Cooking & Entertaining

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 a hundred 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 presents the many recipes she has 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. The dishes are accompanied by sidebars and photos that convey the story of this place: pruning the vineyards in 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 Castello di Vicarello is the next best thing to taking a trip to this magical country.

"Damn good stuff comes out of this cucina."--GQ

"Travel like royalty this season [at] southern Tuscany's Castello di Vicarello."--Vogue

"This castle is exactly where Rapunzel should be letting down her hair. It's amazing--unusual and full of character."--Tatler

"Heaven!" --The New York Times Travel Magazine

"If I have only one life to live, let me live a good part of it at the Castello di Vicarello."--Richard David Story, editor-in-chief, Departures

"Castello di Vicarello offers some of the most spectacular food in Italy, thanks to Aurora Baccheschi Berti. Lovingly prepared with local ingredients, Aurora's dishes succeed in transporting her guests to the perfect state of bliss."--Julian Niccolini, Managing Partner, The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York

"We still talk about the fried zucchini flowers, and the dark cured ham made from boars reared on the estate. I quickly realized the only proper answer to 'What would you like for lunch' was 'Whatever you would like to cook!'"--Ed Smith, The Times, London

About The Author

Aurora B. Berti was born in Lombardy and worked as a textile designer for 18 years before settling into the Castello di Vicarello in Maremma, Tuscany, in 1996. She and her husband worked to transform this twelfth-century castle into an intimate luxury resort. Aurora prepares all the guests' meals, using ingredients mostly grown on the grounds. Guests are encouraged to join her in the kitchen for impromptu cooking classes, or in the garden to help pick the day's produce. The Castello di Vicarello has been named one of the 101 Best Hotels in the World by Tatler in 2009 and one of the 25 best new hotels in Italy by Travel & Leisure in 2004. Julian Niccolini is a native of Tuscany who is best known as the co-owner of New York City's Four Seasons restaurant. Niccolini is also an actor, journalist, winemaker, and beekeeper.

  • Publish Date: March 25, 2014
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Cooking - Regional & Ethnic - Italian
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Universe Promotional Books
  • Trim Size: 7-1/4 x 9-1/6
  • Pages: 288
  • US Price: $14.98
  • CDN Price: $14.98
  • ISBN: 978-0-7893-2732-1


“A huge bonus of Vicarello is the food—very light, organic. Aurora and her cooks make what is available, what’s in the garden, what’s in season. I was there in the late fall; we ate Italian cauliflower, zucchini, and spinach. In spring, she gets impatient for new artichokes and wild field herbs: ‘Dandelion! Chicories. And the one that looks like spinach? Erbett, we call it.’ (Wild chard.) One night, we ate tortelli ricotta made by me, under her tutelage of Aurora. We weighed out 200 grams of plain flour, 100 grams of semolina flour, a pinch of salt, a table spoon of olive oil, three eggs. ‘Mix the eggs into the flour with a fork until it’s time to start kneading,’ she said, showing me how. Her laptop is open on the dining-room table most days: She was hastening to finish her cookbook (to be published by April by Rizzoli), My Tuscan Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes from Castello di Vicarello.” ~Vogue

"The moment I opened its pages I was transported to another place, perhaps another time, and liked the feel of it. Each recipe talked to me, hence all the bookmarks." ~The Best Cookbooks List

Author Bookshelf: Aurora Baccheschi Berti, Julian Niccolini