During our April trip to Italy, we did three things that we had never done before. The first thing was that we took a cooking class with Sharon Oddson - my last few blogs describe all of the recipes and have some yummy looking photos to go along with them. The second thing that we did was taking the train from Florence to visit FHFB's cousin Mario and wife Pam at their wonderful little farm right outside of the wonderful little town of Panicale, Umbria, about 90 minutes outside of the city of Florence. I think that I'm overusing the word 'wonderful', sorry!
Isn't this just heaven???
Here's a photo of my son, Pam, Mario and FHFB on the brick patio, where we sat and ate a delicious meal and drank local wine most of the afternoon.
I think I'll just post the photos with short explanations - the photos just bring me back to that very wondeful day!
When we arrived (Mario picked us up at the train station) Pam had a wonderful table full of delicious Italian specialties for us to try. You can see the one bottle of local red wine labeled 'B'.
Mario built his own outside pizza oven and stone grill - don't these little chops look delicious and so rustic?
Believe it or not, we do other things besides eating! After we sat and ate for a few hours, Mario took FHFB and my son to his neighbor's home to fill up on their homemade wine. Pam and I stayed behind and had some time to get to know each other - it was the first time I had met her and she is a fascinating and intelligent lady. I loved hearing about her life.
The next three pictures show the process of getting the wine from the large oak wine barrel into what looks like a white plastic bucket.
Here's the next step, pouring the wine from the white bucket into Mario's large glass wine container using the biggest funnel I have ever seen.
And here's the wonderful container that Mario has for the trip home in the back seat of his car...
So, after the wine delivery, Mario took us on a walk through his property. The most amazing thing that I saw (and there were many amazing things to see!) were the artichokes growing in his garden. When we were in Florence artichokes were all over the vegetable markets - they were in season and just delicious and beautiful to see in huge piles. Have you ever seen them grow?
Aren't they they gorgeous??
You know, as I'm putting this blog post together I'm missing Panicale so much. It was such a lovely day. Here are some more photos just to enjoy and dream with:
Walking through the woods, Mario showed us where the wild boar forrage for acorns.
Wild cyclamen also grow in the underbrush.
An olive grove on one side of Mario and Pam's property. I think the olive trees closer to the bottom of the photo belong to Mario and Pam.
A view of the front of the farmhouse and the patio where we sat and enjoyed a delicous meal with wonderful people.
My son and I enjoying the wine - this was bottle 'A'!
It was hard to leave this very tranquil and lovely home.
Mario and Pam are wonderful hosts and very lucky people.
They love their home and property so much and it shows in every nook and cranny.
Thank you both so much for making such a wonderful memory for all of us!
My next post will be about the third new experience we had during our trip - a street stroll in Rome with Eleonora from aglio, alio e peperoncino.
I'll be linking to Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper and Foodie Friday and Alphabet Thursday!!