Il sapore del benessere • The taste of wellbeing

il sapore photo

Aren’t five long and dark months with no garden, no scents, no flowers, no green leaves, a misery? Now, however, everything starts again, and, if today the garden is still lying bare, to the gardener, all is already present in seed and in imagination.  Herman Hesse

Winter is almost over, the sun is coming back; the joy of the first flowers; snowdrops, crocuses and primroses; soon I’ll be able to spend time in the walled garden among the scents and colours of spring. All this has inspired me to create this collection of dishes called “Il sapore del benessere ▵The taste of wellbeing”.

Italian cooking is well know for pasta and pizza; but these are not the only dishes.
It has developed through centuries, with roots in antiquity. It is characterised by its simplicity and reliance on the quality of the great variety of ingredients, particularly vegetables and fruit.
But Italian cooking would not be the same without olive oil, used raw in sauces, salads, grilling, and dressing.
Studies indicate that regular consumption of olive oil reduces the risk of heart diseases and cholesterol level.

These delicious dishes are light, full of goodness, mostly vegetarian and all gluten free. Some are very ancient and some are my own recipes inspired by dishes of my childhood.


Melanzane grigliate
Grilled aubergines with parsley, garlic and olive oil £4.50

Zucchine grigliate
Grilled courgettes with capers,
herbs, spring onions,
balsamic vinegar and olive oil £4.50

Peperoni grigliati ripieni di mascarpone, pinoli e timo
Grilled Romano peppers filled with Mascarpone cheese, pine nuts and thyme £4.50

Crostini di polenta con funghi
Grilled polenta with creamy mushroom sauce £6.50

Salse servite con pinzimonio:
Sauces served with crudité:
(2 person minimum)

Pesto di Barbabietola
Beetroot pesto £4

Crema di peperoni e mandorle
Romano pepper & almond sauce £4

Crema di ceci, hummus
Chickpea sauce £4

Primi piatti
First course

Fettuccine di zucchine al pesto alla Genovese
Zucchini julienne with freshly made pesto £14.50

Gli gnudi al sugo di pomodoro
A delicate blend of spinach and ricotta served with a tomato sauce £16

“Gli gnudi” is a typical Tuscan dish. “Gnudo” in florentine vernacular means “naked”. In fact this dish uses ravioli filling without the pasta, therefore a “bare” filling.

My recipe of tomato soup inspired by the Tuscan tomato pasta sauce £12.50

Tuscan thick vegetable soup £12.50

The origins of Minestrone pre-date the expansion of the Latin tribes of Rome, when the local diet was vegetarian of necessity. The ancient Romans recognised the health benefits of a simple diet and thick vegetable soup remained a staple. As eating habits and ingredients changed, so did minestrone. The introduction of tomatoes and potatoes from the New World in the mid-16th century was significant, and these ingredients are still present in the soup today.

Brodo di pollo con uovo, cavolo e un pizzico di zenzero
Chicken broth, with spring cabbage, egg and a pinch of ginger £14.50

Secondi piatti a base di verdura
Vegetarian second course

Rotolo di funghi con mascarpone a caprino*
Mushroom roulade with mascarpone & goat cheese £14.50

Melanzane alla parmigiana
Aubergines cooked in layers with tomatoes, parmesan cheese and basil £8

Uova al pomodoro
Poached eggs in a tomato, garlic and basil sauce £8

Secondi piatti a base di carne o pesce
Second course with meat or fish

Carne estiva
Cold thin slices of beef served with “salsa verde” £16

Pollo al limone e basilico
Chicken cooked in the oven with lemon and basil £14.50

Carpaccio di bresaola, parmigiano e rucola
Bresaola (Italian cured meat), served with parmesan & rocket with a lemon and olive oil sauce £14

Trota alle olive verdi
Fresh Bibury trout filet cooked in the oven with green olives £14.50

Side dishes

Frittelle di ricotta e timo
Ricotta and thyme hotcakes £8

Cecina tradizionale
Chickpea flat bread £4

A legend tells us that in 1284, during the battle of Meloria when Genoa defeated Pisa, the Genoese galleys were hit by a storm. Some olive oil barrels and sacks of chickpeas broke and were mixed together with salty water.
Because there was nothing else to eat, this mixture was given to the soldiers, but they refused to eat it. It was left in the sun, and the day after, with great joy, the Genoese discovered that the dried mixture had become rather delicious!


Insalata di spinaci, pomodori sott’olio, melanzane grigliate e pinoli
Fresh baby spinach leaves, sun-dried tomatoes, grilled aubergines and pine nut salad £4

Mozzarella di Bufala, pomodori e basilico
Buffalo mozzarella and basil salad £8

Barbabietole ed erbe
Beetroot and herbs salad £4

Erbe e caprino
Herbs and goat cheese salad £4

Frutta e biscotti
Fruit and biscuits

Arance in sciroppo di rosa e menta
Oranges in rose syrup with mint leaves £6.50

Pere cotte nello sciroppo di vaniglia, miele e zafferano*
Poached pears in vanilla, honey and saffron syrup £6.50

Susine al vino rosso e cannella*
Plums in spicy red wine £6.50

Frutti di bosco con crema di ricotta
Mixed berries served with creamy ricotta sauce £6.50

Almond and orange zest biscuits £6.50

Biscotti fiorentini
Florentine biscuits £6.50

I grew up in Florence in a classic Italian family that is still extremely, sometimes infuriatingly fussy about the food they eat. They will admit only the best ingredients, and those are usually grown on the family estate, situated on the hills around Florence. My parents still produce their own wine, olive oil, vegetables and fruit for themselves and others to enjoy.

I learned cooking when I was a little girl from my mother and my grandmother. My recipes are made with local ingredients from the Cotswolds and some Italian ingredients, including some products of our family estate. I make all the dishes myself, including the bread and the pasta, which I roll out by hand with the wooden rolling pin

I offer delicious traditional Italian food for lunch or dinner. Choose up to two dishes of each course in the menu, and I will organise your food down to the last detail; you will only need to relax and enjoy this Italian extravaganza in the comfort of your own home.

I make some of the ingredients in my kitchen, and assemble the courses in your house
You can also add some dishes from my previous menus, like my homemade Tuscan sour-dough bread, my various schiacciatas, affettati, selection of Italian cheeses, salad, polpette & crocchette; please enquire for brochures.
The dishes can be modified in advance to cater for special dietary requirements: please call me to discuss.
You will need to book 48 hours in advance to give me time to acquire all the ingredients.

*You can find these recipes in “The grain-free vegetarian” by Lucy Robinson
available now on

I piatti di Giovanna
Dairy Cottage
tel: 01451 844450