Truffles Reign Triumphant

November 24, 2010

The truffle has always been the richest and most refined element of Mediterranean cuisine. Certainly not desired for its beauty - it resembles a measily rotten potato - the truffle grows underground, like the potato, far from light and air, taking its nourishment, like other mushrooms, from the forest undergrowth. read more...

Umbria’s Coveted Gold

November 23, 2010

Umbria, "Italy's green heart", is green all year thanks to the non-deciduous live oaks blanketing the mountains and the silver-green olive trees which cover our hills. Umbria boasts about 56,000 acres of olive trees in the region and 27,000 producers of top extra-virgin olive oils. This is a golden year for our liquid "gold"... read more...

Monteleone di Spoleto: Chariots, Chickpeas and…. Farro

November 16, 2010

Monteleone. The picturesque hilltown's name, "Mount of the Lion", denotes force, domination and greatness. The name might seem pretentious for this tiny mountaintop village in the Val Nerina area of Umbria, not far from Spoleto, nearly abandoned, with two cafés and one restaurant But the sixth-century B.C.gilded bronze biga (chariot) - unearthed here in 1902 - and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York - "was certainly owned by someone powerful," local "chariot expert", Roberto told us proudly. The chariot - of possible Etruscan workmanship - embodies a glorious past. read more...

Corn Harvest, Past

November 5, 2010

Like bent over old men, dried cornstalks stand forlornly in fields joining our farm land. The corn has been picked and who knows if it has been pulverized for chicken feed or for the corn mash which will fatten the pigs, turning their rear thighs into tasty prosciutti? Then again, the corn might have been ground for corn flour for polenta or brustengolo, one of the few sweets which highlight Umbrian rural cuisine. read more...

‘Open House’ at Umbria’s Olive Oil Mills

November 5, 2010

Umbria, called "Italy's green heart", is green all year thanks to the non-deciduous live oaks blanketing the mountains of our region and the silver-green of the olive trees which cover our hills. The superb olive oils of Umbria (and particulary those of the Assisi/Spello area) - considered the best in the world by Alain Ducasse, famed French chef - are celebrated in the Frantoi Aperti (best translated "Open House at the Olive Oil Mills") festival from the end of October to early December... read more...

San Martino, San Martino, castagne e vino

November 3, 2010

Umbria welcomes in the Feast of St. Martin, November 11th, with the saying "San Martino, San Martino, castagne e vino" ("St. Martin, St. Martin, chestnuts and wine"). As the days turn cooler, the smoke of the wood-buring stoves snakes out of farmhouse chimneys... read more...

Passione in the Italian DNA

October 18, 2010

Passione is in the Italian DNA: Each has it. No one can fight it (and why do so anyway?) Passione for his craft is in the heart of the gelataio as he arranges his ice cream flavors in sumptuous mountains in a beauty pageant display of creamy colors - and flavors. You can feel the passione of the townspeople of Bevagna for their medieval history as they prepare months ahead for their late June festival, the Mercato delle Gaite.
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Arrivederci, USA…til next year

March 21, 2010

"Thank you for a very special evening. What a great final event for us to host in our D.C. home!" wrote Linda G after my last 2010 cooking class - at her lovely historic home in Washington, D.C. on March 20th. That wonderful "wrap up" cooking class was preceded by a tour through the home with Linda's husband Tom who filled us in on the "bed-and-breakfast" past of the house, just recently sold. Our cooking class for their family and friends was to be the closing of happy years together here for Tom and Linda. read more...