Saturday, June 17

Photos from A Festive Night in Mondavio

Summer festival season has kicked off in Italy! With family and friends in town we drove out of the mountains and towards to the coast to the soft rolling hills of Le Marche for a "Cuisines of the World" festival in Mondavio.  Jason & I were so excited at the prospect of Chinese, Mexican...something other than Italian for the night.

However, as expected the selection of food was not what I would call "of the world" - a few food trucks from Puglia overflowing with taralli, one from Spain serving paella, a craft beer stand with a Japanese name but made locally and of course the busiest food stand: pasta with truffles.  It always impresses us how not matter what size of festival there is (feeding 50 - 500) the pasta is ALWAYS cooked perfectly!

Just as we arrived the medieval festivities began (I have no idea what that has to do with cuisines of the world but...) making the night perfectly Italian.

We meandered about the tiny town, in awe of the massive antique trebuchets/catapults, bought beautiful handmade tablecloths, rocked out to young Italians covering Classic Rock (and doing a damn good job), ate too much pasta and enjoyed a spectacular sunset in good company.

Mondavio (PU) Le Marche, Italy

Wednesday, June 7

Podcast from Italy: New Copper Cookware for our Cooking Classes

It feels like Christmas in June with a huge delivery of copper cookware for our cooking classes!! Jason researched for months and explains his choice  - listen to find out why we chose these handmade Belgium beauties from Falk. Jason is happy to answer any of your questions about the cookware and will let you know his thoughts as he puts them to good use in our kitchen and cooking school.  Plus I read a few more chapters of the book including "Welcome to the Neighborhood" delivering apple pies to our new neighbors...

Thanks for listening! Podcast from Italy #103 - Dowload/Stream on iTunesStitcher or Podbean

And just for fun - here's our cheesy 'unboxing' of this beautiful new set of cookware!!

More to come on these beauties for sure...

Thursday, June 1

Video: A Spring Visit to Piedmont

A Spring visit to Piedmont in the North to meet a few artisan wine makers & visit the famous villages of the wine making area! Barbera, Barbaresco, Alta Langa Brut! We visit Ca' del Baio and Avezza wineries, and tour through the Langhe and Monferrato, with a stop to visit the butcher & pasta maker too.  We filmed this for Babarolo - an American expat that ran a B&B in Piemonte then sold her business to start exporting artisan wines from family run wineries from the area she grew to love and call home. Check out their website for some outstanding wines from Piedmont! 

Watch Primavera in Piemonte

And a few photos from the trip...

Tuesday, May 30

Featured in Italia! Magazine: The Good Life

It may be off the beaten path, but it sure is the good life... they got it right! When our friends at Italia! Magazine heard we're celebrating our 10th Anniversary they wanted to be part of it!! (They were the first international magazine to feature a story about us in 2008 and quickly after they invited me to write a monthly column, which I did for five years!). Italia! interviewed us on what it's been like the last 10 years, how things have changed, our biggest piece of advice and what we've learned through this crazy journey!

 Here's a short bit of the interview - you can read the full article in the June 2017 Italia! Magazine

Friday, May 26

Learn to Pickle, Preserve & Confit - Workshop in Italy

Learn to preserve the fruits of your labor from the garden all year long! We are constantly asked how we jar our tomatoes (over 300 kilos/year) and other pickled preserves - hence this workshop was born as a fun way to share what we've learned from the locals using produce from our farm. Plus you will learn one of the oldest ways to preserve, confit - a method to preserve duck, rabbit, goose & even lemon, etc. The best part - take home what you've made!!

After years of inquisitive guests, cooking class students and random emails on how we jar and preserve hundred of kilos of tomatoes a year - we finally created a workshop to teach you the old ways! (In all honesty a guest was helping us jar one year & suggested it- Brilliant Jamie!!)

Two-day workshop covering: Pasturized vs. Pickled - learn the differences, techniques and hazards as well. Confit of Rabbit, Confit of Lemons, Tomato Passata, Jarred Tomatoes in Pieces, Quick Pickled Veggies, Pickled Green beans... a bit depends on Mother Nature & what's coming out of the garden!

Includes: 3 Nights Accommodations, Workshop, Welcome Dinner, Breakfast Daily and Lunch during course, hand-made apron.

WORKSHOP:​ Preserve, Pickle & Confit
AUGUST 24 - 27, 2017
650 Euro/person

Thursday, May 25

Podcast from Italy: The Barnum & Bailey Circus of Food Videos Filling Our Facebook Feed

On a gorgeous Spring day, we fired up the mics under the big cherry tree in the front yard and while gazing over at the garden, we recorded the latest episode of our "Podcast from Italy!"  A discussion on our Facebook feed being filled with the wild world of ridiculous food from Food Network, Eater and others...what's going on?! Speaking of what's going on - we introduced Dr. Gaggi and his wife to eating fresh peas for the first time in their lives at damn near 70 years old! We update you on the garden, drama with the pool and what it's like having family visit!! Plus I read a few more excerpts from the book - The Wood Bandits and Learning to Live & Cook Slow

Thanks for listening! Podcast from Italy #102 - Dowload/Stream on iTunesStitcher or Podbean

We also went LIVE! on Facebook from the garden - in case you missed it, take a look at the start of our garden:

Taking a break from the garden and admiring their hard day's work...

Thursday, May 11

The Perfect Pea Crostini Recipe

This is one of my all time favorite Spring dishes - pea crostini. It sounds so simple (and it is!) but the bright flavor and color of the young peas & crunchy toasted bread make me long for Spring all year round! It's a good thing that peas are found at every market, fruttovendolo and shop right now for next to nothing because I can't get enough! When the peas (or fave/broad beans) are in season there is no need to cook them down or cover them in heavy sauces - keep it simple like they do in the Italian countryside with just olive oil, a little garlic, salt & pepper ... that's it!



Serves 4

2 cups of fresh peas
couple glugs of olive oil
garlic clove, skinned, whole
squeeze of lemon
shaved parmesan
salt & pepper
baguette or crusty bread, sliced & toasted

Throw the peas in a pan & cover with water & a little salt. Bring to a boil & lower to a simmer. Cook a couple of minutes until the peas are tender. Drain.

Return the pan to the heat. Pour in a couple glugs of olive oil and the garlic clove. Heat the garlic & oil slightly.

Toss the peas into the pan & sautee for a minute or two. Then remove the clove of garlic. Begin mashing with the back of a wooden spoon or fork until you smash it up a bit. If the pan requires a few drops of water, that's ok to add a bit of water if needed.

Remove the pan from heat & season with salt & pepper add a squeeze of lemon and any herbs you like: mint, parsley, chive

Toast slices of good bread and top with a generous spoonful of peas. You can drizzle a little really good quality extra virgin olive oil as well if you like & finally a shave of parmesan on top!

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