Wine, Olives, and Sheep: The Etruscan Guide to 21st Century Foodways


This week, join The Feast under the Tuscan sun as we chat with award-winning winemaker Charlotte Horton about the enduring culinary traditions of one of Italy’s oldest communities: the Etruscans. From millennia-old grape presses to enduring wine-soaked folk songs, learn how traditional Tuscan cuisine and culture can trace its lineage back 3000 years. We’ll also learn how these ancient foodways may have something to teach our modern food systems. Charlotte’s restored Tuscan castle, the Castello di Potentino, will host the upcoming Terroir Tuscany, a culinary retreat in early November 2018 focused on rediscovering ancient Etruscan food and farming practices as well as the application of these traditional ideas to modern global food systems. From cheese making to olive picking to wine tasting, it will be an opportunity for developing community and conversation with food scholars, journalists, and chefs from all over the world.  

Written and Produced by Laura Carlson

Editing by Mike Portt

 Special Guest: Charlotte Horton

Charlotte in one of the ancient Etruscan wine-making stone

Charlotte in one of the ancient Etruscan wine-making stone

Charlotte Horton has been making award-winning wines in Tuscany for over 20 years. She has restored two Castles in Tuscany.  At the second, Castello di Potentino, she has revitalized an abandoned estate, planting new vineyards, bringing olive trees back into production and creating a cultural centre, aka ‘The 21st Century Castle’, where people can stay in a rural family atmosphere.  She has been running food and wine pop-up events in Italy, Canada, New York, London, Ireland and France since 2010.

Learn more about Charlotte’s restored “21st Century Castle”, the Castello di Potentino:

Castello di Potentino is a working farm and a forward-focusing venture. Visitors here experience a raw connection between humankind and the environment - one that was initiated over 3,000 years ago and is rare in our current era of hyper-technology and globalisation.



Terroir Tuscany: Rural Logic  

Traditional food and farming – ideas to consider, innovations for the future.

November 3 – 10, 2018

Castello di Potentino Culinary Retreat

Ancient communities established themselves through food systems. By developing an intimate understanding of their environment they provided not only sustenance for survival, but also the ability to evolve more complex cultural activities and improve methods of cultivation. Civilizations developed therefore, from a productive relationship with the land.

In recent times of ultra-urbanization many societies have become disconnected from the natural environment leaving a relatively small percentage of the population in control of general nutrition. This fragmentation –and the associated divide between the rural and the urban– is marked by a trend towards large scale, heavily industrialized agriculture. Produce is now shipped enormous distances to feed ever-growing populations and this results in a global situation that is precarious and potentially unsustainable.

Whilst we now have substantial reserves for the global food economy, this mass food trade leaves individual groups vulnerable and has significant repercussions for the environment. When we lose control of our surrounding resources it means our society is powerless to provide for local communities in times of crisis. It strips identity, independence, and presence  from our everyday lives. And if what we eat is a reflection of our community, then food that's travelled thousands of miles has no relationship whatsoever to who we are.

With this in mind, what does the future offer? Are we at risk of losing our basic connection with humanity?

Terroir Tuscany will bring together 60 delegates and inspirational food leaders at Castello di Potentino to explore these ideas through dialogue, debate, hands-on experience and a plethora of shared meals. During their time in Tuscany, participants will rediscover ancient Etruscan food and farming practices as well as build a knowledge on how to apply traditional ideas in innovative ways to modern food systems. To this end, “Rural Logic” explores the concept that ancient wisdoms and practices are just as applicable to contemporary society as they ever were thanks to their proven successes.

Find out more about Terroir Tuscany:

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Terroir Hospitality & Founder, Arlene Stein

Arlene Stein is the Executive Director and Founder of the annual Terroir Hospitality Symposium that takes place each spring in Toronto, Canada. Terroir is the only hospitality program in Canada, and one of the first of many worldwide, that brings together influential chefs, restaurateurs, wine and beverage professionals in a forum for professional development with an additional focus on “Terroir driven” food systems and sustainability.  The symposium is currently in its 12th year and has over 1000 attendees from across North America and Europe. Terroir was created as a platform for education and community building within the hospitality industry. Since 2014, Terroir has begun creating satellite programs with the same fundamental goals, hosting forums, gastronomic tours and events in cities around the world.   So far Terroir has hosted projects in St. John’s, New York, Tuscany, Budapest, and Berlin, with upcoming events in Warsaw, Beijing and Tel Aviv.