Abruzzo Foodie Weekend

This weekend was full of food.
Yesterday, we had lunch in https://www.ristoranteilvignale.com/ in Rapino. It was so delicious I forgot to take photographs. I had the best peppercorn steak I’ve ever had in Abruzzo. Cooked to perfection. It was a beautiful restaurant and the staff were great. We sat by a big open log fire, which set the atmosphere perfectly. Long drive from Colledimezzo, but we were in the area to meet friends and it was definitely worth it.
Today, we met friends for lunch in https://www.villaegle.com/ in Atessa, and I did remember to take photos. Fantastic meal in a beautiful restaurant which is hidden away so well that you wouldn’t even know it was there. There are so many great places to eat here. Villa Egle is only twenty minutes from home so we’ll definitely be back.
The restaurants in our area range from excellent local dishes to sophisticated dishes that could compete with any upscale restaurant in Rome or Milan.
I love to cook, but enjoy eating out about once a week. This week I got lucky. Two great meals.
I feel like I’m advertising Abruzzo! I’m not, stay away, I want to keep it to myself.
There were only four diners in Villa Eglie due to COVID. Let’s hope these restaurants survive the pandemic.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone…work tomorrow. Oh wait, I’m retired!

Colledimezzo – A village in Southern Italy

I’ve been allowing myself to get a little stressed lately. Why? Who knows! Maybe Covid? Anyway today I took a step back, relaxed and remembered where I was and why I was here.
I opened my eyes and was relieved that I had no aches and pains, or other side effects from my Moderna booster jab. I spent a leisurely morning pottering around the house like an old girl…I’m allowed, almost sixty five now.
I showered and made myself presentable for our lunch at La Collinetta, a weekly event, and one I enjoy. It was a glorious sunny day, the picture above was taken this afternoon. After lunch and laughter with four of our best friends, we returned home. On the way to our house we were stopped in the piazza by one of the villagers. He gave us a bottle of home made Limoncello. The good people of Colledimezzo are so lovely and always willing to share their home made goods with pride.
My dear husband, who had a fair amount of wine with lunch, settled down in front of the television, but I decided to go for a walk. The sunshine and bright blue sky beckoned and I couldn’t resist. I walked for a couple of miles and ended up back in the piazza, outside the bar. It would have been rude not to pop in and have an Aperol Spritz!
I passed a half hour or so with Mirella while enjoying my spritz, along with some potato chips, and then down the stone steps home. When I opened the door my husband looked startled…yes, he was snoozing.
“You’ve been gone fifteen minutes already?” he said. I’d actually been gone for an hour. Bless him!

Time to settle down now. Relaxed by the Spritz, and the warmth of our house, I can enjoy my Saturday evening.
Buonasera everyone and stay safe.

Sunny Roma

“Do we visit Rome or not?”

That was the million dollar questions. Omicron was surging, flights were cancelled, some people were scared, but others just didn’t care and ignored the mask wearing mandate. What to do!

We decided to be very careful and proceed with our plans to visit the Eternal City. So glad we did. We arrived late on Sunday afternoon and had a lovely late lunch in a restaurant close to the hotel. Wine, food and fun. Fantastic.

The following day rapid tests were needed for my daughter and son-in-laws return trip to the US. Once completed, with the required negative result, a visit to the Palatine Gardens was scheduled. It kept us out of harms way because it isn’t on everyone’s bucket list. After a lovely sunny wander, we hit the streets and visited my favorite handbag shop on Via Condotti. I chose my Christmas present from my daughter and son in law, a lovely, bright red, shoulder bag, thank you! Other purchases were made, and then we headed to our lunch reservation at Da Pietro. Fantastic lunch, the sort of lunch you don’t have very often, but always remember. There was wine, truffles, Florentine steak, and we even managed to squeeze in dessert. A walk was definitely needed afterwards.
Piazza di Popolo was quite busy so we continued up the steps to Jardins Borghese, which was beautiful. If you closed your eyes, you could forget you were in Rome. The birdsong was almost tropical. We passed a little time in enjoying the tranquility, and then walked back to the hotel, sad the day was over. It all passed too quickly.

There will be many more visits to Rome, it’s my favorite city. Hopefully next time we won’t be battling another COVID strain!

Take care everyone and stay safe.

A Taste of Abruzzo – Oh what a Lunch!

Rinascita Lancianese in Lanciano is our favorite Cantina. I don’t think they make a wine we don’t like. Alessandro, my Italian friend/language coach introduced us to this cantina because it’s run by a very good friend of his! On Sunday we attended a wine/food tasting event at Rinascita Lancianese and it was wonderful. OMG the pork!
The mouth watering dishes above don’t include dessert. We drank their white sparkling wine, Trebbiano and a wonderful Merlot. It was organized for expats. Australians, Americans and Brits. There were 20 of us and we had a blast.
Did I mention the pork?

Italy – My Home

My friend Marianna

I’ve been feeling a little low lately, not miserable, not unhappy, just a little low.It’s not helping that I’m struggling to do everything with one hand because of this stupid cast. This young lady cheered me up and blew away my blues.

After a long walk, and some conversational Italian on Zoom, I decided to go to the bar. Lester has a dentist appointment and would be gone for a while so I had a couple of hours to kill. I wasn’t alone for long.

This young lady rises early, helps take care of her grandkids, cooks, and tends a large plot of land. We sat together and talked for a while. It wasn’t a smooth conversation, but I did my best.

Look at that smile…isn’t she lovely.

Foraging and Cooking – Local Delights

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. This silly old girl broke her wrist last week. Yes, I fell in the house and have three fractures and one break. hurts like crazy, but mostly it is frustrating. Difficult to function with one hand. Typing one handed is something I never thought I’d have to do! Anyway…..

Let’s get back to food! I purchased some very cheap, local red chillies on Monday. Don’t they look delicious? I had enough to make five small jars of picante sauce, which goes great with any Italian pasta. The only ingredients were chillies boiled in olive oil, garlic, and salt to taste. Delicious!

Yesterday I was given a bag of wild spinach by the little lady who lives down the steps from me. We see her foraging often walking the country paths with her walking stick over her shoulder and bags full of wild greens dangling from it. It seems to keep her fit and healthy. Today I picked out the grass and weeds and chopped off the thick stalks, before chopping and washing the spinach. Now I’m going to wilt this in olive oil with garlic, pesto (made from my own basil) and serve it for lunch with chicken.

I think I’m quite daring. I think foraging the countryside to use what is available is a great idea, and there is a lot available. Wild spinach, asparagus, artichoke, pomegranates, plums, apples, olives, persimmon to name but a few.

The good people of Abruzzo live cheaply, what can’t be foraged is bought local, it works well.

Food for all Tastes

The past few days have been filled with rain and writhing mists. Lovely to watch from my window. I don’t mind days like this, it gives me time to reset myself and take care of indoor chores I’ve been putting off for too long. My kitchen now much more user friendly in preparation for my son-in-law, who likes to cook. He will be here at Christmas…got to have the kitchen ready for him.
Yesterday (Sabato) wasn’t so bad and we met some friends for a fish and chip lunch. British fish and chips are not a regular cuisine in Abruzzo, but a lovely restaurant close by called Osteria Livornese, was serving them as a special for two days. They were delicious. We drank a little too much wine, but oh well. The chief was Irish and cooked the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. He was pretty amusing also…oh wait, of course he was, he’s Irish. We’ll visit the restaurant again and try out their specialty which is a fish broth called cacciucco.
When I opened my eyes at 7am this morning I thought it was still night time. The rain was heavy and has barely let up all day. I’d love to go for a walk, but not a chance. Instead I practiced Italian (as always), and then decided to harvest some of my basil and make pesto sauce. It turned out great!
I cooked Lancashire Hotpot for lunch, with Parmigiano Reggiano sprinkled on top, just to give it an Italian twist.
It’s still raining so I’m going to open one of Mr. King’s books, (Stephen to his friends) and laze away the afternoon in front of the fire.
Enjoy your Sunday everyone! (Buona Domenica a tutti)

The Pomegranate Trick

In Greek mythology, the pomegranate was known as the ‘fruit of the dead’ as it was said to have arisen from the blood of Adonis. … Hades, God of the underworld, used pomegranate seeds to trick Persephone into returning to the underworld for a few months of every year.

Good job no one tricked me because I’d spend the rest of my life in Hades! When I was a child pomegranates were a Christmas treat and I loved them. My mum made me pick each individual seed from the fruit with a pin. It took forever to finish, but I loved it. The pomegranates (melograno) that grow wild here in Abruzzo just fall apart. They are juicy and scrumptious. My good friend Franco gave me four last Sunday and this is the last one. It’s all I’ve eaten so far today because last night we enjoyed the hospitality of Nino and Vittoria. As always their food was delicious. Prosciutto wrapped around a delicious juicy melon for starters, followed by a constant flow of Italian delights, all washed down with excellent local wine. Of course the meal ended with various digestivos. Limoncello, Sambuca and Amaro….to name but a few. Wonderful night. I’ve been trying to pluck up courage to cook for Nino and Vittoria…piano piano as they say in Italy (slowly). They’re a hard act to follow.

Today is a foggy rainy day, but thats OK, it washes the old cobbled alleyways and refreshes the countryside.

I finished my pomegranate while writing this so I hope I don’t get snatched away to Hades!
Have a lovely day everyone.

The Giving Season

No, I’m not talking about Christmas, I’m talking about the fruit bearing season in Abruzzo. Our very good friend Nino brought us this wonderful collection today. We have figs, large tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and then his wonderful wife baked biscotti…I don’t think I’ll ever lose weight here.

When I walk I see trees bursting with fruit and the wonderful scent of jam making and baking wafts from open windows as I pass by.

It’s only going to get better as we move into Autumn.

A day in the life of…a retiree in Abruzzo

I don’t get up on a morning and think “what shall I do today?” I simply get out of bed and let life happen!
Yesterday I had my weekly Italian lesson. My tutor and I just chat now. He corrects me when I get my tenses wrong, but chatting in Italian is the best way to learn. At the end of the lesson Lester and I went to lunch in Fossacesia and enjoyed the the Adriatic as we ate fresh seafood. After lunch, we walked a little. Beautiful.

We picked up some shopping in San Luca on the way home and then a spritz in the piazza with friends. After that, we worked a little on a magazine article we’ve been asked to write about the village. Then we finished the day on the terrace and enjoyed the view.

Today we wandered up to the piazza and had a cappuccino with the locals. So much fun to practice our Italian with the people who live here. They’re patient and repeat words where necessary. Sometimes, if we miss the subject of the conversation, we’re lost. Today our good friend Nino gave us six big bottles of home made tomato sauce, the kind you use in pasta, can’t wait to try it. Life is good in Colledimezzo. It is simple, uncomplicated and without stress.

What will this afternoon bring? Who knows, we’ll find out when it happens.

Will I write another book…maybe!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097BVGKLG

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B097BVGKLG

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