I'm going to copy/paste a note I wrote home to my family last night that pretty much puts into a nutshell what my day was like yesterday. Pics will follow. Pretty much a perfecto day!!
franco picked us up at 9am and we went to Buti to an open market for cappucino. they had fruits but not fresh enough for franco...who is also called Cheech-O, which means chunky! then went to Bienti to a bigger grocery. We shopped for all ingredients and headed back to apt to begin cooking. WOW....I am on such overload of stimulus right now, that it's crazy!! we chopped, we minced, we cleaned fish(octopus) we blended................got so many tips on ways to cook! BUT!! after all was in the pot and ready to cook, he decided we should go visit his parents and get herbs from their yard. Dad is 90 Mom is almost 90. OMG..........their house? their little personalities...of course, no english......and charles, he wore clothes just like daddy bob used to wear! he came out to cut the herbs because God forbid....NO ONE pinches or clips his herbs but him! Because he has to shape the bushes or in this case, the trees....50 yr old sage trees and 30 yr old rosemary trees. He cut a whole bouquet for us , which you will see in the pics. And when I kissed him on both cheeks when we were leaving, he just pulled me right back in for a big ol bear hug!!! Olive trees, artichoke plants, fruit trees....so damn cool!! So...........we take our herbs back to the kitchen and finish cooking. By now, Marie the landlord has joined us and it's time to eat. hmmmm....prolly about 2pm. Lisa and I set the table.....SO precious......and the wine is poured. Let the eating begin....
We made a chickpea soup with some of the fish that all of you are going to love!
A collection of bruschetta made with the basic olive oil and olive, a tomato one and a sausage/cheese one. He slipped the sausage out of the casing and handed us both some to taste......I looked at lisa and she looked at me. I said..."I die....you die"!!! and we proceeded to eat it. He mixed that with some type of creamy cheese....slapped it on the yummy bread, drizzled olive oil and we ate some more. Our stomachs are both gurgling tonight....
After the bruschetta, we had a vegetable/fish dish that I have no idea what is called......zuchinni, zuchinni flowers, crazy awesome mushrooms, squid that was so fresh and tender, tomatoes,garlic, parsley......fresh herbs...and drizzled with olive oil to finish. It was crazy good. I'm talking over the top good. By now, it is about 4. one bottle of proscecco to drink while you cook. 3 bottles of red to have while you eat. And one bottle of dessert wine with biscotti... and it's 5 o'clock!!!!!!!
So crazy!!! and SO much fun!!
And Lisa goes home tomorrow which makes all of us sad................so marie took us out to an italian bar for apperitivo to mourn her going home..........back in our lil shanty now very content and having to continually pinch myself for this adventure!
Tomorrow, I'm resting. Get lisa to train and I'll be back for a leetle down time. Wednesday is olive grove and tasting day as well as a visit to the ceramics shop at the top of the hill! This little village is so lovely...........very Happy I chose to come here. The people are just so kind and even tho when I went to buy some cheese a while ago and had to point and say things I thought were italian....they still let me buy the cheese...with a Buona Sera!
missing all of you.....specially my gbabies........but making memories of my lifetime every single day!!
First stop is Buti......to check out the market in the piazza.
First stop naturally is for cappucino, expresso, pastries and fresh fruit!
when franco realized he couldn't get what he wanted here....It Was Church On the Move!
a familiar site with grocery buggy! but italy with a personal shopper!
snacks while preparing food. fresh fennel and tomatoes
chef franco and sous chef lisa working side-by-side!
franco's dad with his herbs!
papa trimming his bushes, not pinching, in order to create the shaping he wants!
the herb bouquet he made up to take home to cook with and to smell!
green and ripe black olives on his trees
Cantuccini Extra! biscotti....YUM!
So.................finito for today! I've just enjoyed a nice evening in the garden with two lovely couples, trying with all my might to understand them....altho one was from santa fe who owns a B&B here now. Good wine, pizza delivered from a boy on a vespa and lots of laughing. Si..tutto va bene...il dolce far niente!!!
Came back to add some very sad news:
*Our dear Franco passed away the year after my visit to Vicopisano. Many hearts have hurt and his smile will be missed by many. I was asked to write a few words for his funeral. I was honored.