Giving the Gift of the Best in the Val d’Orcia for Christmas: My Tips

10 december 2016

Having worked for many years in the food and wine sector in communication and PR for important Italian companies, the love of this world remains: a world of high quality products, food and wine treasures, and great passion. Christmas is the ideal time to discover and give artisan food and top wines, also because palatable gifts remain at the top of the ranking of gifts that give the most pleasure to those who receive them.

In the Val d’Orcia there is no shortage of top products: starting from craft beer, which I love, because it stands apart from all the others. Catharina, produced by Birrificio San Quirico ( is the first Italian beer to be flavoured with the spices of Panforte, the very old cake that is a symbol of the city of Siena.
Produced every year in a limited edition of only 1,000 numbered bottles, this beer offers aromas of black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and is named after Saint Catherine of Siena, who, according to numerous historical sources, often visited the Val d’Orcia, particularly the hot springs of Bagno Vignoni, where she retreated in prayer and solitude in Medieval times. Inspired by classic Italian beers, Catharina, is perfect as a meditation beer on those cold winter nights or paired with aged cheese and Christmas baking.

Speaking of cheese, Pecorino sheep cheese from Pienza has become a symbol of the Val d’Orcia the world over: the Caseificio Cugusi ( continues to be a sure thing. In addition to the classic fresh and aged cheeses, there is the Pecorino di Fossa, Cenerino (aged in ashes), and Pecorino flavoured with truffle.
If you want to make a statement with unconventional packaging, there is a vast selection in the Maladetti Toscani Food ( line. A young and irreverent team that carefully selects small artisan producers: not to be missed are the classic sauces of the Tuscan tradition that come in “saucy” jars decorated with skulls.

Finally we come to wine, a classic Christmas gift loved not only by wine collectors. In the Val d’Orcia, the top label is Podere Forte (, a biodynamic winery driven by a visionary businessman who runs the estate with extreme precision. Petrucci, made with 100% Sangiovese grapes, astounds with its strong elegance. Guardiavigna, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, is a little masterpiece in a bottle.