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I’m a magazine founder & editor, a private food & shopping guide and watercolour artist who wants to share everything I know about the best-kept secrets in Tuscany with you.


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TASTE : Food & Drink

Le Torte di Toni

My Famous Sister!!!

Toni Brancatisano

I thought that it was long overdue for me to write about my very talented twin sister Toni who has become somewhat of a celebrity not only here in Tuscany but in all of Italy!

Who ever knew when she trotted off to nursing school after high school that she would not spend her life emptying bedpans and sticking needles into people but instead would become Italy’s version of Martha Stewart!  Well, at making and decorating cakes at least!  I was also very fortunate to have her design and make my wedding cake last year!  It added such a special touch to my day having my own sister make the cake!  And it tasted just as good as it looked!

Her foray into the world of cakes and decorating started when as a mother of two young children, she started to make their birthday cakes in a similar style to what we had grown up with.  As her interest grew so too did her library of cake books and with each new creation, her skills improved rapidly.  She was soon making ‘make-up bag’, ‘Super Mario’, ‘Barbie doll’ and ‘Soccer Ball’ cakes.  All the other kids who came to her children’s birthday parties also wanted cakes like Annabella and Joseph and their mother’s soon began to order cakes from Toni.   She created a photo catalogue of cakes then her website and ‘Torte di Toni’ was born.

Toni during the filming of 'La Scuola, Cucina di Classe' looking very professional!

In November 2009, Toni heard about auditions for Italy’s first cooking reality show.  Off she went to cable channel, Gambero Rosso’s studios in Rome to try her luck at winning a place on the show.  After hundreds of auditions and a few weeks of nervous waiting, Toni found out that she was the last person selected for the reality cooking show.  Filming was scheduled to start in December and the show called ‘La Scuola, Cucina di Classe’ would go to air in January.  We were all incredibly excited and proud of Toni.  Each day after filming, she would call and give me a brief of the day’s events, the recipe they had to cook, the judges’ reactions and of course the points scored by each competitor.

After two very stressful weeks with competitors being eliminated after each episode, Toni was finally declared the winner.  Her prize was her own television show where she would show the Italians exactly how her amazing cakes were made.  In the end her daughter Annabella would also star in the show as her apprentice and helper.  (I offered to be her stylist, carry her cake bowls or assist in any way possible but the only help Toni offered was as dish washer which was clearly not what I had in mind!)

Toni & Annabella

Due to the huge success of the first series, last month Gambero Rosso decided to film a second season which is currently on air now, every Tuesday night at 9.30pm.  We get a real buzz watching her and Annabella each week and she has developed quite a large fan base across Italy.

Toni has also received quite a lot of attention in our home town of Melbourne where she has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs.  Australia is very proud of their local girl beating the Italians in the kitchen!

When Toni is not in her own kitchen baking sugary delights, you will find her traveling around Italy teaching classes on cake decoration.  She also offers private classes at home and has recently started selling silicone fondant moulds under her own brand name.

And if all that is not enough, in March this year, she will be flying to Australia as a special guest at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.  Here she will be hosting numerous lunches and dinners while demonstrating her skills at making pasta.  I really wish I could be there to watch her in action.

So much has happened in the last year, it makes me wonder what else is in store for my very talented sister.  I personally can’t wait for her to publish a book showcasing all of her wonderful creations.

And she always said that I was the creative twin!

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Ciao, I'm Lisa B,
I’m a magazine founder & editor, a private food & shopping guide and watercolour artist who wants to share everything I know about the best-kept secrets in Tuscany with you.

I created This Tuscan Life blog, magazine and experiences to share everything I love about Florence & Tuscany, one of the most popular and visited regions in Italy.   Add a splash of watercolour & you've got a creative mamma of two who wants to show you the true & authentic side of Tuscany.

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