Visitors to Tuscany come for many reasons. Many come in search of fine art, others to explore the gorgeous countryside. Walkers enjoy the mountain paths, cyclists the rolling hills, summer vacationers the seacoast and islands. Students and other visitors come to learn the beautiful language and culture.
There is so much to do and see in Tuscany; the difficulty is only where to begin. Certainly, many would start with Florence, and then continue on to Siena and Pisa. The roll call of the cities of art is daunting; Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano, and Lucca are all striking. Indeed, the more you come to know the region, the more extraordinary it becomes.
For the kosher traveler, Cantina Giuliano is one of Tuscany’s treasures. It is the brainchild of Eli and Lara Gauthier, an Orthodox couple residing in Paris.
Raised in the respective countrysides of Tuscany and Paris, Lara and Eli first met as students at the University of London and “really hit it off by spending entire days cooking together,” Eli recalls. Sharing a passion for creating fine cuisine as well as discovering many other common interests and goals inspired the pair to become partners, both in marriage and in business, and therein lies the story.
“Cantina Giuliano was conceived five years ago when Lara and I started a fully kosher boutique winery in the Tuscan hills whose wines can be found throughout New York and New Jersey under our Cantina Giuliano label,” Eli explained. ”
We later started a restaurant and hospitality services to expand our offer with the overarching premise of showcasing the genuine flavors of Tuscany to people visiting our region. We produce our own olive oil, cheeses, and jams, and we work with local farmers to source our vegetables in order to create a culture in touch with our surroundings, offering real flavors.”
Since Cantina Giuliano’s inception, the company has earned a sterling reputation and enthusiastic client base throughout the global kosher community for the impeccable standards of kashrut and quality of products and service. Now they have expanded their offerings yet again by raising the bar in premier Pesach vacations.
At the foot of the ancient town of Volterra, you and your family will experience the Pesach of a lifetime, immersed in the Tuscany of your dreams. This world-class program offers guests an intimate setting in the lush hills of Tuscany. Beautifully designed and decorated villas and apartments afford guests luxury, comfort, and tranquility, and accommodate 4 to 11 people. Savor the culinary artistry of acclaimed Chef Avner Guzman as he creates a plethora of palate-pleasing possibilities that will enhance your oneg yom tov.
“In this Pesach program we are looking to bring together the richness of Tuscan gastronomy and Avner Guzman’s mastery of technique and creativity to create menus that will make a lasting impression and take people on a trip, giving them a deep immersion in the region they’re visiting, offering a genuine experience of Tuscany,” said Eli.
Chef Avner Guzman is a graduate of the prestigious Cordon Bleu Institute in Paris. Rising through the ranks, he became executive chef at three of Paris’s best kosher restaurants and is often flown out for pop-up dinners and private parties throughout the world. This Pesach, he will surprise guests with an exceptional menu, showcasing the best of Italian and French cuisine.
Refining Pesach programming to an art, the five-star cuisine adheres to stringent kashrut standards and is under the strict supervision of Rav Eliezer Wolff, av beit din of Amsterdam, and features glatt kosher and chalav Yisrael exclusively, with no kitniyos or gebrokts.
“It was from my grandmother that I received my first love for good food,” Avner shared. “The smells and scents emanating from her kitchen and the delicious tastes found in each of her dishes are surely one of my best culinary memories. Life led me to discover my true passion when I started working in England in a traditional restaurant of British cuisine. Then I decided to move to France and join the prestigious cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu. For more than ten years, I have been working in the upscale kosher restaurants in Paris and have been traveling around the world, making pop-up dinners and testing menus for the most refined palates. I continue developing my passion for creative cuisine, which fuses several styles, flavors, and techniques. This Pesach, you will travel and discover a new world of kosher culinary experiences.
“Among the many extraordinary options awaiting guests is a restaurant a la carte with five starters, five main courses, and five desserts. In response to the many requests we have received, we plan on featuring tasting menus (seven courses) and having a tea room during the day presenting the best Italian and French pastry. During chol ha’moed, we will have a gala barbecue; all meals will be prepared with the best and freshest ingredients from local farmers, and the choice of meat is of the highest quality and under one of the best hashgachahs in Europe. And of paramount importance are my team members, all of whom have Michelin-stars experience and are very passionate about what they do.”
Eli adds, “Because of the beauty of the land, Tuscany has been the home of many artists. Tuscany’s cities are brimming with art and culture, and her countryside is rich with the freshness of its ingredients and the wine tradition. For this program, I inspired myself and not only created a program for Pesach but an entire gastronomic experience for our guests. We are offering beautiful villas in the ancient town of Volterra. Our program will feature a tea room during the day, a Kids Club, and a plethora of possibilities for sightseeing in neighboring cities, among other activities. Quiet and tranquil, the place is removed from urban noise but well-situated with respect to all fascinating sites of interest in Tuscany. Our guests will experience their dream Pesach vacation — Tuscany has it all. We are offering our guests luxury accommodations, a swimming pool, a tennis court, and cycling options.
“Our program obviously offers beautiful accommodations and great service, but what makes spending Pesach in Tuscany with us an unforgettable moment is that it will be a full immersion in the rich culture of Tuscany, experiencing it from all angles, whether through its deep history, rich gastronomy, or natural beauty,” says Eli. “We are looking forward to the pleasure of welcoming you and your family to a beautiful and enriching Pesach experience.”
For further information, please refer to their ad in this issue of the 5TJT. Early reservations are highly recommended.
Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative media consultant, lecturer, and educator, and writes for magazines, newspapers, websites, and private clients. She welcomes your comments at Rochellemiller04@aol.com