The Cortona landscape is once again changing. Summer is subtly making
way for Autumn. Leaves are beginning to turn russet red, grapes are almost
ready for harvesting, as are the olives, sunset is a little earlier each day.
Cortona - full frontal
Valdichiana from Torreone
Olive grove beneath Cortona at end of day
Every season seems to have its dietary delicacy. End August until
mid-September at least, there’s little more delicious than a plate of figs
especially if you have been impatiently waiting under the tree for them to
Some people enjoy the figs with fresh goat’s cheese (warmed briefly in
the oven) or with gorgonzola, but the most traditional dish is red figs
(sweeter than the green ones) with Parma ham.
Figs make for a good (but very sweet) jam and can also be dried;
delicious dipped in dark chocolate and stuffed with a toasted almond.
September will see the sweet potatoes dug out, squashes turning from
green to orange, the picking of blackberries and apples, and if we’re very
lucky the arrival of some porcini mushrooms!
In the meantime, the harvest of summer tomatoes, aubergine, courgette,
peppers, cucumber have now been bottled, pickled, grilled or sun dried. The
excess sweet corn lies frozen in the deep freeze, along with bags of chopped
basil and parsley. Onions and garlic have been strung up to dry and potatoes
put away in the cantina.
The few plants still bearing the last of the summer’s fruit are to be
cherished. They will not withstand the
arrival of the rains and colder weather whereas the hardier vegetables - kale,
cavolo nero, cauliflower, cavolo romano, cabbage, broccoli – will be in their
Perhaps, somewhat less seductive options as vegetables go, so if you can
break the monotony with a flavour of summer past, it’s a great bonus.