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The second day started kind of late. We assembled out in the garden with a big tray of toasted bread, cheese, jam and of course- coffee. This is the first place in a long time where I have not brought my own coffee contraption- they have it in the apartment, three of them. They also have the yummiest ground coffee. The breakfast was very enjoyable and we lingered for a while.
We then strolled around Spello and landed at a Gelateria for a snack. We had delicious hazelnut and coffee gelato and a few paninis (fish, proscuitto and eggs) and of course a cappucinno- I have to have at least one if not two everyday.
It was quite hot and we decided to get in the car and drive around. We ended up in Assisi- another small old town. It was nice to walk around and have gelato again- it really is all about the food. We also bought delicious marzipan and pistachio cookies- yum!
Dinner was back in Spello at a tiny wine bar. We started with fabulous glasses of red and white wine. We were served a platter of brushchetta- very different than what we know in the US- the toasted pieces of bread had a smear of the different pastes. These were 5 or 6 different kinds- two were doused with different olive oils. The rest were with black truffles, white truffles, sundried tomatoes and my favorite- arugula and capers. It was like a pesto- I asked the lady for thean ingredients and she told me arugula, almonds and capers- I will make this when I get home- it was delicious!
Dinner continued with a plate of ham and salami and a platter of 5 different kinds of pecorino cheese served with honey. I had no idea there were so many different kinds! Well, needless to say- we all had a wonderful time sitting outside in the late evening enjoying the local food and wine and listening to our neighbors speak Italian.
Today – it is Perugia- famous for it’s chocolates. Will report back tomorrow, as, right now I need to go in the kitchen and make my fabulous coffee. Ciao!
I am up at 8 AM local time- that makes it about 2 AM New Jersey time! I can hear a dog barking and an elderly gentlemen watering the plants outside. Speaking of plants, this little town is full of flowers and planters everywhere. It is gorgeous- a tiny medieval town named Spello. It has tiny, curved, cobblestoned streets.
We drove about 2 hours from Rome airport yesterday morning to get to this charming Umbrian town. It was very difficult to find our destination even with the gps- but eventually we got there.
We are staying in an old buiding that is divided into small apartments. Ours, has a great view of the hills.
We walked around in the evening, completely jet lagged, as no one had slept on the flight over- not even my daughter, Sia. We stopped at a gelato place and satisfied our cravings. We saw many small charming restaurants but at the end decided to do a picnic in our garden instead. We went to a tiny store and bought proscuitto, wild boar salami and a sheep milk cheese. The shopkeeper had some fresh olives marinated in a spicy mixture- delicious! We had red wine in the apartment and all we needed was some bread.
We sat in the garden and ate the yummy cold cuts and drank the delicious wine just in time to enjoy the beautiful sunset- can life get any better than that??
The charming garden is full of rosemary, sage, basil. It also has lots of fruit trees including grapes. We enjoyed lovely green grapes after dinner. When we came inside, while cleaning up, I discovered a jar of homemade apricot jam from the garden- I will be experimenting it for breakfast this morning!
I have been planning our trip to Umbria for 6 months now- it’s coming up- we leave on Friday, August 28th. It took me a while to convince my husband to go back to Italy. He wanted to go somewhere new- but I feel a special connection to Italy. Not sure if it’s the food, wine or the good looking, well dressed people. Oh- yes the gelato helps as well- and the cappuccino- the best I have ever had! We were there almost ten years ago- and I have been wanting to go back for ever. Now that it is almost here, I am excited and sad at the same time. I love booking a vacation months in advance so I can think and anticipate the trip-that is my favorite part. The trip itself goes so fast and the anticipation is much sweeter.
I am very excited about learning how to cook a few local umbrian dishes from an Italian woman who does not speak any English- and I don’t speak any Italian- this should be very interesting. We will go to the market to buy the ingredients and then come back to the apartment and cook a complete dinner. Did I mention we will be staying in an apartment in a small medieval town, Spello. Spello has tiny cobblestone streets and is known for it’s olive oil, truffles and pottery- I am in heaven!
My plan is to blog from Spello documenting my eating and drinking adventures- I will not be emailing my usual recipes next week. I am looking forward to learning lots of new techniques and recipes to share with all of you while I am there and once I get back.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Our favorite local restaurant is Arturos. We go there at least once a week if not more. My daughter loves their mushroom and olive pizza; mushroom ravioli and the boar ragu. The food is delicious and best of all it’s a byo- and we sure do bring our own wine! Arturos has a tasting menu every Saturday which is very good but a little pricey. Usually on Fridays Dan, the owner has some of the components ready for the next day- and if you are lucky- you get to taste some of them.
We got lucky one Friday when it was not too crowded (which is a rare occurrence now) and Dan was there. We asked him if he had anything special for us to eat in addition to the menu items. He brought us a few delicious things, one of which was a pasta covered with broccoli rabe pesto. When I heard the description, I was immediately excited since broccoli rabe is one of my favorite vegetables- I love the bitter taste and the earthiness of it. Once I tasted the pasta, I was in heaven- it was out of this world. It had a delicate taste of the broccoli rabe with a dash of cheese and salt (I asked for the ingredients).
I knew I had to make this soon at home- and I did. I bought a fresh bunch of broccoli rabe and I also had some baby spinach at home. I decided to use both and experiment with a pesto similar to what I had at Arturos. I was going to serve with a whole-wheat pasta and some pan seared flounder.
I processed the broccoli rabe and spinach leaves with olive oil and salt. I cooked it gently with some pine nuts and finished it off with a dusting of pecorino romano- okay it was more than a dusting- and it was unbelievably delicious. I simply pan seared the fish and the dinner was done. My husband and daughter loved it but couldn’t understand why I was so excited about it. I am not sure either- I guess great food made simple makes me really really happy!
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Everyone loves frozen treats in the summer and as I sit outside in this humid sauna, I wouldn’t mind having one right now. Every time we (my daughter and I) are in town (Maplewood), she wants to get an ice cream; or any time we are outside or in the park, the ice cream truck comes along; or any time we are at the pool, she wants ice cream. You get the picture. I am not happy buying her ice cream all the time, especially because I don’t know what kind of crappy ingredients are in there. I especially hate the very colorful ones with gum inside- and of course Sia absolutely loves them. There is always an argument over when and where she can get ice cream. I would prefer to buy ice cream outside once in a while and instead give it to her more often at home. I remember growing up and only wanting to eat ice cream outside- it just tasted better…. so I do understand her point of view.
I keep healthy things at home and want her to eat and be aware of what she puts in her body. Beside buying good quality ice cream, I try to make some at home. I have experimented with a few gelato flavors and some sorbets. I had a lot of strawberries at home- which is quite easy to do in the summer months- and didn’t know what to do with them. I first thought of making a strawberry sauce to drizzle on top of ice cream but then decided to make a sorbet instead.
Fresh, healthy sorbet with all natural ingredients- what a concept. I looked at a few recipes on line and then came up with my own version. It was very simple to make and not time consuming at all. My daughter helped by being the ‘taste tester’.
It was a winner- she loved it. I can’t say the ice cream eating outside the house has decreased since then- though I keep trying, but at least I feel good every time she eats it at home!
Try this one, it’s delicious!
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