalcino consortium to find out more about one of the most famous, best loved wines in the world.

On the Friday the delegation will move to Montegiovi for lunch at La Poderina, an organic farm that produces certified oils and wines and is also famous for promoting Monte Amiata’s principal native olive cultivar, the Olivastra Seggianese. The farm is also an “agriturismo” whose restaurant, L’Olivastra, specializes in organic cooking. It is a member of the Tuscan Renewable Energy Food Community, a project developed by Slow Food, Co.Svi.G and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity to bring together producers who exclusively use energy from renewable sources.

After wine and oil it will be the turn of beer with a visit to the Amiata craft brewery in Arcidosso, which uses typical local products such as PGI chestnuts. The trip will come to an end with a dinner at the Aiuole restaurant in Arcidosso.