“You’ve brought the world to us,” Olga once told me with a hug after a banquet dinner at her home. Olga and Americo have warmly welcomed everyone into their home and both treasure memories of happy evenings with Americans, Australians, Canadians, South Africans – and not only! – around their table, savoring Olga’s cooking, enjoying Americo’s accordian renditions of Umbrian music. And how many times, we’ve ended up dancing!
Olga often cooks dinner for a full table (or two!) in their home – after a morning at work: she cooks for the friars of an Assisi Franciscan monastery! (One of the friars there knows a bit of English and translates for Olga the many thank-you notes they receive after our group dinners).
[lcaption]Olga and Americo, our rural friends[/lcaption]
If you want to taste the goodness of Umbria, it’s all on their table: at many a dinner, Olga serves bread she’s baked in her outdoor wood bread oven, pickled vegetables grown in her garden, chicken or geese she raised, wild mushrooms or wild asparagus she has foraged, frittate with fresh eggs from their chickens, salads from the garden or wild chicory picked in the nearby fields.
Cousin Marzia might help out – serving the fettuccine she’s made After our feast, dessert might be a crostata topped with homemade fig, plum or cherry jam. Sometimes, Olga makes the typical Umbrian torta bread to accompany the wild boar stew made from a boar Americo hunted with his squadra.
[lcaption]Marzia’s homemade pasta wins over all[/lcaption]
Americo is a talented painter and also wood-worker and his works surround as we eat: a beautifully-carved mirror hangs in the dining room near a wood inlay masterpiece of San Francesco di Assisi. Other wood relief works hang near a painting on ceramic tiles, also by Americo. And after dinner, he brings out his hunting guns with stocks carved masterfully: a pair of his hunting dogs in profile on one side, a wild boar on the other.
“…and please thank Olga and Americao for the most memorable night of our trip to Italy
– and the most delicious food!” Susan from Chicago wrote me in an email one “morning after.”
Olga beamed when I relayed the message. Americo gave me a wide smile, saying “il piacere tutto nostro!” (“The pleasure, ALL ours!”)
Read about another wonderful farm friend, cooking rural banquets
Click here to read about other rural friends you must meet
Click here for more on another memorable rural dinner
Click here to read about wild boar hunters – like Americo