Drum Roll, Please~


Mark Leslie is DaVinci Wines

“Language Arts” 2012 DaVinci Storyteller!

I am thrilled and honored to say that I will be traveling to Vinci, Italy, (Saturday July 21—Saturday July 28, 2012) to spend a week learning, eating, drinking, writing ~ LIVING ~ the history of Vinci, DaVinci Wines and the wine making process. Are you pinching yourself as hard as I am pinching myself? OUCH!

Of course, this means that you, too, will be traveling with me. I plan on writing, posting photos and videos of my time in Vinci and, while every trip I take to Italy seems to be a life-altering one, I am excited to be able to take you with me via my blog, my Facebook and my Twitter—oh, how I wish I had room for you all in my suitcase!

“Mark, where is Vinci?

Located west of Florence, Vinci is most famous for the man that came “from” there ~ Leonardo “da” Vinci. I have seen his drawings in museums here and abroad, but soon I will be walking the same streets as the genius himself walked. Of course, I’ll also be learning the genius behind DaVinci Wines and sharing all of that with you, too.

SO, how can you help me prepare for “us” to take this trip together?

É molto semplice ~ It’s very simple!

There are lots of ways to become involved with me as I take this journey, thanks to DaVinci Wines:

First ~ subscribe to this blog. It is easy to do. Simply enter your e-mail address in the “Enjoy Being First” subscribe box in the sidebar to the right of the DaVinci logo above. As a subscriber, every new blog post will be emailed to you. You’ll be one of the first to know what is happening to “us” in Vinci!

Second ~ follow or “Like” “Beyond the Pasta” on Facebook. It is easy, too! Click on the “Facebook” icon in the sidebar to the right of the Vinci map above and, once at Facebook and signed in, “LIKE” the “Beyond the Pasta” page. On “Beyond the Pasta” Facebook, I’ll post photos or comments about discoveries as I encounter them. You’ll be able to follow me in “Snippets” of my daily activities in Vinci ~ before, during and after!

Third ~ if you like to “Rock like the Robin and tweet, tweet, tweet…” follow me on Twitter. Look for the “A Little Birdie Told Me” icon in the sidebar to the right of the Vinci map above. Following “Beyond the Pasta” on Twitter means you’ll be standing right next to me as I bring you “tastes” of Vinci and DaVinci directly to your mobile device. You’ll also become connected to a larger group of Italian based travel, food, and wine people who already follow me on Twitter.

Fourth ~ Follow DaVinci Wines on Facebook. They’ll be commenting on all four of us storytellers as we live in Vinci. “Wait Mark … you aren’t the only one going to Vinci?” Oh no, there are two other DaVinci 2012 Storytellers who are known, going with me AND, to round out our group of four, YOU get to choose a fan favorite to go. Yes! You get to decide who else fills the 4th slot. Click HERE to see all the info and voting for the fourth Storyteller on DaVinci Facebook.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY ~ start leaving me comments here, on Facebook or on Twitter about what you’d like me to discover for you. What do you want to know about wine ~ from the soil, to the grape, to the process, to the history, the story of the town, the region, wine in Italy in general. I’ll start compiling a list of “Mark, tell me about …” subjects and I’ll use those as a guide for what I experience and write about while there.

I am not taking this trip alone ~ YOU are coming with me! Veramente ~ Truly!

**A VERY SPECIAL “MILLE GRAZIE” goes out to the staff and company of the Great River Shakespeare Festival, who are going to be covering for me while I am in Italy. Please take a moment to thank artistic director Paul Barnes for his generosity of spirit and check out all of the VERY great work we do here every summer in Winona, MN, on GRSF’s Facebook page. “LIKE” them, too. Come to Winona and see some of the best Shakespeare in the country ~ and I’m not making that up. You’ll be glad you did!

Watch out Leonardo ~

Grazie tanto, DaVinci Wines~

Buon Appetito ~


Check out Mark’s Italian travel memoir/cookbook “Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family” on Amazon, including Kindle, Nook and iBook e-readers, PLUS Mark’s “Beyond the Pasta” App on iTunes!

About the Author

Mark LeslieMark Leslie, seen cooking on NBC’s "The Today Show" and Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family," loves to cook for anyone with an appetite, vacations in Italy every year, and lives to eat his way through every plate of pasta and cone of gelato placed before him. His first book, “Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family,” tells of his life in Italy while cooking with an Italian grandmother. He shares his food experiences on his blog at www.beyondthepasta.com and has taught cooking classes in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, and across Alabama. While judging for high school culinary events, he was chosen by the US Department of Education to judge for their "National Education Startup Challenge." Mark can be regularly seen cooking on NBC-affiliate, WSFA-TV 12's "Alabama Live! each Friday, bringing easy, locally sourced recipes to central Alabama. His iTunes app “Beyond the Pasta” features helpful videos and more of Nonna’s family-style recipes that she shared with him, plus, upon its release, it was named “New & Noteworthy” by Apple. DaVinci Wines chose Mark as their "2012 Storyteller" in Language Arts—where they sent him to Vinci, Italy, to write about wine, food and life. Mark, his home and book have been featured in such national publications and blogs as House Beautiful, Paula Deen, Food Republic, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, Field & Stream, and The Daily Meal. A Chicago-area native and “Yankee” by birth, Mark has lived in Alabama for over 24 years, and celebrates the fact that he started life eating farina, progressed to grits, and finally arrived at polenta. Buonissimo!View all posts by Mark Leslie →

  1. sandi @ the whistlestop cafesandi @ the whistlestop cafe05-29-2012

    How exciting Marco!
    I look forward to following along~

  2. AmyEmiliaAmyEmilia05-30-2012

    I’ve been to Vinci (got lost on the way, but that is another story!)! Don’t miss the little museum in town. Be sure to make the trip to his birthplace, which is out of town a little ways. There is (or was) an ancient fig tree growing by the house, that I convinced myself was from his time. Lovely view across the valley. Have fun!

    • Mark LeslieMark Leslie05-30-2012

      Amy,grazie per l’informazione! I will definitely give the museum a look and, even if I have to walk, I’m definitely going to Leonardo’s birthplace. I’ll keep you posted once I am there.
      A presto,

"Beyond the Pasta" is owned and operated by Mark Leslie. Unless otherwise specified all content, writing, recipes and photography is original and held in copyright through the Library of Congress. It may not be used without the express written consent of Mark Leslie.