2 MINUTE READ
A behind-the-scenes look at four days of riding, food and territory.
Words by Miriam | Photography by Miriam | Styling by Beatrice
14 June 2022
BikeandTaste’s first real experience was a fusion of extraordinary cycling routes with the irresistible exuberance of multiple World Champion Paolo Bettini, mouth-watering cooking lessons, breathtaking views, geothermal beers and followed by sunset toasts, smiles and even new friendships.
Now it is a pleasure to share our trip to Tuscany between photos – lots of photos – hot pumpkin, night baths, and iced tea.
When Patrizia, Krisztina and I got out of the car we felt like we had stepped out onto a planet very close to the sun. June overflows from everywhere: the sun-scorched hills, the glistening olive trees, the blood-colored poppies by the roadsides, and patchy brooms everywhere. We were hungry and it seemed only natural to reach the Ganesh-the center of Pomarance’s social life-to get Caesar’s ‘schiaccia’, with the guarantee of searing deliciousness, we devour in big gulps as the temperature rises above thirty degrees outside and we enjoyed being greeted with the usual simple and sincere welcome here.
Later, as the afternoon air cooled the shady rooms of the Monastery, we prepared our welcome gift. BikeandTaste’s musettes – the first ever – are filled with little gadgets for our guests coming from all over Italy to ride these roads with Paolo Bettini. Here he was as tanned as ever and ready to take stock of the days’ programs. Dinner was held in a small illuminated village where the occasional sound of cats chasing each other broke the silence. In the evening, that cool air comes down and makes you forget the canicular temperatures of the day.
While Paolo and Luca went out on their bikes with guests, we got ready with cameras on our shoulders, to document the cooking lesson reserved for the travel companions. It was all about a full immersion in Tuscan cuisine with chef Federico Frosali who told us how the simplest recipes can often require more attention than complex ones. It was only ten o’clock in the morning, but the smell rising from the pot where the ‘pappa al pomodoro’ was cooking, was already making us hungry. Three hours had passed by the time we got a taste of it. In the meantime, we had been kneading and sealing tortelli. The pappa was incredibly yummy – why has it not yet been declared a national heritage? – and the same goes for the ricotta and spinach filling that melted in our mouths. I also wondered how the julienne carrots that accompanied the filet could be so good, but that is a secret ingredient in the recipe that Chef Frosali personally sent to each of us.
If the afternoon was created for siestas, ATCommunication couldn’t afford to sleep during its busiest time. We set up an office overlooking the bell tower, with the addition of iced tea and pistachio ice cream. Camera memory cards are hotter than a summer hit while everything else kept us glued to our laptops until dinnertime. Fortunately, Alessandro knew what we needed to recharge our batteries. Gin and tonic anyone?
Between a crate of bananas and oranges and a tire pump, I found my spot to begin a day devoted to taking photos from the privileged position of the open trunk of the assistant’s car. The countryside flows in an extraordinary way once you change perspective: the deserted roads connecting small villages are mottled by shadows and, among cypress trees and half-abandoned cottages, the intimate beauty of this land opens up. Have I mentioned that I am in love with the colors of Tuscany in summer?
We all found ourselves at Vapori di Birra, as thirsty as wayfarers in the desert, including Patrizia and Krisztina who, with their chaperones, went through the Biancane Park in the morning. A fairy-tale place where one can discover all the geothermal phenomena that make this area distinctive- geysers and boraciferous puffs normally found in Iceland or areas like that. Between the toasts and the rest, I barely made it in time to grab a sandwich on the fly-lunch-and stand out by the car.
Paul and Luke thunder down the slopes, almost threatening to go straight into the trunk. But I’m used to it, in fact the fun is all there, once again having confirmation that biking is a classic way to be free…and happy.
The sweltering heat was not the best ally for cultural outings, but truth be told, there were stretches in Volterra where there was cool air blowing in from somewhere. The magic of the village remains unchanged, whatever the season, and as we looked at the Roman theater from above, we are enveloped by the enchantment of Etruscan jewelry in the typical little store overlooking the street. The last stop was an ice cream shop, according to the guide it is the best in town, and we could confirm this. Once back in Pomarance, we moved to the Dispensa, literally scattered throughout the hills, for an aperitif with bubbles and appetizers. This included watermelon and gorgonzola skewers: never had it before, but it was absolutely amazing.
Note: It’s never too late to try unexpected things. Nor for a dip in the pool, actually. It’s midnight when we went for a dive under the stars, a quarter of an hour of sacred relaxation before the last fiery day.
A Ganesh croissant and a cappuccino are the basic ingredients for tackling the morning grilling at the Green Fondo, an event that returns after a two-year absence – blamed on the pandemic, of course – and that dayy it was back to its former glory. Pomarance was buzzing, people were asking for photos of Paolo [Bettini], Jury Chechi and Giovanni Visconti, the stars of the day. Patrizia and I were spinning around like tops for statements and, with seconds to go, sprint to the Lampredotto refreshment area where we had set up yet another walking office on a bench as we waited for the first cyclists. The mood was a mix of what Paolo Bettini always talks about: fun, friends, good food, scenery and even sustainability…all united under the banner of sport.
It would take me about six hours to get home, fifteen percent battery left on my laptop to finish the news we had planned and download the photos, and about twenty hours of sleep to catch up on the next week, but in the end all of us on the team felt the same way: when you have a goal, it’s always worth pursuing it.
Try a totally new team building experience!
If it is true that our small and dynamic group knows how to convey the true power of teamwork- a philosophy that unites us all-these experiences can only turn into special occasions from which to emerge once again more united and full of renewed energy to be used to organize many more unforgettable experiences.
If you are looking for an idea for your corporate incentive, contact us, we will create the perfect solution to make your team closer than ever.