Anne's Blog

Finding old friends and cousins in North Carolina. (March 16, 17, 18, 2010)

Date: March 18, 2010 - categories: , - 1 Comment

Felt like leaving an old friend when my Pennsylvania host, Judy, settled me into the wheelchair at the Philadelphia airport on March 16th. Wheelchair consignment to an aircraft has its positive side: rapid passage through security. But after nearly two weeks on crutches, I was at countdown point: just two more flights to go in my “embattled” state.

The flight to Charlotte, North Carolina was a short one and host Rhea awaited with a warm welcome.
Having toured and cooked with me in Umbria, Rhea and husband Mark were ready for an encore: this time with two cooking classes at their lovely Charlotte home. A simpatico group gathered for the first class that night: many were work colleagues of Mark, who is a doctor. But not only: I finally met Trish and John and Bryan, too. We’d been corresponding via email on their upcoming May trip to Umbria. Now we could do some face-to-face trip-planning….over cutting boards!

After my DVD introduction on Umbrian rural cuisine, we all moved into the kitchen to cook: everyone donned aprons, grabbed a knife and pitched right in. Our meal came together rapidly in an atmosphere of buoyant collaboration. Dr. Ilya, good chopping and you’ve mastered the art of the Italian salad. Darryl and Steve, your fidelity to all the dishes on the stove was commendable! Emily, thanks for juggling the camera with spoons and knives….and Dr. Mitch, thanks for taking the time after dinner to check my injured ankle!

March 17th was a pause day and gave me time to meet a cousin: another Anne Marie Robichaud! As I had learned while at the Congrés Mondial Acadien in Nova Scotia, 2003 with my brother Bill and son, Keegan, all of us Robichauds are descendants of Louis Robichaud who emigrated to Canada in the early 17th century. Bill and I had relished meeting hundreds of Robichaud cousins in Nova Scotia. I certainly never expected to cook with a Robichaud cousin – also called “Anne Marie” – in North Carolina!! After lunch together with Rhea, my “cousin” Anne Marie and I toured the Charlotte art museum together. The day wound up with Rhea and Mark at a superb Indian restaurant (for me, a nice change from italiano!). Grazie, Mark and Rhea!

Anne Marie also joined in Mark and Rhea’s second cooking class on March 18th. A new group, a new menu, but once again, enthusiastic participation on the part of all. Eileen and Scott, so good to reconnect in Charlotte and relive a bit our time together in Umbria. Mechelle, mamma mia, it would have been impossible to detach you from those burners! Glad you feel ready now to cook that entire meal on your own. And wasn’t Rhea kind to send home with you a “take-away” plate of all we cooked for your fiancé who couldn’t make it? Fred, aren’t you now more proud than ever of your Italian heritage?! Anne, Paul, Rita, Roger, Christina, Laura and all, thanks for sharing the evening.

Rhea and Mark, mille grazie just won’t do it. Un milione di grazie falls short, too!
(To view photos of cooking classes with Mark and Rhea click here)


“This evening was the most culinary and social evening I can remember in quite some time……….I want to go to Umbria!” Steve

“What a fun evening of eating, drinking and merriment!” Emily M

“…. thank you for an incredible evening of education and entertainment…..I am so fascinated by you and your life (and) I so look forward to more of your stories and incredible recipes.” Mechelle D.

“What a wonderful evening of food and company…My four sons need to learn to cook. You have a God-given gift. Thank you for sharing it.”
Fred D.

I have waited a long time for this night. These two nights of food and fun have been better than I could have ever expected. I thank you for bringing …friends back into my home”. Rhea V.ack into my home”. Rhea V.

1 Comment

  • Anne Marie Robichaud Black says:

    What a surprise to meet my new cousin! Not a surprise that all Robichauds in my family love good food. I had a wonderful time spending the day with you. Your evening of celebrating Italian culture and food was memorable. I can’t wait to travel to Italy and I think you may be seeing a lot of Charlotteans come your way. Friends have been checking you website and everyone wants to tour!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)