Tuscany dreaming in Exeter this Easter

There is one very good and extremely moist reason why comparing Exeter and its surroundings with a region in Italy considered one of the best places on the planet is patently absurd. However – bear with us just uno momento – if you can put the weather to one side and screw your eyes up a bit; hell, we are absolutely wearing that Dolce and Gabbana t-shirt.

For primo piatto we are only a smattering of those pointy Italian Cypress trees away from a totally Tuscan-esque landscape here. We have many similarly red-ish buildings. We absolutely embrace our local produce. We are not impartial to the occasional glass of earthy vino. And, surely sealing the argument, we all without exception dress with effortless style and panache!

Finding ‘Tuscan’ stuff around here is easy. From small facilities in Topsham and the Clyst Valley, the Good Game Company looks to the Italians for inspiration for their signature Venison Salami and air dried Coppa Ham. It may not be ‘olive’, but Bell and Loxton are award winning producers of cold pressed rapeseed oil, grown, pressed and bottled on the family farm with full traceability. Degustazioni di vini (that’s wine tastings to you) have shown Pebblebed Sparkling, made at Clyst St George just five minutes from the M5 at Exeter, is amongst the best in England. Their reds and whites aren’t too shoddy either.

And finally – how prescient is this – consider that Devon’s new Intercity Express Trains are being built in Pistoia, yes … Tuscany.

So, next time you put up your brolly and wish you were in Tuscany instead, just think that in a few months time someone in Siena or Florence or Lucca is going to be languidly erecting their parasol and longing for the cool glades of Devon. Grazie!